Saturday, November 27, 2010


I am quite thankful for the fact that, despite being halfway around the world, I can still celebrate Thanksgiving with great people. We had quite a feast at the Big House with roughly 12-15 people and lots and lots of food. The 22 pound turkey was delicious and we were all well-stuffed by the end of the day.

And now to make you all jealous - while those of you in the States are in the early stages of winter, I was enjoying a beautiful Thanksgiving day of sun and pool-related festivities. We have pool floaties...I'm just saying...

The picture is of one of our guests in a post-dinner food coma sprawl.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


So I suppose the true cliche is that the clown gets a pie in the face, but apparently cake was cheaper (and probably also more disgusting, especially when it gets in one's ears and nose.

I was a victim (albeit a willing one) of my junior's athletic prowess. The past week had been spirit week, with the class that had the most dressed up participants earning the right to throw a pie in the face of a teacher of their choice. Of course, knowing that my students would not win, I chose to spend the majority of the week trash talking and chiding them for their poor participation in spirit week. This was of course, before I realized that there were in fact four pies, the remaining three to be allocated based on the results of athletic competitions that, due to their size and experience, the upperclassmen have a distinct advantage. Thus, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my just desserts...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Post

So I realize that I am the world's worst blogger and that I have left you languishing for a month and a half, starved for news of my travels. Okay, I doubt that, but some of you have mentioned I haven't posted in a while. I have been really busy at school lately and I really haven't done much that I consider blog-worthy, so perhaps that has something to do with it. Still, I have a lot of good pictures from Halloween, so it would be a shame to let them go to waste.

First of all, there are two places in Paraguay that celebrate Halloween: Discos looking to exploit a holiday that emphasizes drunkenness and provocative dress in the 18-30 crowd and the American School of Asuncion. As a part of the later, I was one of a small contingent of people in this country searching for costumes and planning festivities. While I was prepping for my house Halloween party, the parents of ASA were turning campus into one giant halloween decoration. I have realized that there is no such thing as "low key" when ASA parents are involved. They had to postpone the after school festivities for the elementary kids this year due to rain, but there will be a parade of little kids in costume as well as some games run by the high schoolers after school on Monday.

The Big House, my place of residence, is the traditional host of the big non-school function halloween party (read: the fun party). This year being no different, we decked ourselves out (boys as pirates, girls as gypsies) and had a grand old time. If you're my facebook friend, I posted a lot of pictures that I think turned out pretty well, but otherwise I've included one here for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Livin' large

To be clear, I did not take this photo, but I found it appropriate given the content of the post.

As I become gradually introduced to the Paraguayan way of doing things, and more specifically, the ASA community's way of doing things, I find myself often surprised by how different a clientele I'm dealing with. For starters, my kids at Minnehaha were way around that, but in terms of influence and power, they've got nothing on the families at my current school. I can barely bring up a student without somebody telling me "oh yeah, that kid. His father owns half the Chaco."

Given these considerations, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that fundraising for school events is a little different here than in the States. When having this conversation with a couple of students before philosophy class today, one of them asked me, with a bemused tone, "what do they do in the States to raise money? A bake sale?" I was able to earnestly tell him, yes. This is how we raise money in the states. Our kids sell chocolate bars, wrapping paper, or even donuts. These are the sorts of things I had to do when I was in high school and the band wanted to go to Europe. So what do the most powerful families in the country do when they want to raise a little money?

They have a fashion show.

This is not a cheesy little fashion show that you see at your local park district where the local businesses donate a couple outfits to get some free advertising. I'm talking a big frickin' fashion show with designer labels, corporate sponsors and real models. Of course there are some elements that are a little less that professional. Some of the students serve as models, as, much to my amusement, do some of my fellow faculty (males, mostly - and before you, I didn't). This is held at the nicest hotel in Asuncion (the Sheraton pictured above) and draws members of the press and fashion community.

As a sponsor for the junior class, the host of this fashion show, I got the "honor" of getting to assist with the functioning of this evening. Basically, they needed a few adults around to watch the doors to the backstage and make sure guests found their seats and weren't sneaking into the VIP section...yes, there was a VIP section. The nice part about playing bouncer is that once the show starts and there is nary a soul left to bounce, I got to sit down in the VIP section. The benefit of being in the VIP section is that whilst enjoying the spectacle of people walking back and forth in outfits that can best be described as disco-hooker (how do you have a dress that is both leopard print AND shiny?) is that you get to partake in all the food and beverage that the waiters bring around. Will I enjoy a glass of champagne while I laugh at my colleagues who got suckered into model-dom? Why, yes I will.

If anything, this experience has taught me (for any Minnehaha folks reading this, that is an example of a reflective journaling sentence) that expectations are meant to be shattered. I expected rich kids...I didn't expect my kids to run the whole damn country. Oh, and I got to wear a fancy badge...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Caving into demands

So I have been informed by many a person that I am updating my blog far too infrequently. I warned you this would happen. I said that I may try to use it, but don't count on profound and frequent updates. But would you listen? No! Now in order to satisfy you jackals, I have to come up with something of interest to post.

I guess this is a good a time as any to post about some adaptations I'm having to make. Grocery shopping is one of the big ones. I have to say that without the help of my roommates, I may not have lived long enough to start school, because I would have starved. The worst part is not the names of products, but rather the completely haphazard layout of many of the stores. The grocery store closest to my house has no less than 10 different places in the store that they keep juice. Why on earth do you need 10 different places for juice? Is this an impulse buy down here, much like trashy magazines and candy are in the States? I think it might be just the store I go to, as I'm pretty sure that I remember the higher end grocery store I went to last week being a bit better organized.

The benefit of all of this is it truly does give me perspective regarding the experience of people who are non-native speakers of a language. I'm sure people here think I'm the biggest idiot in the world and I should just learn to speak some goddamn Spanish.

I try to have a picture with every post, but there's no logical picture to go with this I'm just going to put up a picture of a gecko. It's my blog, I can do what I want.

Monday, August 23, 2010

80's party

So I realize I've been remiss in posting for the last few weeks (which you ought to get used to, seeing as I can be forgetful about such things). As such, as a peace offering to all the folks who miss me, I shall post pictures of me dressing in quite the ridiculous manner.

This is also a good time to introduce you to my roommates, who are quite awesome. You will recognize your's truly in the middle, hiding my extreme tallness by kneeling down. Moving from left to right you have Jac(queline), Guille, Amy, Kathryn, Lorenzo, Danielle and Kagan.

I truly can say that I hit the jackpot with roommates as these are some great people. And you know I mean that because of the very low likelihood that one of them actually will read this blog. Let's be honest, if my roommate told me "Hey, I've got a blog," I'd probably only read it once out of courtesy and then never look at it again. Anyways, now all of you back home know that I'm not living with a bunch of crazies...or if I am, at least not the dangerous crazy sort.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Asa-do's and don'ts

So last night was my first experience cooking with an asado grill. While delicious, I have to overcome a few cultural differences in grilling. Apparently, asado is all about patience - American grilling is all about ruthless, massive-plume-of-fire efficiency. I'm getting used to different ideas of coal management but the outcome was delicious. In truth, I only marginally helped, but next time I hope to take a more active role in the grill experience. Oh...and Chorizo rules.