Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back to Reality

I just got back from a vacation to the states for 2 1/2 weeks and it was an amazing time. It went by at lighting speed and I cant believe I am already back in my house in Fassardi writing another blog. This trip was extremely necessary and worthwhile. I was in desperate in need of time to relax and recuperate and feel a sense of normalcy. I got a fare share of all of these things while I was home.

Before I left on vacation I was having trouble sleeping for months which was affecting my motivation to work and my mood in general, I loathed the bitter winter cold nights, and was in need of a nice long reality check I thought the States could give me.

What I most needed from my trip home was sleep. I was finally able to sleep in a quite house,
in a big comfortable bed and feel totally unscathed. I cashed in on all the sleep I had
been missing out on for months and it was glorious.

Second, I needed food. I stuffed my face at every meal and enjoyed it all immensely. I am back
in Paraguay a few pounds heavier and a little bit healthier. I loved everything I ate, the first
meal I had to eat back in Paraguay was such a let down after 2 1/2 weeks of a feeding frenzy.

Next I indulged in all things I have missed from living in a poor, developing country for the past 14 1/2 months. I took hot, long showers twice a day, I drove with the music blasting, I went to the beach, I drank good beer, used high speed internet, and I watched a lot of TV in English.

I was over enjoyed to indulge myself in all of these things the first week I was back. Everything
was like a sensation overload. I didnt so much feel a sense of culture shock as I did a tremendous
wonder and enjoyment at being back home and feeling pampered for awhile. I loved being in a
clean home, having a pantry stocked full of healthy, good food. I marveled at how easy it was
to do my laundry with the washer and dryer! I loved being able to get in the car when I wanted and get an amazing amount of things done in such a short amount of time.
These were the things I loved. However, by the second week it was all seeming too normal again.
I was getting frustrated sitting in traffic and I was already taking for granted that our maid would wash my clothes for me on Friday. It was amazing how easily I could adapt back and not think twice about it.

But as the second week came to an end and I had visited the few friends I had left in San Diego and done everything I had set out to do on my vacation I realized I was feeling ready to come
back to Paraguay. I thought I wouldnt want to go back at all, that the US luxuries would be too enticing. But I realized that I have a life established for myself back in Paraguay, which is exactly
what I dont have anymore in San Diego. Once upon a time I had a wonderful life in San Diego.
I had a lot friends, a full social calendar, a challenging academic career, an apartment, a
roommate etc... Now most of those things are gone. There isn’t much remnants of my former
life in the States, and my trip reminded me that I am not in such hurry to get back.
My life is in Paraguay now. I have a boyfriend, a job, a house, a pet, and friends that are
all reside somewhere in Paraguay.

I am feeling rejuvenated now. I have a sense again of how I felt when I first got here 15 months
ago. I know I have the rest of my life to live the States and I shouldn’t be in any hurry to get back.
Also, it seemed almost a unanimous consensus from many of my friends and family who are working or struggling to find work in the down spiraling economy that life in the States is not all that awesome right now. Even from those who loved their jobs, they seemed to convey a sense that they all still had to experience that daily grind.
This really put a lot into perspective for me and it was what I got the most out of my trip home. I realized although I tend to complain about the inadequacies of life in Paraguay, that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. The States doesn't seem anymore appealing. When I weigh the pros and cons, I think I am living large in Paraguay. I may only make about 300 dollars a month, but I am rich in my daily life. I can get out of bed when I want, I can travel when I want, work when I want. Life isnt so bad here.
The day I left the States marked my one year anniversary in Fassardi, August 18th. Now that I have one year left and I can see the end of this journey I have finally stopped counting the number months I have been in country and started counting the number of months I have left. So now I have realized I better make these last 12 months count.

With this all said, the best part of being home was seeing all the people I have missed so much. Although, the time I got to spend with them was always way too short. I was really busy while I was home and didnt even have the chance to talk on the phone with some friends. But I am so grateful to all the friends and family I did get to see. I feel lucky to still have such good friends in my life. I loved to hear from everyone who are fans of my blog. It is encouraging to know that other people are actually reading besides my parents. So I am going to keep doing my best to update. I especially loved to hear from my friend Margie who validated my point when I told her Paraguay had made me dummer and she said she could tell because my blog had slowly become less verbose and a little less articulate, but that probably meant my Spanish was improving. I took it as a very honest compliment!

As my bus turned off the highway today into Fassardi, the first thought that crossed my mind, was 'Back to Reality'.
Then I thought, how strange that this place is now my reality, how awesome.


  1. Jen,
    Classic misspelling in "dummer" not "dumber." I love that, almost as good as your mother's recent mixed metaphor, as in "smoking like a fish," a combo of "smoking like a fiend" and "drinking like a fish." Maybe you had to be there, but it was also a classic, and you do have some of your mother in you.

  2. Jenna!!!

    I can't believe you came home and I wasn't even in SD this whole summer! Jesse and I are coming back this week and if your service in Paraguay is over and you decide to come back to dreadful but luxurious and pampered US life, please, count on us being here for you. Although, neither this economy nor our IR degrees are favorable for SD job market, IR/PS alumni contingency is growing in SD (Eric and James are back too).

    By the way, after last 4 months taking public transportation and air drying my laundry (and sometimes hand washing it), I am also really looking forward to being back home (opportunity to stuff my face with various ethnic food and frozen yogurt make it even better). This country really spoils us.