I didn't know what Paraguay was until six years ago, when I met a Paraguayan boy in line for the cafeteria at EARTH University in Costa Rica. I was doing a semester abroad. He was explaining to me and another American student that Paraguay has two national languages - Spanish and Guaraní - but I couldn't understand what he was saying. Naturally, he turned out to be the love of my life and now here I am, living on a farm in rural Paraguay.
Rural Paraguay isn't exactly an American city girl's dream-come-true. In fact, most tourists seem to make a point of avoiding the landlocked country when visiting South America. Without a coastline or any major tourist attractions, it doesn't seem like a hot spot for a vacation. Lacking in a rugged, awe-inspiring landscape, Paraguay's charm lies in it's unique culture - and the sights, sounds, smells, and flavors therein. Maybe that's why the tourism department's slogan is "Tenés que sentirlo." With friendly people and good food, perhaps being dubbed the "Heart of South America" is more than just a reference to its geographical location.
Despite the natural ups and downs that come with adapting to life in another country, I'm determined to find fulfillment and happiness here. And for someone who loves food and saving the planet, nothing could be better that living on a farm and raising and growing food naturally. A lover of cooking and baking, I'm excited to learn to prepare Paraguay's traditional dishes and come up with my own fusion plates, something I'm dubbing "gringaguaya" cuisine. I'll also be attempting to discover the origins and histories of these unique dishes, perhaps uncovering secrets behind cherished American foods in the process.
I hope you'll join me on this adventure!