Sunday, November 18, 2012

Celebrations of Love and a Life Well Lived

Holy cow, I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted. Time is flying by even faster than usual now that I'm down to 16 days left (I leave Paraguay on December 4th and my flight back to Albuquerque via Buenos Aires leaves the 6th). YIKES!!! Since I got back from the Encuentro Latinoamericano I've been busy preparing going away gifts, doing a little cleaning and decluttering, but most importantly enjoying every minute I can in my ministries and with the great friends I've made here.

Last weekend Delma invited me to go with her to Pilar for her cousin's wedding. I was feeling a little stressed before going knowing that my weekends here are limited, andI feel like I have so much to do. But, like usual, I'm so glad I said yes. Pilar is about 4 hours away from Encarnacion by bus and a much smaller city. We stayed with her cousins, Mariela and Fredy, and I got my first experience of real Paraguayan living. They were so fun and welcoming, and I'm wishing them the best with their new family. They've been married about a year and are expecting their first baby girl in 2 months. It was great to meet all of Delma's family, although sometimes a little overwhelming since they speak Guarani A LOT (especially her aunt). I also got to meet my first American since I've been in Paraguay, Kari, a Peace Corp volunteer serving in the village where Delma's aunt and uncle live outside of Pilar. She's been here a little over a year and it was so fun to share experiences with her and speak in English (even though I'm already thinking about how much I'm going to miss Spanish when I leave).

The wedding and reception were beautiful and fun. It was very similar to a wedding in the States but there were some interesting cultural differences that were fun to see, too.

At Delma's aunt and uncle's house outside of Pilar.

Delma's cousin Mariela.

Kari, me & Mariela before the wedding.

We were planning on staying until Monday morning since the buses from Pilar to Encarnacion are limited, but when we learned that Madre Lucia, one of sisters living in Posadas, passed away we headed back early, and it was a miracle that we were able to make it. We arrived at the bus station at 2:20 in the afternoon to check to see if any buses were leaving later that day. The only one left at 2:30. In 10 MINUTES!! Luckily the bus company was understanding and waited for us to speed back to Delma's cousins' house to grab our bags and head out.

Even though I didn't spend that much time with the Madre Lucia, her passing away impacted me because in the short time that I did know her and in the stories I heard about her I know she was an amazing woman and changed a lot of people's lives just like me for the better. She spoke her mind, was a true Italian always making sure everyone had plenty to eat :) and based on her activeness and lively spirit you would never guess she was 80 years old. Saying goodbye to her really made me think of what an impact the Canossian sisters have made on my life and how much I'm going to miss being around them when I leave. Knowing them has changed my life for the better, and I will never forget what they've taught me. It wasn't all sad because we know that now she's in the best place she could be, and her faith and readiness to be with God was truly inspiring.