Change Yourself…Change The World.

Vacation Central
November 26, 2012, 1:07 am
Filed under: USA

The past two weeks I have been on complete vacation mode: I went back to the United States! It was a much-needed period of rest, relaxation, and seeing so many wonderful friends and family. I completely forewent my resolution of posting once every Sunday on this blog- whoops- I was sucked into such a vortex of complete enjoyment and intense traveling that two weeks flashed by in one huge happy instant. In fact, I did not even take ONE photo of the past two weeks- well, except for this one:

My uncle celebrating our post-Thanksgiving feast with a food coma.

Some of the highlights of my trip included:

  • Seeing my cousin get married! I basically came back to the US in November for his wedding, and it was an incredible event. There was a lot of dancing, photo-boothing (yes, they had a photobooth there!), eating incredible food (my favorite was the mashed potato bar), and just laughing with family. My grandmother also impressed all of us with her moves on the dance floor- but she DID dance on broadway, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.
  • Seeing all of my best friends from Global College for a special reunion in Pennsylvania! All of my closest friends that traveled with me for a year throughout four countries studying religion and culture through Global College’s ‘CRC Program’ came to be together and brunch at my aunt’s house. It was so great seeing them again and spending an afternoon updating and reminiscing.
  • A special trip out to San Francisco for a few days! I love the city and have a huge number of close friends there, and it was great to be back in California, where I lived for nearly two years before Global College. I spent time with some wonderful friends from all time periods of my life, and they all met each other at a special Greek dinner. I also visited Stanford and UC Berkeley’s MBA programs. I was very impressed by both, and I plan to apply next year.
  • Spending a blissful week at home in Florida with my immediate family. I didn’t do all that much except cuddle with my dog, play Super Mario and watch Star Wars with my little sisters, and eat my Mom’s incredible home-cooked meals. I also got to visit a few of my best friends from high school, which was fantastic. My mom spoiled me rotten by taking me grocery shopping (I brought a LOT of food back with me to Paraguay!) and buying me new running shoes. My parents also gave me all of my Christmas presents early, and a Christmas stocking stuffed with goodies inside of a plastic bag that I can’t open until Christmas! I may or may not have also spent the better part of 2 hours inside of a Publix grocery store walking up and down aisles, throwing random things into a cart, and then putting them back. This is what culture shock does to you!
  • Spending Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania with my Mom’s side of the family. I have to say, nothing ever feels so good. We all have Thanksgiving once every two years together (we alternate every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas)- Truly, Thanksgiving with my Mom’s side of the family is always my favorite holiday. My aunts and cousins each have their special appetizers and desserts they always make, my grandfather buys special cheeses, and my grandmother cooks a huge feast that is the best meal you will ever eat. As usual, we had about 4 times the amount of food than was necessary. One of my best (and recently engaged!) friends spent Thanksgiving with us, and for the first time my grandmother taught me how she makes a Thanksgiving turkey!
  • Lounging around for two days after Thanksgiving with my cousins and aunts and uncles, eating leftovers and my grandfather’s ‘Thanksgiving sandwiches’ (which really are the best part of Thanksgiving). We watched a marathon of movies, went shopping, and drank way too many Starbucks coffee. It really was the best holiday ever.

I’m now back in Paraguay. It was initially hard to leave the United States, where life is so full of creature comforts, close friends, and family. Paraguay can sometimes be such a huge challenge with a lot of hardship, and life felt so easy in the United States: hot showers, great and convenient food, a loving family, friends that care about me, and a life pretty bug-free. But I’m ready to be back here and to finish up the 8 months of service I have left. I’m ready to go back to the incredible friendships I have in my community, the projects I’ve worked hard to establish in Paraguay, and fully appreciate the tranquilo tereré lifestyle while I still have it.

But while I may miss the United States, the BEST part about it will be coming to me here- my parents and possibly little sisters are coming to see me in Paraguay!!!! More details to come, but it definitely was the best gift I could have received while being home!

I have so much to be thankful for, and being home for Thanksgiving was the perfect reminder. Here’s to my family, my friends, and to all of the wonderful things I have in my life- including my wonderful Paraguay.

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