26 October 2010


This isn't directly related to Paraguay or to exchange, but I think it's worth mentioning. Postcrossing is a project that's been around for a few years. Basically, you sign up with your address, and people will send you postcards from all over the world, provided that you also send out postcards to random people all over the world. I signed up about a month ago, and absolutely love it. So far, I've sent out postcards to Finland, Russia, Poland, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, and China. I've also gotten postcards back already from different people in Poland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Finland.

Check it out, and sign up. Postcards are generally pretty cheap, and so is postage.

25 October 2010

Ojalá Returning, Por Fin.

I have begun the process of figuring out how to get myself back to Paraguay. Basically since the day I got back to the US after exchange, I've been watching ticket prices from Chicago to Asunción. I've tried every combination of times of day, dates, airports, and airlines. To my dismay, the cheapest round trip available during my vacation times has remained around $1400. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but it now appears as though if I fly on Tuesday or Thursday with TACA Airlines, and transfer in Miami and Lima, I can go for just over $1000, fees and taxes included.

To add to the increased possibility of affording a ticket, I have also discovered several grants through my college that I intend to apply for. I'm still working on creating my formal proposal, but I have multiple unpolished ideas. I'll write more about these when I have them narrowed down a bit more, but for now I'm just excited that a return is even in the financial picture.

Regardless of if I receive funding, I should be able to squeak by. I'll be spending the second half of my summer at Camp Anokijig, which is an amazing place. I got involved with camp in 2003, when I was 11, and the only things that have kept me away for a summer are Paraguay and Turkey. I began volunteering in the fall of 2005 when I was 13 in the midst of a panic about camp's future, and have continued since then. I worked as junior staff when I was 15 and 16, missed summer 2009 because of being in Paraguay and China, and would have been senior staff this past summer had I not accepted the NSLI-Y scholarship to Turkey. I've decided that it's about time for me to be back at camp, and will be working sessions 4 through 9. While a camp counselor's salary can look pretty meager, it should be just enough to cover my plane ticket if I don't get a grant, and it's somewhere that I really want to be. I'd rather be making pennies at something I would do for free than spend my summer stressed out about some hated fast food job just to make a little more money.

As for general updates in my life, I am now a freshman at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. Despite being tiny and obscure, it is an extremely international school. Just in my residence hall, there are students from Senegal, the Bahamas, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Afghanistan, France, Italy, and Japan, not to mention from all over the US. My major is still officially undeclared, but I'm fairly certain that I will be some sort of Education or Youth in Society major. I'll likely have a second major as well, but I really have NO idea what that will be. I've considered Modern Languages, Spanish, and History, but I'm not going to worry too much about it right now.
I'm also planning on spending a year abroad, likely my third year. I still haven't figured out if I would rather spend a year in one place, or two semesters in two separate places. I have so many choices! Beloit has its own programs in a few places that I'm interested in (Turkey, Ecuador), and they're a part of ACM (Associated Colleges of the Midwest) which administers a program in Juiz de Fora, Brazil that I'm very interested in. Then there are programs like ISEP, who is associated with Beloit as well. ISEP has more options than anyone else; I'm looking into Chile, Malta, Belgium, México, South Africa, Spain, Puerto Rico, and Argentina with them at the moment, but that list changes almost daily.
Needless to say, I've got a lot of "figuring out" to do in the coming months, but I think I'll be happy with basically whatever country I end up in.

11 June 2010

La Copa Mundial

Paraguay plays Italy on Monday, 1:30PM Central Time. June 20th they play Slovakia at 6:30AM Central Time. June 24th they play New Zealand at 9AM.


Salvador Cabañas won't be playing, but Roque Santa Cruz will be back, so maybe he can pick up the slack...

23 May 2010

Next Stop...

Hey everyone!
It's been a long time since I've had anything new to say about Paraguay, but I do have some exciting new(ish) exchange-related news.

Way back in October, I decided to apply for a program called NSLI-Y that's run by the US State Department. Students can apply for a year, semester, or summer to study Chinese, Arabic, Korean, Turkish, Russian, Hindi, or Persian. While applications are done by language, not country, students go to China, Taiwan, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, South Korea, India, Turkey, Russia, and Tajikistan.

Basically, if I was selected for this program, I would get to go somewhere to study languages FOR FREE. GRATIS. Of course, I applied. My first two choices were Persian (Tajikistan) and Turkish (Turkey); my second two choices were Hindi (India) and Arabic (Egypt, Morocco, Jordan); and my third choice was Russian/Russia. Nothing happened until January, when I was told that I was a semi-finalist. Basically all that meant is that I was eligible age-wise and grade-wise, and didn't waste my time applying or not finishing the application. I had a really chill interview with the same person that had already interviewed me for exchange-related stuff twice, and then I waited. I waited for the oh-so-vague "April" when we would receive our final notifications. April 1st, we (all 3,000-and-some who had applied) started to hold our breath. Notifications actually started on April 8th, when the Russia summer kids were notified. Then there was nothing until the 13th, when the India summer kids heard. After that, we started hearing something for someone most days.

My email came on April 20th. I worked until 9 or 10, but I got the notification on my phone. Unfortunately, all of the actual notification was done via .pdf attachment, which apparently, is not available on an enV3 phone. So on that half-hour drive home, I knew that there was news, but I didn't really know what news. I had a hunch because of one of the names of the attachments, but I didn't know what news there was. Was I going somewhere? Was I an alternate? I finally got home, and miraculously got the ancient desktop to open a .pdf without freezing for more than a few seconds. I was offered a scholarship to Turkey. :)

Thankfully, the dates just-barely worked out, and I was able to accept the invitation to 7 weeks in Istanbul, with an organization called ACES. :) So, I will be living with a Turkish family and attending Turkish for Foreigners class 5 days a week. Seriously, the dates are near-perfect. I'll be leaving only 1 day before my sister (I was worried about leaving 1-2 weeks before her) and returning the day before I move into my dorm at Beloit. In light of this, I started a new blog, since I'm not really sure how to link Turkey into a blog titled "Terere y Paraguay". Maybe after this summer I'll be able to, but for now, you can follow me over at USAtoTurkiye.blogspot.com/. (FYI, I DO know how to spell; "türkiye" means "Turkey" in Turkish. ;) )

See ya in Istanbul! Now to just learn Turkish...