Translate - Traducir

Thursday, December 6, 2012


People are a collaboration of various traits that make them an individual. Moving yourself to a new country, full of foreign customs and people really shows you what traits you're made of. I started to realize that no matter where in the world I am, I carry with me that i'm humorous and animated. The flip side of this is realizing the traits you lost. No longer was I able to communicate with people or able to share knowledge on local topics. It was an adjustment. Trying to accept my new reputation and stay true to who I thought I was. I wanted everyone in Paraguay to think of me as the same individual that my peers back in Canada did. However  being stripped down to my raw personality provided me with room to grow. A once in a lifetime opportunity to gain new traits and better myself. This really opened my eyes to the fact that wherever we go in the world, we'll only carry true personality traits with us. Although my Canadian friends know the Canadian Autumn, my Paraguayan friends will only ever know the Paraguayan Autumn.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

You Can't Escape It

It's been interesting to see so many American brands, and hear so much American music while living in Paraguay. It's true that you really can't escape the north American culture, no matter how far you travel. The irony of all this being that the people here know everything about our country, and we know nothing about theirs. They can pronounce all our brands and quote all our music (which is all sung in a foreign language to them), but I challenge you to name 1 Paraguayan singer, brand, actress or company. I can even broaden the spectrum to the whole of south America and still have full confidence that nobody will be able to answer the question. Globally, north Americans are know to be ignorant and un educated. We carry a natural ignorance about us, due to the fact that our culture is known worldwide and no matter where we go, we'll be able to find something familiar. English is the international language and is spoken in all countrys. But thinking realistically, it would be nearly impossible to flag down someone on a Canadian street that speaks the Spanish language. I am not ashamed to be a part of such an ignorant culture, but more so disappointed that the people of north America will never strive to adapt to a new culture, because there is no need to do so. My understanding of other nations has grown so much, for being out of Canada for only 3 months. The world is such a diverse, humbling place if you are willing to open your eyes to a new lifestyle. One lesson that I learned today? You have to let go of what you're used to, in order to move forward in a new country.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekend Recap

I spent this past weekend in the nearby town of Ypane. It's a small, older town. A place where everyone is acquainted with one another and everything is within walking distance. It opened my eyes to a different side of the Paraguayan culture. Large gatherings of people all over the town, just sitting and enjoying eachothers presence. It was really refreshing for me to be in a place where the people could have a good time while being relaxed and calm. On Saturday night an intense rainstorm, which I referred to as a monsoon, destroyed the town for the night. Here in Paraguay, extreme weather generally leads to powerouts and the indoor plumbing to stop working. During this alleged monsoon, I was outdoors at a fiesta with my friend from Ypane. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before. The streets flooded and the sky turned into a light display due to the constant lightening strikes. To a certain extent, it was beautiful. A whole town without power, listening to the rainstorm and watching the lightening together. The other not so beautiful highlight of my weekend in Ypane, the scorpion next to my bed. I have never seen a scorpion and at first glance I didn't completely register that it was a real scorpion crawling on my wall. Just moments later the reality sank in and the family I was staying with in Ypane, was highly amused by my scorpion reaction. I love my home in Luque, but my weekend in Ypane was one to remember.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


As the two official languages of Canada are English and French, I knew virtually no Spanish before coming to Paraguay. In any situation, language barriers are a challenging obstacle. I realized very quickly that I had a lot to learn and that becoming a fluent Spanish speaker would be a long process. The thing about learning a second language, is it requires effort on both ends, the speaker and the listener. It took only a few days for me to see that the effort would have to come 90% from me, and 10% from the people around me. To this day I have many problems with people telling me "I can not understand you", no matter how many times I repeat myself or try to rephrase my sentence. It seemed that the only person looking to help me was my Paraguayan brother, who speaks English and Spanish. The more I converse with my brother, the more I notice that we speak our own dialect... Spanglish. We switch languages mid sentence and answer questions in English, then Spanish. Often times, I will say something and not be entirely sure which language is coming out of my mouth. It sounds bizarre, but this has helped to improve my Spanish as well as my brother's English. This is not to say that I have stopped trying to learn and perfect my Spanish, but I am proud to say that I am a fluent Spanglish speaker. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Welcome To The Jungle

The first words that were said to me when I arrived in Paraguay, "welcome to the jungle". The forty degree weather and humid climate were the first indicators that I was in a country that proved to be somewhat jungle like. I spent my first few weeks soaking up the hot temperate, unaware that a few short weeks later I would be doing everything possible to get out of the stifling heat. The unfamiliar wildlife was the very next thing that captured my attention. Although I had yet to encounter the monkeys and jaguars...  the lizards, parrots, fireflies, excessive mosquitos and giant bats were shocking enough for my Canadian eyes. Something about this atmosphere was just so tropical. The geography of the country itself is beautiful, with trees that have been growing for decades and bright floral displays on every corner. The overhead canvas of treetops and leaves provided an even greater jungle ambience. As I walk down the city streets, covered in bug bites, listening to the birds call and the tree leaves rustle, there is only one thought that crosses my mind. Welcome to the jungle.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

There´s something about Paraguay...

Upon arrival in Paraguay, it was everything I had expected. Dirty, noisy, hot and chaotic. All the online research I had done was painfully accurate and I had many doubts that I would adjust into this foreign environment. Naturally, I started spending my time trying to fix what wasn´t broken. Trying to educate the people here on manners and cleanliness, and taking every open opportunity to demonstrate things the way that they are done in Canada. I was so oblivious to the fact that the people of Paraguay were not my students, but my teachers. Three months later, Paraguay is still everything I had expected. Dirty, noisy, hot and chaotic, and there is nothing I would prefer. The noise and the chaos has become such a refreshing reminder that life still exists outside of computers and that communication still exists outside of cell phones. I´ve embraced the lifestyle here to such a great extent that something feels wrong if I don´t hear the neighbours yelling across the street, the vender's trying to make sales on their megaphones or the roosters crowing in the yard. Although I love Canada, there is definitely something about Paraguay. 

First Post

I´m a little over my halfway mark of living in Paraguay and today I was inspired to start writing a blog on my experiences and thoughts. The things you will read on this blog are a reflection of what I´ve experienced in this country, not a reflection of what everyone will experience when travelling to Paraguay. I will be sure to clarify the difference between personal experiences and general experiences. To add a little background knowledge to my posts, I will start by giving you an introduction to my Paraguayan life. I reside in the small city of Luque, which is on the outskirts of the capital city Asuncion. Cities in this region are known of the cities of Grand Asuncion. My family is small compared to an average Paraguayan family, containing my mother, father, older sister, younger brother, the family parrot Elmo and I. I also have an older brother, but he lives in a different city. I attend public school, use public transportation and do all my shopping locally. There is much more to my life in Paraguay, but I will save that for upcoming posts!