Change Yourself…Change The World.

And We’re the Three Best Friends That Anyone Could Have
March 17, 2013, 11:31 am
Filed under: Paraguay, Pictures Post

Meet my best friends in Paraguay.

This post has been a long time coming- literally, I’ve been meaning to post it for months. My wonderful friends Denis and Liz have popped up in photos throughout my blog, but I wanted to write a post dedicated to our awesome friendship (singular, we’re a three-headed beast).

At the exact mark of my 2nd year of service in the Peace Corps, I accidentally stumbled across Denis and Liz- and after realizing how incredible they both are (and literally right under my nose- Denis’s family owns a Video and Photography production store right next to a TV station I go to every week, which is 2 blocks from my house)- I still can’t believe that it took me a full year to find them.

I’ve discussed this before, but being in the Peace Corps and the only American in a completely foreign place can be a huge loss of identity. All of the things that I thought made me who I was before the Peace Corps- being an avid reader, a foreign movie buff, passionate about social enterprise and micro-finance, etc.- didn’t translate in Paraguay at all. My daily conversations with Paraguayans in my community included whether I liked to drink tereré (the staple Paraguayan drink) and eat mandioca (the staple root vegetable). I oftentimes felt lonely.

Then one day, as I was passing by the television station, Denis (who later told me he ‘finally plucked up the courage,’ since he said he always saw me passing by), asked if i was a Peace Corps Volunteer that lived here, and wanted to work with the local Boy and Girl Scouts group. Thinking this would be a great place where I could focus on leadership and self-esteem skills with youth, I said yes. At the first meeting, I met Liz, who is Denis’s closest friend, also works at his shop, and is the other leader in their Scout group. Then a few days later, I happened to be walking down the street and saw Liz at the store. I invited Liz to go to a party with some close-by Volunteers over the weekend, thinking she wouldn’t actually show up. But she did, and so did Denis. And it was definitely one of the most fun nights I ever had in Paraguay.

Since then, Denis, Liz, and I started hanging out every day. Denis loves photography and videography, so we had a huge common interest. We listened to the same music, and they both loved watching movies. But the biggest thing we have in common is that we are all total weirdos. We have bizarre inside jokes, poke fun at each other, and oftentimes quote my terribly phrased Spanish and Guaraní.

My life in Paraguay completely changed when I met Denis and Liz. I can’t imagine my life without them in Paraguay, and I feel so lucky to have met such wonderful friends. Sometimes I feel that some of my friends in Paraguay are by coincidence- because I live here and so do they, and so we may as well be friends. This is not how it is with Denis and Liz. They aren’t just my best Paraguayan friends- they really are some of my best friends in the world.

So Denis and Liz, thank you 1,000 times over for being my friends. Thank you for making me really love Caazapá and feel happy and comfortable here. And thank you for being weird, and embracing the weird American.

Check out some pictures of our exploits over the past 8 months below.


Our first night at a party together

Drinks and dinner at our favorite (and really, only) restaurant in Caazapá

Watching one of many movies at my house with popcorn and caipirinhas

Chillin’ out at my casa with some maté dulce

Liz and I at my Project Design and Management Workshop

Denis being a weirdo and wrapping my Tibetan prayer flags around his head

Drinking t-re

Liz being a weirdo while getting her hair dyed

Superman pose

Denis loves the color pink

Teaching Denis, Liz, and Liz’s brother how to make brownies

Denis using my lanterns from Greece as earrings

Being weirdos

Just another Saturday night at my house- with my good friend Zoe


Dancing at a liquor festival in Yegros. Those two things go together well. 

Celebrating my return from vacation in the States with Pad Thai

Gorging on carne asado at Liz’s Christmas

Denis and his Dad, Denis, who is equally awesome

Denis and Liz learning how to make gingerbread cookies at my Christmas

Liz taking the term ‘Christmas Stocking’ literally

Denis being a weirdo and will be mad at me for putting up this picture

Trying to turn Lassi into the ‘Mozilla Firefox’ dog sign

Teaching Lassi how to play drum set

Denis taking a picture of Liz and my Peace Corps friend summiting the tallest mountain in Paraguay

Trying to plant Lassi instead of my tree for my 25th birthday


Celebrating Year 25 in style.

The Peace Corps has helped me to realize what I value most in life, and the things that really matter. I’ve recognized that close friendships are one of the most important things to me. No matter where I go in this world, Denis and Liz will always have a very close place in my heart. Thank you Denis and Liz, for helping me love Paraguay forever.

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