Happy New Year 2008!
It's been a LONG time coming for me to update the blog. I apologize for lack thereof. I will try to do an accounting of the last three months or so, going backwards.
First of all, we spent New Year's eve in Asuncion looking for a restaurant that was open. We had planned a nice dinner with friends at the nicest restaurant we've been to thus far. It was closed. Not only was it closed, so were all the other restaurants that we knew of as well. In fact, there were no restaurants open. We did find one-a Peruvian restaurant on the other side of town. Then after dinner, we wanted to ring in the New Year amongst revellers in a bar or club with maybe some dancing perhaps. Nothing doing until after midnite. Apparently everything is closed on New Year's eve with the exception of some clubs, bars, and discos which only open after midnite. We rang in the New Year on the roof of our hotel, watching many of several private fireworks displays going off around us. The whole time the bomb siren was ringing. Yesterday, New Year's day, we experienced a strange phenomena. We were in search of an open supermarket, which brought us to one of two of Asuncion's largest, nicest malls--Shopping Del Sol. We discovered the market was closed, but the mall was open-- and with air conditioning we decided on a brief respite from the heat. To our surprise, not a single store was open, but there was the mall anyway-- still filled with people walking around as if they were shopping. What the...?
Umm yes, we went home from November 14th to December 2, and it was great. We stopped off in Santiago, Chile for a day-long layover we had on the first leg of our trip, and had a great, expensive time and look forward to going back. We spent one week in Flagstaff; one in Cincinnati, and we saw all manner of family and friends. We were in culture shock, but had an awesome time. It was great to feel cold weather, clothes from the washing machine, carpet, and eat sushi and turkay again. It was hard getting back and adjusting. We are back in the saddle again now though. The only big surprises when we got back were the two black widow spiders that I found had set up shop in the house and the ring of black mold growing in the shower. Other than that, our house emerged relatively unscathed and minus one machete. Oh yeah, and the 4 leaks that sprung in our plastic water line...
We spent Christmas in our community with our married Peace Corps friends, Adam and Angela, who came to join in the festivities with a freshly killed baby pig which we bought from our neighbors. Adam did the killing, Chris and Adam shaved it, and I even helped gut it! We ate lots of yummy grilled baby pork, pineapple, chipa guazu, and fresh peach pie. We had a great time shooting off fireworks and drinking sangria and homemade eggnog with our friends. It even rained just in time for the eve and cooled off nicely. Then, Christmas day, we were surprised with the news of my sister-in-law, Jamie's engagement to her boyfriend Byron. Chris and I are both happy and excited, and all I can say is...TOLD YOU SO!!! ;o)
Pre-vacation, we worked very hard on our demonstration plot. We have sesame, melon, corn, beans, peanuts, castor bean, and a couple green manures for seed. Hoeing in the heat is hard, hard work, and weeds grow almost instantly due to the intense periods of rain and heat. I hate hoeing!
To be honest, I don't remember much of what was going on before around November. We started to do some work with bees, and have tried to capture our own wild hive, but have been unsuccessful with getting the hive to stay once transferred. I think it's largely due to fact that we haven't found the queen yet, which is not an easy feat. We'll get it right sooner or later.
Right now, work is slow. School is out for summer break, and we are working on our field a lot, and our weekly radio show. We are planning to have a summer camp for the students around the beginning of February. February also brings Carnaval, which we will plan on going to either in Encarnacion, which is supposed to be really fun, or in Villarica--a much closer and probably cheaper option.
2008 will see us traveling a whole lot more. We have vacations planned to go see Igauzu Falls in Argentina, a possible trip to Bolivia or the Brazilian Pantanal for Chris' birthday in April, and then Jim and Sally will be down to visit in July! This year's gonna fly by, and we have lots to do.
We wish you all a great start to a new year! One of my resolutions is to try and update the blog more often. Thanks to my little bro, Hillary, I can do that now on the comfort of our own laptop. Thanks again dude! Life's much sweeter here with the occasional movie, game, and more music.
Chau chau (as the locals say, when saying goodbye on the phone) with love from Paraguay to all our family and friends.