Did someone speed up the world?

These past three weeks have been CRAAAAZZZYYYY busy, and have absolutely FLOWN by. But that's totally cool because it means that I'm provechando-ing the last of my time here. Good deal.

This past weekend was that of my birthday! (yay.) Not at all really an exciting even, since the only thing my host family did for me was say 'Felicidades Hannah!'. I really wasn't expecting anything though. Things are tight money-wise in my house right now, so when mi abuela tipped her glass of Brahma to me and gave me a huge hug, I counted it as one of the best presents ever gotten. That or being tackled by a pile of my smallish cousins :)
Other than that, my friends Emerson and Sam bought me lunch at a restaurant here that's pretty much stapled into the culture - Lido Bar. I was running late (as usual) and my boyfriends took advantage of my not-there-ness and got the whole place to sing to me as I showed up. Pretty classy, except for the fact that I blushed tomato-red and almost tripped over my seat. The rest of the day consisted of Emerson and Sam arguing on who should pay for me, since it was my birthday and all. Definately not a day I'm going to forget though. It was a great memory to add to the Paraguay pile.

The weekend before that, we had our last AFS camp. Pretty much sad in every way, because I've truely met some incredible people this year and made some awesome friends. I noticed almost immeditately that once we got there, people clumped up into their own countries. So I was just like 'Screw this, it's an intercultural exchange, I'll hang out with everyone.' - and I did just that. It takes alot of energy to be friends/hang out with more than 70 people, but I managed. Needless to say though, I was wiped by the time it was over. Other highlights of the camp included ultimate frisbee in a tennis court (net included), tastesless, monotonous food, fancy german chocolate, dancy dirty/having a nightclub experience in the bus ride home, and dressing like Rambo. Pretty good, I think.

Two weekends ago (which seems like such a long time, considering how much time I actually have left) was the chaco trip. I went sin-amigos (without the two people who are almost always with me, Zan and Emerson) and so everyone who was there got to expierience just me. It's hard to explain, because I missed my two buddies, but I'm glad they weren't there, because I got to hang out with alot of more people as a result. Just like in our AFS camp, everyone broke up into their country groups, so I summoned up an incredible amount of energy and ran circles (literally) around everyone. I was affectionately referred to as 'la loca' because of my insane energy and desire to hang out with everyone. Highlights of that trip included an hour-long game of ultimate (dodging piles of poo), gaining an unofficial hijo (from germany), the texas chainsaw massicure, Europe appearing in the middle of nowhere, poker, German people, more German people, and learning the word for 'armadillo' in German, and playing with dead stuffed animals. Classy.

But back to the present/future....
These last few days are filled with going to school and exploring what left of the country I haven't already seen. This includes a train ride, a depressed hippo, buying a machete, pretty waterfalls, and lots of milla cocas.

Whew, long post. I promise to post pictures as soon as I can access fast internet that doesn't give me a brain aneurysm.
See you all soon!

counting down.

With the days numbering, I just can't help but think about what time is left and what to do with it.

My latest host family is amazing. After being with these people for just over a month, we have finally started being comfortable with each other - learning the other's quirks and how to live together - and I'm glad to know that i finally, FINALLY, have a paraguayan family. I've been told repeatedly that I'm going to be missed when gone, and even though I've promised to call when home, I know that I'm most definately going to be leaving a piece of me behind with these people, in this place. Weird.

My feelings can be summed up rather simply. (These words are stolen from a text zan sent me...sorry.)
''The thing is, I hate leaving people but I'm addicted to travelling around. That makes no sense...''
But life rarely does. Who knew that I'd figure that out here.

But anyhoo, even though I'm leaving so soon, I'm finally settling down here-

My daily routine is that exactly - a routine. After five months of summer vacation and not knowing what I was going to do that day until that morning, having a daily way to go about my business is kind of weird, but just a reminder of how it'll be once I'm home. I wake up at five every morning and hop onto the bus half-asleep to school, which takes an hour. I always am plugged in, listening to Frankenpod (thanks again, daddy!) and snooze my way through the ride. I always get off the bus early so I can walk a little bit and wake up, in fear of getting hit on the head by a number of objects if I'm found sleeping in class. (Known from experiance..haha)
My school day is somewhat boring - now that Im no longer a hot commodity being new and all, my companeros have fallen in step with me. I still get greeted in the halls by random strangers (''hola hannah montana!!!'') and I'm still friends with all of the teachers. Overall, life is good.
It's just weird to think that I only have a month left of this.

This coming weekend I'm going to el chaco on an AFS trip (i'm the only american going, so it's basically just me, serkan (from turkey) and about 30 germans. Fun fun fun, since they all call me 'nazi'... we'll see how that goes.)
Once I get home from this marvoulous adventure I will surely post pictures and talk all about it.

Next weekend is our final AFS campamento - it's all based on going home, and how to deal with what you're going to see/feel/expieance. That's hard to think about - going home. As much as i miss being home and the people there, and sometimes even fantasize about how being home is actually going to be, I know iIcan't actually imagine it.
I officially fly out of Paraguay on July 8th at 18:00, and after a couple hours of layover in Buenos Aires I'll hop on good ol American Airlines and touch down in Miami around 6.00. Whoa. After a few hours of customs, I hop on another plane, and then i'll be in o'hare by 11, where the smiling faces of my family (and a Zan! will be waiting for me just beyond security, or at baggage claim, maybe. Double whoa.

But back to paraguay.
The next next weekend is that of my birthday(!) where there are many plans, but none set in stone... they range from having a huge asado at my house to heading back to my first house here in Paraguay (that of the Perez family, not sure how I feel about that) and partying it up with Jorge and a few of my friends. We'll see though. a very paraguayan thing to do is not plan, and then come up with what you're going to do at the very last second, and I'm pretty srue that is what's going to happen.

After that, I'll have just over 20 days left in Paraguay. It's very hard to believe - all year I've had this feeling that my time here is never going to end. I've known how much time is left since the plane first touched down, and now, that I've finally stopped counting and focusing on missing home, I'm truely enjoying my time here.
That, and the fact that many of my friends have started heading home has kind of slapped me back into the reality of my situation.

The move. [(Again again.)]

So hopefully third time's a charm, eh?

As of tomorrow, I'm going to be moving to my newest residence in Paraguay con la familia Diaz...a family so close and intricated that I had some trouble keeping up with who's who the first few days. But all's well, because for the first time in Paraguay, I'm a part of a family. A living, breathing, included, part. I never get left behind in the dust or ignored like I did with my first couple famlies.

So the story goes like this:

About a month ago, my second host family and I decided it best if I go ahead and move out - I didn't want to be there, and they didn't want me there. I'm not going to badmouth them or anything. It just didn't work out...again.
In between all of this family chaos and another trip to the hospital I continued with my schooling..(of course.) But this past month was filled to the brim with tests (which I don't do) so I decided to explore my school. And just like at home, I'm friends with most of the staff (especially the office lady) because I'm justsodarnedcute and charming. =]
So after hearing the tale of my then current wearabouts, the school secretary, Bettina, offered her house to me for Semana Santa. (Holy Week, a time where the country shuts down and you spend all your time with your family, and since my family and I weren't on the best of terms, I packed up and headed right to Bettina's house.)
I was immediately swept up in the meaning of a true Paraguayan family. Betty and her family live seperately from the rest, but close, and see the extended family almost every day.

Her sister, Paty, is my new host mom. Paty has three boys (16, 8, and 6) who are my host brothers. Mis abuelos live with mi tia Cynthia and her daughter Sol. My grandma (we call her Tata) basically runs the show, and feeds us all. So I'm technically living with Paty, but eating at Tata's, which is just fine with me. Tata is a great cook. =]
I've basically gone from having no family at all to actually having one...not just a place to sleep in but a real family. A real real family. I don't think I'll ever want to leave.