The Home Stretch

Four weeks to go here in Paraguari and, as we expected might be the case before arriving, the home stretch could be a long one. So much so, I’m tempted to say, we’re stuck in a Bill Murray-like, ‘Groundhog Day’ sort of existence.

But, then, that’s not exactly a fair comparison.

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Saturday evening sunsets with Ethan

Poor Murray (in case you missed the 1993 movie) resorted to everything to escape his cruel fate of being forced to relive the same day over and over with no escape. Onscreen attempts at self-demise involved trucks, cars, gravity and bathtubs as well as the others–confided to co-star Andie McDowell—involving being “stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned.”

I’m happy to report, we don’t have things as bad as ol’ Murray. Not by a long shot.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Paraguari has been pretty good to us. We’re not exactly holed up in a shanty and our routine hasn’t been what you’d call rough; we’re definitely not breaking rocks in the hot sun.

Even so, two months landlocked in a sleepy place such as Paraguari can start getting a bit repetitive and, that said, just like poor old Billy, we can set our watches to some of the sights around here.

  • Julio Caesar and his wife set up outside the Heroes del Chaco Plaza with their big smiles and delicious mobile food cart…
  • A plethora of friendly, Kaia-directed waves and greetings from the same driveways, windows and front porches each afternoon…
  • Vivi, the ice cream girl who Kaia insists on ‘sneaking’ up behind and ‘scaring’…

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    Julio the Empanada Man
  • Or, the emaciated, mate drinking simpleton who, from his white plastic chair, stares at us from behind highway patrolman shades…

There are others, of course. But I think you get the picture.

Most importantly, though, Kaia is still loving her school and her friends and spends most days with mom accompanying her in class for 30 minutes or less and Kaia’s Spanish vocabulary continues to grow. Conversing for mom and dad, while far from effortless, is improving and we’re such roadside regulars now that our morning and afternoon walks occasionally see us picked up by one or two familiar faces. We even have what you’d call friends; the kind it will be hard to say adios to.

I guess you could say it could be a lot worse. And for Murray’s character, it was, since, unlike us, he didn’t have the benefit of being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

For us, this is definitely not the case. And that, in poor Paraguari’s defence, is the problem.

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Vivi, the ice cream gal

No, the light for us is in plain sight and getting bigger every day. A light beckoning on the other side of the country’s Chaco region in the form of Bolivia. Bolivia and, by all accounts, what should be an amazing work exchange setting on the outskirts of La Paz. A work stint and, then, barring any major surprises, stops at Lake Titicaca and not long after, Machu Picchu in southeast Peru and…

And, well…well, it’s probably best we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves. Let’s just say, a lot of magical sights await and giving in to the ‘grass is greener’ thinking at this point won’t help the situation in the least.

As for Kaia, bless her little self, she’s got her own priorities. This point being made abundantly clear this past Friday afternoon as we greeted her and her classmates as they were released to their parents at the school’s front gate. It’s been a process that has always included unbridled smiles once coming into view from around the corner, followed by huge hugs and kisses once turned loose by their teacher.

But not this Friday.

No, on this day momma would be suddenly left hanging in the hugs and kisses department as she lowered herself

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Our Man Martin

with her arms wide open to greet our daughter. But it was not to be.

Because, stopped in her tracks with a strange, perplexed look of concern registering on her little face, we were suddenly invisible. Kaia’s attention was focused elsewhere. This being over the shoulder of her mother, towards the street and nothing much else in particular.

Which was exactly the point, apparently, as moments later, a single question by Kaia revealed all.

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One of many friendly neighbors

“Where’s the popcorn man?”

They’d be five words that suggested mom and dad aren’t the only ones that may have settled in a bit too much for their own good.

And five words that prove that, be it ‘Groundhog Day’s Punxsutawney, PA or our own Paraguayan homestead, enough is sometimes enough.

And never more so than when so much looms so large, just over the horizon.

 

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