This year we’ve decided to reflect on things we don’t ordinarily say we’re thankful for around the table packed with savory food and our cherished family and friends. Not that we aren’t still thankful for friends and family—we are thankful for them most of all. But living in a different country and culture with access (or lack there of) to different amenities reveals a deep appreciation for certain frivolities that may have once been taken for granted. We know, too, that we will dearly miss certain aspects of our life in Paraguay once we have completed our service and returned back to the states. Here we highlight the little pleasures in life that we’re thankful for: five in Paraguay and five in the U. S. of A.
5 Things We’re Thankful for in the U.S.
- Air conditioning – There’s nothing quite like sweating for days on end to make one…not want to ever again.
- Window and door screens – During these hot & humid nights in Paraguay, it’s a tough decision between sweating profusely or only being a little sweaty by opening up the windows and inviting in a coolish breeze—along with all manner of creepy crawlies.
- Easy recycling – We very much look forward to the convenience of dropping off our recycling in any number of bins around our city instead of finding alternatives to burning or burying our trash in the backyard.
- Varied food options – We love chipa and sopa paraguaya as much as the next volunteer, but there is only so much cornmeal-based foods we can handle before jonesing for some spicy Asian or Mexican food.
- Yes meaning yes – Most Paraguayans we’ve met are fantastic folks, and they do not want to disappoint. This, however, comes at a price. If asked if they can do something and they can’t or don’t intend to follow through, they will still often say “yes” much to our chagrin.
5 Things We’re Thankful for in Paraguay
- Tereré – A cold, addictive beverage that make those unbearably hot summer days a little more tolerable and is a uniquely Paraguayan social activity between friends and family (or even total strangers!).
- Backyard fruit – When in season, we can simply traipse out to the patio, pluck a ripe juicy mango and enjoy. How cool is that!?
- Tiny visitors – Now that summer is getting into full swing, we’re leaving the doors open for a while in the evenings. Recently we’ve had several of the neighborhood cats poke their heads in including a couple that act like they own the joint. Although it can be a little annoying at times, it’s kinda sweet too.
- Schedule – When else in our lives are we going to have a schedule nearly entirely under our control as well as the opportunity to spend so much QT together?
- Our little planter of basil – Our few small basil plants makes all the difference in a dish. We especially love it since basil is so hard to come by otherwise.