Holy cow! I know where I’m going to live and work the next 2 years…in Paraguay.
I spent the last 5 days visiting my future site. I move there to start my work as a sworn-in Peace Corps volunteer on April 11.
My site is beautiful, the people are welcoming and guapo, I’m close to Asunción and a huge supermarket, and it looks like I will have a lot of work to do (if I play my cards right and have a little luck). My host family is large and friendly. I have a room with a lock. I feel spoiled.
I was nervous to visit my site for the first time. What if my host family didn’t like me? What if I didn’t like them? What if the people in my site didn’t want me there? What if…? Waiting to get my Peace Corps site was an introduction to a level of nervous-excitement I didn’t know existed.
Let me explain. Living with a host family is hard. Moving to a new community where people don’t speak your first language is hard. For those of you who haven’t studied abroad or lived with a host family (and a host community), it feels a lot like meeting, for the first time, the family of the significant other you hope to marry.
You want to make a good impression while still being honest about yourself. You want them to like you and you hope that you like them. You want everything to go smoothly and you want them to want to get to know you better.
My site visit went well. I chatted, drank terere, walked around, went running, attended a soccer game…I visited the high school and health post where I am going to work. I felt safe there. I even think that, with time, my site will feel like home.
My site reminds me of Vermont. It’s green—it’s full of rocks and trees and has cows that wander across the road.