Monday, November 26, 2007

First Impressions of Paraguay

A quick update:

One of my first impressions is that the Paraguayan people are very friendly! Even while waiting for our flight from Brazil to Asuncion, we had already made friends with many of the Paraguayan people on the flight.

The country is very poor, but the people don't seem to complain. I was saddened while in the grocery store to see all the foods available here: sugar, milk, eggs, beans, meats... things that are very scarce in oil rich Venezuela but are abundant here in Paraguay!

Also, the absence of armed soldiers and the fact that the few police I have seen, only carry hand guns and do not need to wear bullet proof vests. Venezuela is so militarized!!! Even though we are nearing an upcoming presidential election here in Paraguay, there are billboards of several different candidates. Not just one RED party! NO billboards of President Nicanor plastered every 100 meters as is the case with Chavez in Venezuela.

The Paraguayans also speak a Spanish very different than what I am used to !!!

"Y vos sos?" What is that!!!!! Add to that all the guarani words sprinkled through out ,and I am often lost! My grand daughter raises her arms to me and says, "UPA!" (oopah!) which means, pick me up!! Whou'ld a known?!?!? My husband went out to buy us a dinner. He came back with "lomitos" which is a cut of meat in Venezuela, but apparently here it is a sandwich. They asked him of he wanted it "completo" so he said, "Sure!" That seems to mean that the sandwich comes with french fries??? Maybe??? The sandwich was delicious. A steak burger with ham, cheese, a fried egg, lettuce and tomato. No complaints!

And of course the terere and mate.

I also noticed as we drove to another town, that the Paraguayans keep their patios (yards) very neat! Even the most humble of homes will have a neat patio with inviting chairs to sit at and share drinking terere. Very friendly. I really like that.

Also, the young people call their elders, "Tio" or "Tia" (Uncle or Aunt) this reminds me so much of the Ye'kwana culture where everyone is your Uncle or Aunt as well. I wonder if it is carried over from the Guarani culture?

Also, in stark contrast to Venezuela, here we have seen a few christian schools that even use American curriculum such as aBeka and ACE! Very different then the situation regarding the education laws of Venezuela.

They also LOVE soccer. On the flight from Brazil, the pilot kept us informed of each goal made by Paraguay against Chile. Paraguay won!! I am excited to be able to live in a country with a team that always classifies for the World Cup. Sorry, Vino Tinto:( But, I will miss Venezuelan baseball!!)

Tomorrow we will be driving around the area where we will possibly be planting a church upon our arrival next year. I am very excited about that!

I am enjoying getting to know a little more about my new home!!!

:) The ice cream is really good!!!
:( But I will miss arepas, cachapas,chicha, hallacas,pan de jamon....


Liz said...

Well, at first you almost made me cry. I'm happy for you... but at the end you wrote a sentence that reminds me how venezuelan your tastes are!!!

Pan de jamon, you'll bake it yourself. No worries there. And most probably there's some kind of cornmeal to make arepas. Hallacas will be very difficult to make ;( sorry. But cachapas, Rita I think there's plenty of fresh corn and cheese down there.

You'll be just fine!!! with lots of steaks too :D

Susan said...

I'm so glad you are going to a place where you can relax and breathe easier! And you'll be closer to your grandbabies, too.

We had a missionary here yesterday going to Thailand. On their survey trip, they found out that their son's name, Wayne, can be a curse word in their culture, depending on the accent used in pronouncing it. The native people were asking the veteran missionaries there WHY the white people had named their child a curse word!

Rebecca said...

It's exciting being in a new place isn't it? I look forward to reading more about what will be your new home.

redneck preacher said...

Do they have tapar for Thanksgiving feast there?

Praise the Lord. We will pray for fruit for your ministry and that you can shift gears for your language needs.


Michael said...

The country is very poor, but the people don't seem to complain. I was saddened while in the grocery store to see all the foods available here: sugar, milk, eggs, beans, meats... things that are very scarce in oil rich Venezuela but are abundant here in Paraguay!

Sounds like the Paraguayans have their priorities right.

Have a safe, and fun, trip.

Penless Thoughts said...

So happy to hear you are THERE!! We use to have a preacher that preached on Are you at your there?

The Hermit said...

There's a paraguayan cafe in the town where I work. The people there are very nice folks, really relaxed and friendly. Maybe that's a national trait.

Brooke said...

Congrats, and good luck!

Farmer John said...

Y vos sos?

Formal vs familiar. Interesting. Perhaps thou willst enjoy it more once thou becomest more "master"full in the application of its' subtleties

Jungle Mom said...

liz, Para q sepas, Hoy hicimos arepas pero aqui no hay un queso blanco bueno. Mi esposo experimento con uno. echando sal y un poco de crema hasta q quedo "mas o menos" bien.

Jungle Mom said...

farmer john,
the weird part, is they use it as a singular second person. In place of the "tu" form. They use "Uds." and not vosotros in the plural form. I can't find a singular "VOS" in any conjugation book.
"Vos tenes hambre?" o "Vos queres ir?"

Sarah Joy said...

Interesting language differences! Have fun with those grandbabies!!!

Liz said...

Ay Rita, my venezuelan friends in the US and Canada, always complain about not having 'queso blanco' ;(
But Jackie makes a good cheese from yogurt, add some salt and it's very good!!

I'm so happy for you!!!

PS.- we also say 'upa' here... my mom used to say that the word is an anglicism; from 'up'. Isn't it funny?

Julie's Jewels said...

I'm glad you have made it to Paraguay and that you are enjoying it there. Is it much different? I'm glad y'all are doing well. Love you!!

Liz said...

Sorry to comment, again...

Rita the 'vos' used in the southern latinamerican countries is something typical (autóctono pues) of them.

If I'm not mistaken, those conjugations are not approved by the 'Real Academia de la Lengua Española'. They even have different spelling and accentuation (tenés: tienes, sabés: sabes, sos: eres, etc). But it is a very cute way of speaking.

Spanish is already a difficult language!! And now you'll have to learn more tricks!!

I do a pretty good argentinian accent (and mexican, colombian, cuban, hehehe) I think I'd loose my venezuelan accent pretty fast down there!!!

groovyoldlady said...

Thanks for sharing your insights with those of who use English like "Ayuh and theah and cah."

pink&blackjunglebunny said...

I agree, Mom. I LOVE this place!
People, I need comments. I have posed three times and not ONE SINGLE COMMENT!!

Paraguay is great. It is so nice to be rid of the "VOTA NO!!" signs that are all over the place in Venezuela.
Great place, Paraguay. So calm.


Webutante said...

Grand adventure, Rita. Have fun getting to know your new grand baby and your new country!

Gringo said...

Paraguay, like Argentina, much of Bolivia, Maracaibo, and much of Central America, uses the archaic "vos" instead of "tú." The backwaters of the Spanish Empire, off the main trade routes, maintained the archaic vos instead of adopting the more modern tú.

Further evidence of the ancient roots of vos can be seen in the Christmas Carol “Adeste Fideles” (O Come All Ye Faithful) . “Venite adoremus” is in Latin. If you say “Venite” in Paraguay or Argentina, people will understand you, though they would be more likely to simply say “Vení.”

While I learned tú in school, most of the places I worked in the oilfield in Latin America spoke vos. I much prefer vos to tú. It sounds better to me; more musical. As such it goes very well with the Italian-style cantante Argentine accent. Vos generally has fewer irregular verbs than tú, so it is not difficult to learn. Whenever I meet a vos speaker in the US, I am so happy to speak vos instead of tú. My guess is that in 6 months you will also prefer vos.

What is your opinion of Sopa Paraguaya, a.k.a. cornbread?

It is certainly ironic that Paraguay, poorer than Venezuela, does not have the food shortages of Venezuela. Such are price controls, no?

I have spent little time in Paraguay, but have also found Paraguayans to be most hospitable. My father did fieldwork in Paraguay for a number of years, and loved the place. Coincidentally, after my parents died, I was going through some of my father’s papers, and was reading some correspondence to my father from an American friend living in Paraguay on how to get through Customs. After finishing reading the letter, I turned on the radio. The first thing I heard on the radio was, “ Stroessner deposed in a coup in Paraguay.” Strange coincidence, no?

Gringo said...

Do you need any instruction/rules for constructing vos verbs ?

Jungle Mom said...

gringo, Sure!!! Any help is welcome! Nice to have your comments.

Bob said...

Thank you for sharing all these facts about Paraguay, about which I know nothing! And I love the way you compare to Venezuela.

Pam said...

This certainly makes me want to fly down for a visit!
The Tia and Tio thing is prominent in Mexico as well. All of my husband's friend's kids and all his cousins call me TIA! I love it!

MK said...

Sounds like a real adventure JM, hope it goes real well and you settle in quickly.

Judith said...

I love this post. It so reflects God's love shown through you. I'll be praying for what He has called you and your family to do.

Caraqueña said...

I love that vos/veni thing! I had a roommate in college who was an mk from Argentina...loved hearing her speak Spanish! It wasn't on this post, but I loved your comparison to "loving again" to having different children, and loving them all very much but in a different way. That is exactly how I feel right now...missing Venezuela (and grieving too), but looking forward to the future too! Haven't shared THAT in a post yet...