Yesterday (July 30th) was “Día de la Amistad” (Friendship Day) here in Paraguay. And people really celebrate! When I walked in the office yesterday there were signs hanging up wishing everyone a great day, and everyone greeted me with big hugs and kisses and many thanks and congratulations for being a friend. It’s very sweet, actually!! Then, to start things off right, in the office we chose our Amigo Invisible (Invisible Friend) on Thursday afternoon, this is a game played much like the Secret Santa of the U.S. where everyone picks a name in secret, and no one knows who you have. Then you buy a gift you think they will like and have a big exchange with everyone. At the exchange, you have to try and describe the person’s personality and everyone else in the room guesses who it is. My Invisible Friend Fatima, who of course was not in the office yesterday to receive her gift 😦 (I bought her one of those zen Japanese sand gardens with the mini rake that I always find so addicting! Can’t believe they had it in Paraguay!) Francisco had me, who he described very eloquently as “People always say dog is man’s best friend. Well I am grateful to Negra for bringing a new friend to our office,” (or something equally sweet and funny!) And I love my little kids’ Panda backpack he got me!
We also decided to have a big Asado (BBQ) yesterday, with everyone pitching in 20,000 Gs (Guaranís – think 4,785 Gs = 1 USD.) Freshly grilled steak, chorizo, potato salad, rice, and bean salad. Mmmmmmm It was so delicious! (and there were plenty of leftovers for Negra when we were done!) Laura also made us a Mousse de Dulce de Leche cake which kicked ass! After my second piece my boss once again commented, “Amanda, we’re going to have to roll you out of Paraguay at this rate!” (Maybe I should get back on that gym hunt? hint hint!)
After work we went to the Paraguayan Congress on the Environment being held at the same location as our Press Release the other day, (coincidence? I think not!) 2 of our colleagues were speaking; Fatima is who a very well known biologist and conservationist in Paraguay, (she is the Director of Conservation at WWF, after all,) and Menchi Garay, who is a Forestry Engineer for WWF, (you should see the maps that her and Sonia make at the office, identifying each piece of land within the Oriental Region – the East side of the country – and identifying how much forest exists throughout the entire region, piece-by-piece. Future post to come showing you this insane and amazing technique!)
Afterwards it was time to rest, a.k.a. Amanda, please don’t fall asleep on the dance floor again, and head out to Pirata, a big club in downtown Asunción right near the Casa de Lopez and Manzana that I described for you all on my SUPER TOUR of Asunción, around 11:30 PM. There we danced until about 5 AM and ate a huge amount of food, photos of Lomito to follow! It was the best Día de la Amistad that I’ve ever had (ignore non-existence in America here!) Thank you to all my friends, in Paraguay and back home, for being so great to me over the years!! I love you all!