In site, my friends are ladies somewhere between 2 and 3 times my age. They are grandmothers. They are wonderfully welcoming and fun. If you asked me anytime before Paraguay, I would never have imagined my social life (at least when I’m in site) centering on grandmothers.
Until I came to Paraguay, I tended to seek out the friendship of people close to my age. But, in my site people my age are complicated. The complication comes from the fact that we are going in different directions. There is a big focus on being in a relationship, so between women my age and me there’s a feeling of competition and between men my age and me there’s sexual tension—neither of which are feelings I want in my daily life. Our dreams are different. Of course, young people here are fun, and I’m still hoping to find some Paraguayan best friends my age.
Everything that makes people my age difficult makes señoras (as one calls the older, married ladies) perfect friends. Señoras aren’t competitive, and the best ones don’t judge. Even if they think I’m strange, it doesn’t stop them. Most señoras are jokesters and enjoy hanging out. They’ve already raised kids and are the true rulers of the community. Many of them are homemakers, so they’re around more than the younger people who work outside of the home or are going to school.
Señoras have great stories and enjoy help cooking or reviewing their grandchildren’s homework. They are set in their ways, but they’ll listen to my ideas and observations even if they won’t act on them.