One year ago today Isaiah and I landed in Paraguay to embark on this journey that is Peace Corps. In fact, we just received word that the new group of Community Economic Volunteers (our sector) safely arrived in the country. There’s one new group of us each year. At this moment it is absolutely mind-boggling to think I’ve lived in Paraguay for 365 days, that the nieces and nephews that we said goodbye to are now 365 days older.
We’ll be back next week with our official 1-year reflections, but today I have another 1 year celebration to write about: the first birthday of our friends’ daughter, Lluvia. We celebrated with a big party last weekend, as first birthdays are a very important life event here in Paraguay.
Isaiah and I were honored to be asked by our friends, Lluvia’s parents, to help them prepare all the desserts for the party. They were expecting around 80 guests to the party (I told you it is a big event here!) so last Thursday afternoon into late evening we all baked away, whipping up many cakes, dozens of cupcakes, and a septupal batch of snickerdoodle cookie dough.
I optimistically volunteered to take the 7 batches of cookie dough home to bake them the next day. My strong husband carried quite a heavy tub of cookie dough back to our house that night and although I baked away Friday morning and afternoon, there was still more to do when we returned from round 2 of baking and decorating at Sanny and Igor’s house late Friday evening.
But I was stubborn and determined to fulfill my offer of baking the cookies, and by golly we did it.
The party on Saturday afternoon was quite an experience. It was the first 1st birthday party we had been to here in Paraguay and I don’t think either of us expected it to be so grand.
There was a bouncy house for the kids to play in. The fence around their yard was decorated with the pretty draping fabric that is found at all special events in Paraguay.
The dessert table was amazing. All our baked goodies were displayed among the Disney princesses which were the theme of the party.
Since we’re almost into our winter, it starts getting dark around 5pm but that made the firework candle on one of the birthday cakes all the more brilliant as we sang Happy Birthday to little Lluvia.
Each child guest was given a party favor that was more like a real present. I was amazed. All the adults got a key chain with a photo of Lluvia in it (Isaiah helped get those ready for printing) packaged in a sparkly little organza sack.
But the best part was probably after most of the guests had gone home and we could sit down and chat with Sanny, Igor and Lluvia. I think Isaiah and I were both feeling pretty cool to be on the “inside.” Or maybe it was the little glass Coke bottles that had us all tickled.
They even invited us to take part in her first baptism the next morning, followed by an asado or grill-out lunch at Sanny’s parent’s house.
It was an honor to be invited to a family only event and fun to witness Lluvia’s first baptism.
The food at lunch was delicious, the atmosphere was relaxed and celebratory and the whole weekend felt like a leap forward in our relationship with our new friends here in Paraguay, the place we’ve called home for the past one year.