House Sitting in Paraguay

The Roman philosopher Seneca could’ve had our present three month stint house sitting in Paraguay in mind when he allegedly coined the phrase ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets op’

The only problem with that, though, is that there really wasn’t that much preparation involved.

Unless, that is, you consider preparation months of back and forth emails, a few small images spread across a German language website and trust in a total stranger.

Truth be told, even one month into this trip, the volleys of indecisive pros and cons flew. Because, when all was said and done, there were just so many uncertainties that the success of our prospective three month stay hinged upon.

Like I said, we’d seen some general photos but after more than our fair share of AirBnB and work exchange web site listings, you quickly learn to reign in your expectations till you actually step foot inside. And, again, this was not destined to be a mere weeklong stay. Three months, even under the best of circumstances, could be a long, long time.’d also discussed the possibility of filling our time with volunteer English teaching at a local school and, better still, been presented with the possibility of Kaia’s attending a ‘pre-scholar’ class. But as the term ‘possibility’ suggests, nothing would be written in stone. The fact we’d not heard a word back from the school director in question only added to the uncertainty.

Sometimes, though, you’ve just gotta believe.

Belief in the word of the property owner we’d been corresponding with; one whose pets, we rationalized, had nothing to gain by their owner dubiously luring in a family of three destined to become immediately disillusioned by their living arrangements.

But, also, a belief in the notion that a simple smile coupled with the willingness to just ‘put it out there’ is often all that’s really needed to set the wheels of something resembling adventure in motion.

So long as our living arrangements didn’t leave too much to be desired, we knew we stood a very good chance of being able to take care of the rest.

So it was with an immense internal sigh of relief when we’d finally set eyes on our home away from a‘home’—a ho, we immediately recognized as a nearly constant state of flux, at least compared to what we were suddenly being presented with.

There, on the outskirts of the town of Paraguari, snuggled up against the base of Cerro Tomas (which begged to be climbed from the first moment I saw it, even before I realized we’d be living in its very shadow), we’d stumbled on our own slice of the Garden of Eden.

Two plus acres of a walled in, compound like premise complete with various fruit trees including lemon, mango, banana, mandarin and paupau (papaya). And there amidst the secluded and well-maintained land sat four stone, solidly constructed living quarters of varying sizes and with the amenities to match; all of it being a convenient 20-3 minute walk away from town.

And topping it all off was plenty of wide open grassy space with strategically placed rocks and boulders to keep a rambunctious three year old occupied for large chunks of time.

No words would be spoken between myself and Bec as we took it all in while getting our owner guided tour of the property that first afternoon. Just one look at Bec’s face and the permagrin I could feel on my own, pretty much said it all. After months of varying degrees of surprise and, sometimes, disappointment, we’d hit the bull’s eye. And it felt good. good, in fact, we celebrated that night. By completely unpacking our bags. Then, things got really crazy… and we stored them out of sight under a bed.

Even so, in the midst of such unbridled revelry, I knew we weren’t out of the woods. Three months was a long time and, the fact was, a lot depended on a fateful meeting in two days at one of the area’s local schools.

How much or how little volunteer English teaching would we be doing? How much, if any, class would Kaia be able to participate in?
Room to Roam

They were not insignificant questions, I knew. But, if the place we were presently calling home was any indication—this, despite all the second guessing that went into its coming to fruition—something told me our good fortune would get us through.

Because sometimes, a little belief and the slightest hint of positive momentum is all the preparation you need.


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