¡Buenas de Paraguay!
For those of you who don’t know me, I am currently a senior at IUE studying for 2 months in Paraguay in South America. Paraguay has an interesting cultural difference in comparison most of the world for one very important reason: there is a blended culture with both the Spanish and Guaraní (indigenous of the area) languages—both of which are officially classified as the official languages of the country.
During my stay here, the first question most people ask me is, “Why Paraguay?” (not to mention most people in the USA asked me “Where is that?”) To be perfectly honest, my initial decision to research the country was simply because I thought the proper pronunciation of the word “Paraguay” sounded cool. Sometimes the best outcomes come from crazy beginnings! :)
Continuing my desire to learn more about the country, I did a MySpace search for people living in Paraguay and quickly started communicating with a Paraguayan girl my own age, Susi, which soon turned into a friendship so close, we refer to each other as “hermanas” (sisters). Having never traveled on my own before, it was extremely comforting to have a friend waiting for me at the airport in Asunción, Paraguay.
Now that I have skimmed over the reasons why I am here, let me tell you a little about what exactly I have been doing. For the first 3 days, I stayed with Susi at her house in Villarrica. I love it there!The people are so welcoming and encouraging, it is awesome. We walked all around the town and I had my first taste of the Paraguayan ice cream.The milk here has a completely different flavor and this affects the tastes of many things including the ice cream.
During our walks, I was also introduced to this place where an old fountain is located. It is said that anyone who drinks from that fountain will always return to Villarrica. It is also a symbolic place for lovers to go. Had it not been for the warnings of unsanitary consequences, I totally would have drunk out of that fountain!
The Paraguayan food is another thing that is soooo awesome! Even if you don’t understand a word that is said in Paraguay, if you are ever anywhere near the country, you must buy some “chipa!” It is basically a type of cheesy bread but is not as simple to make as it sounds (I have tried a kind of US version that has proved to be really popular, but it is nowhere near as delicious “rica” as chipa paraguaya). It has a hard outer layer and resembles the appearance of a bagel with a warm, soft, gooey inner side. Just talking about it makes me want to go out and buy some more!
You know, that’s not a bad idea!