I suppose it's no secret that I've had a hard time here in Paraguay. There are the typical struggles that a volunteer may experience- loneliness being the greatest, all of the health problems, and feeling the most vulnerable and helpless I've felt in my life. I suppose these were great trials to go through, and I'm still learning that now. When I struggle, I think about how much I am growing and learning from these tough experiences. Well, sometimes I'm a complete wreck, but I try to stay positive in retrospect.
I don't regret coming here a single bit! I try to imagine how some things would have turned out had I done them differently, but I know that's a terrible way to think. I've had a hard time feeling satisfied with my accomplishments. I often compare myself with others and feel like I've done nothing worthy. That's held me down for quite a while now, I'm my own worst enemy! Even with the great things I have done, I've had a hard time celebrating them as successes. I can't even figure out why, I just struggle with this perfectionist part of me. I'm still trying to figure out how to conquer that.
I've come to peace with some of the things I can't change (I think), but when I think of what could be done with my remaining time here, I get overwhelmed. My time feels so limited and I'm not sure what to pursue! Things are picking up again, I just have to really maintain a positive state of mind. It's very easy to get discouraged here, and it's a terrible pattern. Once that happens, you don't feel like going out into the community or introducing ideas/projects to people who seem disinterested or unsupportive. It isn't always that way, but that rejection is hard to overcome sometimes! Again, all of this has been a great learning experience. Sometimes I feel like I need more time to get it right.
That brings me to my next great worry. What to do next? Do I plan? Do I figure it out when I get home? I like to think I'm organized, believe it or not, but you know what? I planned in Europe. I took an interview while I was in Italy, and I had a job waiting in the states. I was so organized. In Italy?! How ridiculous. It's good to plan sometimes, but did I prefer to take an interview over hanging out with the grapes in the vineyards? No.
That's just a small example, and then I ended up rejecting that job. I found something within a month of coming home, and it was fine. I've been stressing about GRE studying (with no materials), applying for schools, and not coming to a solution. Then a close friend wrote me and gave me some great advice. She suggested that I wait until I'm home, as everything usually falls into place. She reminded me that if I focus too much on the future right now, I may lose the precious moments I still have in Paraguay. I'm not going to be irresponsible, but my time is so limited here. I do have free time, but I don't want to become obsessed with my next step and miss out on the beauty around me.
Bringing me to the present- I've been trying to focus on the positives here. Don't get me wrong, I have screamed obscenities and have still had my crazy moments this month, but I've loved thinking of all the things I'm thankful for while on this journey.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a few of my blessing that I'm thankful for through photos.
Bouquet of carrots from the neighbor's garden! We share a yard.
This is how Paraguay celebrates Halloween- or All Saint's day. They pay respect to their loved ones they have lost, light candles, say prayers, and bring offerings.
Planting the okra seeds my dad sent me ages ago! They are growing now, but ants seem to love them.
Juan and I went to a rose garden and got to pick out roses of our choice. The woman that owned the place allowed us to pick our favorites, then came out with scissors and a bucket of water. It brightened up the entire room!
I couldn't believe my eyes!! Cupcakes right after I had seen some on Sex & The City (on TV in Spanish). They were tiny, but oh so good.
Casey, my dear site mate. I would be lost without him.
I can't figure out how to format everything, but the last few photos are great river adventures!!
Thanks for all the support, everything helps me out more than I could ever express. I love you!