So I´m finally here. After 3 flights, 2 days in a hotel, a crazy van ride through asuncion, two days in a hostel-type thing, and a 6 hour bus ride through the campo, I´m finally here. The people are all really nice. The orientation in Miami was decent, and I got to meet some really great people who are also in Paraguay (or brazil or costa rica) but nobody else is anywhere near my city.
The hostel-thing where I had orientation was really nice. It´s called Quinta Ykua Sati, and is kinda secluded from the rest of Asuncion. I had roommates from Thailand and Germany there, and there were also kids from Belgium, France, Austria, and Switzerland. I had to leave pretty abruptly to catch my bus to Pilar though. My sister, Paty, met me at the terminal for the 6-hour bus ride to Pilar. The colectiva (bus) we were on was really nice- nicer than most coach busses. The drive was almost entirely through campo (countryside) and it was realy pretty. I think Paraguay has more cows than Wisconsin! Parts of the road were almost impassable, but most of it was fairly smooth, compared to city streets. After the long hours on the bus, I was greeted by a group of people (mostly my sisters´friends) screaming ¨¡feliz cumpleaños Hannah Montana!¨ After that, we all got into an SUV and drove around Pilar blasting some bizzare mix of reggaeton and traditional music until we got to my house.
The city of Pilar is pretty small, and it seems like everyone knows everybody. My family is really nice, I have parents, a sister, two brothers, and a live-in cousin. There are always a ton of kids though, and we´re always with their friends. School starts in 9 days. The weather is HOT! Usually in the mid thirties celsius. My house is small, but it´s nice. I´ll post pictures some other time. Everyone here drives mopeds (motos) unless there are too many people for a moto. Traffick in asuncion is CRAZY. People pile into cars on laps, and I saw 5 people on one moto. There are a ton of street kids (little kids) that run up to your car and try to wash your window or sell you coke. They dart out into traffic all the time; it´s amazing they don´t get hit. Pilar is different though. There aren´t really any traffic laws, but people drive slower, and almost everyone uses motos instead of cars. Also no street kids so far.
Yesterday was part of carnaval (I think) and it was a ton of fun. In the afternoon, basically everyone in the city had a massive waterballoon fight. First, we went over to a neighbors house, and threw them at all the other kids that went by, and they returned fire. Some people stand on corners, some people pile into camionetas (pickup trucks) or take backpacks full of chupitas (the balloons) with them on their motos (mopeds) to throw at people in other cars or in the street. After throwing them from the sidewalk for a while, we piled into an ancient landrover with about 15 or 20 gallons of chupitas and drove around throwing them and dodging them. It was so much fun! It started raining in the evening, so we rented some movies. Definitely Maybe (In Spanish with English subtitles for me) and Blind Date (In English with Spanish subtitiles). Today was calmer, we walked around town, and hung out at a neighbor´s house. I´m in an internet cafe right now, about a 10-minute walk from my house.
I understand more than I thought I would, and most of the time I can communicate what I need to. I´ve only used my dictionaries a few times, and most people are pretty patient with me when I have no clue what they´re talking about. The accent is pretty different, but I´m getting used to it. Jopara drives me insane though. Jopara is a mixture of Spanish and Guaraní, the native language that is spoken just as much as Spanish in a lot of areas. People don´t speak pure Guaraní that much, but tons of people speak in Jopara. Paty and some of her friends were trying to teach me Guaraní today, and it´s insane. They have letters that I´ve never seen before. It´s going to be taught in school, so we´ll see how that goes.
Gotta go, time´s up on the computer