Change Yourself…Change The World.

The Top 10 Things I will miss about the US, and am excited for Paraguay
May 23, 2011, 1:02 am
Filed under: Paraguay, USA

As my leave date for the Peace Corps draws extremely close (we’re on the 2 day mark here, folks!), I’ve had numerous friends and family ask what most excites me about joining the Peace Corps and living in Paraguay for two years. Equally, there have also been inquiries as to what I will miss the most about living in the USA. After a lot of careful thought, I’ve decidedly come up with 10 (in no particular order) in each category.

The Top 10 things I will miss the most about the US:

1. This is obligatory: my family. Not just my parents and siblings, but my entire extended family. I will miss all of our huge reunions, smaller get-togethers, and the day-to-day life with my sisters and my parents.
2. My two dogs, pure and simple. I am super attached to my dogs, Lucky and Summer. I live to come home and see their faces every day. Saying good-bye to them will be tough!
3. The simplicity of food. Being able to go out one night for Indian, the next for Mexican, followed by sushi for lunch the next day. I will miss Vegetarian, Vegan, and Raw Food. I will miss being able to pop into Whole Foods and grab easily pre-packaged delicious snacks or peruse the local grocery chain for the thirty different varieties of cheese. Choice is something we so take for granted in the US.
4. My bed. I will miss my comforter and pillows.
5. The ability to be connected to the internet 24/7. This includes my computer and my iPhone. I will miss not being able to check my email every minute of every day, or being able to look something up on google if I have a question the minute it pops into my head. I will miss being able to download large files at lightning speed.
6. I will miss the weather in South Florida, the laid-back attitude, the palm trees, and the breeze coming from the beach.
7. Driving: just being able to get in a car and drive anywhere I want to, whether to a CVS or 5 hours north to visit friends in Gainesville.
8. Speaking English. I know it’s something we all take for granted, but I will miss all of the slang and jokes that are associated with the English language. It will be hard to learn all of them in both Spanish and Guaraní.
9. My friends. The thing is, most of my friends are spread out all over the world and not just confined to the USA. But for those that are in the US, I will miss them.
10. Indoor air conditioning and heating. When it’s hot in Paraguay, it’s REALLY hot. And when it’s cold in Paraguay, the houses aren’t insulated, so you will always be freezing. Adjusting to both extremes will definitely make me appreciate the US more!

But with the 10 things I will miss the most about America, there are also 10 things I am VERY excited about for the Peace Corps and Paraguay.

10 things that make me excited to join the Peace Corps and live in South America for two years:

1. Having the opportunity to live in one community for two years and really understand what my fellow neighbors’ wants, goals, and dreams are. This is such a rare and unique experience, and I am lucky to have the opportunity to understand what making a difference means in my community.
2. Living the tranquilo lifestyle; the typical life in Paraguay. Sitting on the porch, sipping terere (Paraguay’s famous cold beverage), and gossiping the afternoon away with my neighbors. I can’t wait to meet the people in my community, to forge new friendships, and to gain new perspectives through them.
3. The simplicity. Not having a shopping mall around every corner, or living a materialistic life that is so sought-after in the US.
4. Being in ‘the heart of South America,’ which means being in a very close proximity to Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. This means adventures. I definitely plan on going to Brazil for Carnaval and to see my 6th wonder of the world (Christ the Redeemer). I’m also up for some rocking adventures in Bolivia, and wherever else the wind may take me.
5. Learning not one, but TWO languages fluently: Spanish, a universally recognized language, and Guaraní, a small indigenous language.
6. Having the opportunity to serve my country and be a part of the United States Government. It is something that makes me feel very proud.
7. Living and breathing in one country for two years of my life. I have spent the past 3 years traveling to 30 countries. I’m excited to spend two years in only ONE country, where I can really delve deeper into what the culture is about.
8. Learning new skills. Building a brick oven, planting my own vegetable garden, teaching English (or Spanish) to children. Whatever new Macgyver-esque skills I will acquire while in service.
9. Getting creative- whether it’s teaching a class, working with a co-op, or navigating through an awkward conversation.
10. Becoming buds with all of my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers. I’ve had the pleasure of bonding on a deep level with many people through traveling- I think it’s one of the best ways to forge long-lasting friendships. I am pretty thrilled about connecting with more on this same level.

So there you have it. Back to gorging on salads and seafood, blasting the AC and snuggling with my dogs in my last moments of appreciating the US!

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