Change Yourself…Change The World.

May 3, 2012, 12:53 am
Filed under: Paraguay

So, the last post I wrote bordered a little bit on cynicism- when I calmed down from my irrational temper tantrum on the no-good-very-bad-day, I re-read the post I wrote and cringed a little. I love Paraguay and my experience here as a Volunteer, so what prompted the outburst?

But I knew I wrote it for a reason! I was trying to prove a point, and wrote with a little bit of frustration and anger on purpose- because in reality, there are days and times as a Peace Corps Volunteer when you get very irrational, for no reason. Days where you will feel exasperated and lonely, and the only thing you can do is blame it on your lumpy flour tortillas. Days where for all intents and purposes, you can’t make it to that barbecue you were invited to- and then feel a sense of overwhelming guilt- Am I a bad Volunteer? Aren’t I supposed to be out ‘integrating? Isn’t this a 24/7 job? Days where you get crazy jealous of your Peace Corps friends who are meeting up, having fun, and speaking English without you while you have a commitment in your site (Me? Jealous? When did this happen?) And yes- I admit it- days where huddle in a corner of your house and fantasize about a long hot shower, or a toilet that doesn’t explode.

The Peace Corps always suggests to never write when in a hard place or a bad mood, and I’ve done a pretty good job of that so far (judging by the 30-so drafts of me ranting about one frustration or another that I then never publish), but I also want to paint a realistic portrait of some of the hardships that I face as a Volunteer. Some of that hardship includes getting angry at inanimate objects, but I promise it’s not all of the time.

I have periods where I do get irrational and over-whelmed with living in a constant state of not-knowing-anything (sometimes when someone asks me a hard question I panic and forget Spanish), or realizing that the exoticism of living in a foreign country has worn off and that this is my real life- and that real life includes tarantulas. But then I go over to my neighbors house and drink tereré, or huddle in bed with my Paraguayan sister while I rub her belly and we think up names for her baby that’s due in 5 months- and those irrational fears recede, and all I feel is such incredible gratefulness for being accepted into a family like a daughter even though I’m this strange American. Or I go for a walk and listen to the roosters crowing and watch my neighbor’s dog Lassi chase cows 10 times the size of him- and I just laugh and feel the dirt road underneath my bare feet and the breeze on my face and feel so thankful and strong for being able to live this life, so far away from everything that I know.

Life isn’t perfect happiness here. But maybe it’s those irrational moments that bring the most clarity afterwards. It shows me my greatest fears, my biggest flaws, and my deepest insecurities. And one by one, I’m slowly learning to face and overcome them.

5 Comments so far
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I wonder how the hell you can stay where you are every single day!!!!! Hang in there 🙂 You family loves u 🙂
Auntie Deb

Comment by Auntie Deb

Hello Brittany, I have enjoyed reading your post on your experience living in south america. I found your blog by accident while scanning the web looking for ideas for my future daughter in law’s upcoming wedding. I was hoping to find a little something from her culture that I could bring to the wedding, food, flower,music. A little something to remind her of home. She is from Paraguay. Any recommendations?God bless you.
Melinda Roland, Irving, TX

Liz is 28 years old living in Texas for past few years.

Comment by Melinda

Hi Melinda! That is a great idea and I’m sure she will love it so much. Here’s a few suggestions:

1) Decorate one of the tables at the wedding with nanduti- it’s a famous lace made in Paraguay, and she’d recognize it instantly. Here’s a link to ebay:

2) Look up ’12 famous songs of Paraguay’ on iTunes. This is very typical Paraguayan polka music (not contemporary, but every Paraguayan knows these songs). I’m sure she would be surprised to hear it at her wedding!

3) Chipaguazu is a famous type of Paraguayan food (it’s like a type of cornbread, but much cheesier). A fellow Peace Corps Volunteer who returned to the United States experimented with the recipe, using American ingredients to get it as close as possible to the real thing. You could bake this for the wedding- make sure to serve it really fresh and piping hot (it’s 100 times better):

after throwing in a couple tricks from my host mom and experimenting with cheeses, I think this recipe is a winner. It should serve about 5-6 people.



• 6 large ears of corn: the fresher the better, and uncooked
• 3 eggs
• 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon salt
• ¾ cup queso fresco or queso duro
• ¾ cup muenster cheese
• ½ cup flour or corn starch
• ½ cup milk: doesn’t matter what kind
• ½ large sweet onion diced
• 1 cup water


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil on med-high heat. The trick with the onions is NOT to brown them, instead sauté them for a minute, then slowly add water until the onions are submerged (you may not use the whole cup). Add salt and let the onions simmer on med heat for 8-10 min, or until the onions are translucent. Then set aside.
3. While the onions are cooking, cut corn off the cob. Take about half of the corn and blend with a blender or food processor until you have a thick oatmeal consistency. Then combine whole kernels with ground kernels.
4. Separate the egg whites from the yolk. Beat egg whites until they foam, then gently mix with yolks by stirring them in with a spoon (you do not want a scrambled egg mixture)
5. Combine corn, the remaining oil, cheeses, milk and onions together (add the onion water too, it has all the flavor!).
6. Fold in eggs with a large spoon, and gently add flour until the mixture is close to that of a runny oatmeal.
7. Pour mixture into a deep, greased, oven safe dish.
8. The thing to remember with chipaguasu is that a lot of moisture will evaporate as it cooks, so don’t worry if the mix looks too liquid.
9. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until the sides are a deep gold. Baking in a glass dish is the best because you can see if the bottom or sides are browning.
10. Let the chipaguazu cool, and solidify a bit, for about 10 minutes.
11. Serve and enjoy!

Hope this helps and best of luck!

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

Sitting in Bangkok, en route to Nepal… reading your blog. Love it. You’re extremely good at writing. 🙂

Comment by Grant Trammell

Thanks Grant! Glad you enjoy 🙂

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

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