“Today is a good day to have a good da.” -someone whose words are now all over Pinterest.
I realize I never really told y’all what I actually do…so here’s what a good day looks like.
5:45 a.m. — The sun wakes me up. I say no thanks and go back to sleep.
7:05 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I say no thanks and press snooze.
7:15 a.m. — My alarm goes off again. I say ok ok I get it and get out of bed.
7:17: a.m. — Is it really already 85 degrees? That doesn’t bode well for the day. I might melt. I pour myself a glass of cold brew coffee and bring my book out to the porch to say hello as the kids who are late to school walk by. Warm mornings remind me of summer camp, when we all got there kind of early to drink our coffee together and secretly plot how to get Adam yet another Melon Head. It’s the kind of warm that promises a toasty afternoon but the morning is so pleasant you can’t help but bask in the sunshine and let it melt the ice in your coffee. These mornings make me homesick for summer in California. But maybe someday they will make me homesick for Paraguay. Who knows.
8:00 a.m. — decision making time. Do I run now, before it gets too hot, or wait until sunset? I decide to run now because there are a lot of people out during sunset and I like to pretend I’m invisible / hope that no one sees my abysmal attempt at running
8:15 a.m. — slather my body in sunscreen and hope it doesn’t all melt off with sweat while I run. Press play on “This American Life” and set out trottin’. Ira Glass is talking about getting thrown into the deep end of the pool, literally and figuratively. Naturally my mind goes to the pool, jumping into Grammy’s pool when I was four — my parents’ discovery that I was a mermaid. Being pushed off my first starting block because I was scared to do a real start. 500s at practice. How is it that my body did that every day for ten years but now I am jogging at a snail’s pace and contemplating death? Make a vow to swim every day when I get home, get those ripply back muscles back. Zone back in on the podcast…have no idea what’s going on. Wave like a lunatic to a group of kids who are trying to catch frogs in the creek.
9:00 a.m. — Overshoot my house on purpose so I can say hello to one of my favorite families. Mama Cristina is working in her garden. Our normal banter ensues:
Mama Cristina: HOOOOLA HAAAAAANNAH! QUE GUAPA!! (she has a big voice, the kind that is necessary when you raised four sons)
Me: Holaaaa gracias!
Mama Cristina: You look skinnier! Are you in love? Do you want some beets? How about tomatoes? Cilantro? (she hands me veggies she she points them out. She’s never really waited for my answer.)
Me: Wow thanks!
MC: Ok now go take a shower, you stink, then come back and drink terere with me.
Me: ok byeeeeee
9:45 a.m. — Awkwardly do cool-down yoga on my patio while passersby stare at me.
10:15 a.m. — Take a cold shower because that is the only option.
10:30 a.m. — Call Kaitlyn. Listen to her gush about her recent vacation. Feel no FOMO. This is weird, I think to myself, had this been a conversation in the states a year and a half ago, I would have felt jealousy bubbling up in my soul. My friends went on an amazing trip without me and I couldn’t go! Que pena! But instead I’m blissed out just hearing how happy Kait is. If you let the FOMO get to you out here in the campo, you’d never be happy. And it feels good to be happy for other people’s happy.
11:30 a.m. — Cross the street for terere with the host family. Auxi and I are wearing the same shirt. That’s embarrassing but kinda cute. Abuela is shelling beans, which she has been doing for three days. I offer to help but she swats my hand away telling me it calms her nerves. I don’t know what Abuela has to be nervous about but I say ok and sip the terere Auxi hands me. She put leaves from the lemon tree in the water, and it has that peppery after taste I’ve come to love.
12:30 p.m. — Speedily inhale whatever Abuela made for lunch…wonder why Abue has been cooking lately because we always complain about how her cooking gives us diarrhea. Maybe I should start cooking my own lunches? I’m too broke for that. Remember that I have to pay rent this weekend.
1:00 p.m. — Slather myself in sunscreen, hop on my bike and head to the school.
1:05 p.m. — Regret what I ate for lunch.
1:10 p.m. — Arrive at the school. I’m greeted by middle schoolers running toward me shouting PROFE HANNAH! PROFE HANNAH! One stops to hug my sweaty self. “we’re so happy you’re here!! What are we talking about today??” Think about crying because this is literally what I dreamed about when coming to Peace Corps — kids stoked to learn with me.
1:30 p.m. — Finally quiet the masses and start teaching. Today’s class is about sex and gender. Spend 10 minutes explaining that we’re not talking about sexual intercourse but biological sex. Like male or female. So like man and woman? No. So like masculine and feminine? Nope… My favorite profe comes in and explains it in Guarani. “OHHHHHHHH” the whole class says. Now they get it. Except for that one kid in the corner who is too busy making paper cranes.
1:45 p.m. — Single out paper crane kid and make him summarize what I just said. Watch his face go from calm/cool/collected to potentially going to pee his pants. I sure showed you, crane boy.
2:30 p.m. — Leave class. I think they got it? I can never really tell if they’re just indulging me or if they actually get it. Slather myself in sunscreen and hop on my bike.
3:00 p.m. — Get home.
3:01 p.m. — Make popcorn
3:02 p.m. — Start personal statements
3:10 p.m. — Fall asleep staring at the same sentence I’ve been trying to rephrase since yesterday.
4:15 p.m. — Wake up to being attacked by mosquitoes.
4:30 p.m. — Cross the street to help Lorena make empanadas and listen to her gossip. “This is just between you and me but…” she always starts. Paraguayan women are like hairdressers in the states. They know all the secrets and they share all the secrets. She asks me what my secrets are. She knows I have none. Asks me for the umpteenth time if the male volunteer who visited last weekend is my boyfriend. Tell her no for the umpteenth time. Roll my eyes. She doesn’t believe me.
5:00 p.m. — Call Kaitlyn again. Tell her all about paper crane boy and what I ate for lunch. She listens and responds like I’m telling her I won the lottery.
6:30 p.m. — Throw whatever vegetables I have in the pan. Crack an egg.
7:30 p.m. — It’s dark. Time for bed. Put on Parks and Rec and watch until I fall asleep.