Saturday, July 9, 2011

Independence Day Mini-break

Fourth of July weekend fell right smack in the middle of training and we found ourselves with a three day weekend.  On Saturday, also our 5th wedding anniversary, we headed into the capital with the rest of the aspirantes for an old fashioned Independence Day BBQ at the US embassy.  The party had typical American summer food (no watermelon, but Kraft-style American cheese singles), games (tug-o-war, three-legged races, etc), and beer served by Marines. 

In total, this was a super weird party.  The American stuff was way over the top, but most of us were in the mood for some hokey sweet land of liberty action.  Please don’t judge- we’ve eaten a lot of mandioca and most of us would probably agree to awful things for a Jimmy John’s BLT or a soft chocolate chip cookie.  (What?  Never heard of mandioca?  Don’t feel bad, none of us did either.  It reminds me of a uber-fibrous potato and Paraguayans serve it with every meal.  Seriously, every meal.)

The soundtrack for the day consisted exclusively of songs containing the words “America” or “USA”.  I sighed relief when someone had the sense to keep the day from getting too ironic and turn off “Born in the USA” during the introduction, but I heard Miley Cyrus “Party in the USA” probably 7 times.  Not many songs included the required vocabulary so the playlist was short.  Props for including Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner, ” though poor form for five times.

Just when you would start to forget what continent hosted the party, a peacock would walk by and someone would start a story about how their dog responds to mba’éichapa.  (Guarani for “how are you?”)  Oh, and did I mention a handful of deer walk around the embassy grounds?  As wacky as culture shock gets, this party may have made certain differences even more pronounced.  Good times, friend, good times.

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