Since this blog is titled 'La vida Mia', I think it's only appropriate that I start out my stay here with a little bit about my new life.
First- my city: Formosa, Argentina. Argentina has 23 provinces equivalent to our states, and the city I am living in is the Capital of the province of Formosa. It is situated in the very north of Argentina, separated from Paraguay only by the natural border of the lovely Rio Paraguay. Apparently it has a population around 200,000- but it definitely doesn't feel that big, not even to a small-town-Minnesotan girl like myself. The center of the city has parks and plazas, an awesome center lined with cafes, little shopping stores, and street vendors selling unique bracelets and bowls. Palm trees line the medians and walking paths where children still dressed in their uniforms gather. At night the city really comes to life; cars and mottos weave through the streets, the rhythm of Spanish music echoes from every direction and out in the harbor you can see the lights of boats mirrored in the river. Oh, and as far as the weather goes down here- if you scroll down to the very bottom you can get a daily weather update.
Second- the people. Three words- I. Love. Argentineans! In my short stay here I've come to realize that being introduced to people down here is comparable to watching dogs get to know each other at a dog park. Now with that I don't mean that we go around sniffing peoples' butts all day- but that you meet someone once and you treat them as if you have been friends for life. Every introduction is followed by a kiss on both cheeks with hardly any exception. Last night I had my first Rotary meeting and was quickly told that there are 21 members of that Rotary club, meaning I had just made 21 friends in which I could call upon if ever I need anything. This is a very welcoming, open culture, and while I'm still living in a city and will still always need to be careful who I talk to/where I go at night/etc, it feels great being apart of a club that will protect me and include me in such a way.
Finally- that brings me to my family, the Cejas. Made up of my host dad, Vito, host mom, Graciela, and host sisters Gabi (24) and Milagros (18). I'm still picking up the quirks and unique personalities of each person but they again can be summed up in the paragraph above- welcoming, loving, and fun. They all like to laugh and to tease each other and myself, they take siesta time seriously, and they love to eat. (Which, by the way, the food here is delicious. All of it is so filling, and everyone is sure that I'm never eating enough but I have yet to try something that I have really detested.)
Milagros is leaving the 21st for her Rotary year in Germany, along with another boy named Leandro Caballero- whose family is going to host me after 4 months with the Cejas. Apparently the Caballeros are hosting another boy from Waterloo, IA first and then we are going to swap. I've met Leandro's family twice now and they seem incredibly nice, plus he has a younger brother who is 10 and seems like a party. I'm a little fuzzy on why but apparently we are going to try take 2 at getting me into Asuncion, Paraguay on Friday to explore a bit before dropping off Milagros and Leandro on Saturday... so cross your fingers for me, and if you don't hear from me here for a while, I'm probably just camping out in some abandoned airport terminal again ;).
Till then, chao- and enjoy some pictures of my first few days in Formosa!