Sunday, February 5, 2012

One Year in Paraguay by the Numbers

Jesus Cristo, has it been a year already? It sure doesn't feel like it. It seems like only yesterday we were nervously stepping off the plane into the sauna that is Paraguay. Now, we're seasoned volunteers fully immersed in a culture that once seemed so foreign. These past twelve months have been a blur. Though I can't help but wonder, if it's really been a year, shouldn't I be able to speak Spanish by now?

Before getting started, I feel the need to emphatically emphasize this post is completely tongue-in-cheek. We honestly love our neighbors, Paraguay and the work we're doing here. Below you will find some of the observations we've made about life here over the past 365 days. We mean no disrespect. With that being said, here's a disrespectful breakdown of our first year in Paraguay by the numbers:

spoonfuls of mayonnaise in a single serving of salad
1,000,000: times in a row our neighbor listens to a song before getting tired of it
3: plastic bags given to carry one egg from our local dispensa
41: books read during service thus far (apiece)
2: sizes too small Paraguayan men buy their t-shirts
67: times I've been asked why I have a beard
102: degrees Fahrenheit on a typical summer day
24: severed cow legs discovered on the roadside one day near Salto Monday
4: toads accidentally killed every time I cut the grass
5: highest number of people seen riding on one moto (not counting the baby)
10: flies that will bathe/have sex on my sandwich if it's momentarily left unattended
3: guaranteed misspellings/grammar mistakes on any t-shirt printed in English
20: minutes a Paraguayan needs to take money out of the ATM
14: prostitutes hanging outside the Palace Hotel in Asuncion this very second
7: teacher strikes last year
71: average days between blog posts
3: sharts
9: hour at which we completely lose water every night in the summer
237: conversations in Guarani we pretended to understand
4.5: acceptable number of days between showers in the winter
19: minutes a local will stand breathing over a trash fire before walking away for a cigarette
2: liters of soda consumed daily by a typical infant
58: rhinestones on every pair of ladies jeans
8: zippers on every pair of mens jeans
15: months we have left in service
6: members of the Peace Corps Paraguay family that contracted Dengue (that we know of)
1: gallon of sweat Carly loses every night in her sleep
202: miles run
8: longest stretch of days without pooping
15: shortest stretch of seconds between poops
19: eggplants in the garden
404: tomatoes in the garden (who knew 20+ tomato plants would be overkill?)
European countries poorly free-handed on our giant world map
0: kids that noticed how poorly Europe was drawn
33: days of vacation left to travel throughout South America
250: empanadas consumed
578: combined hours on the bus
5.5: longest wait in hours from the start of a BBQ to when the food was actually served
2: feet it is considered appropriate to step away from someone before peeing
23: times I've been asked why Carly and I don't have kids
times I've been asked if I have kids with another woman
23: times I've been asked if I was sterile
48: headbutts taken to the crotch when my little neighbors go in for a hug (I'm tall here)

Just to reiterate, this was supposed to be funny. You know we're crazy about you, Paraguay. Don't get all sensitive on us now--not after all we've been through.

Also, for those interested in a blog post that is actually informative, Carly has agreed to write something this week. Stay tuned, amigos.