Tag Archives: emily

Name that sound: Paraguay Edition

14 Jun

This is a surface level observation of the sounds I have encountered here in Paraguay so far.

1. Dogs. Dogs bark at all hours in my neighborhood. I woke up a few nights ago to hear the War of the Dogs. Tati defends our front patio outside my window. And then there are two fluffy poodle-ish mutts next door (one is named Jaguar) that patrol the street and like to start trouble with the other dogs. Heck, those dummies even chased down two bulls that were walking down the street.

2. Motos. In the past few years motos have taken off as a primary mode of transportation in Villeta. You can imagine what a scooter sounds like zipping down a stone paved street.

3. Chickens. I thought chickens just made a lot of hoopla in the morning. No, they make chicken noises all day and night.

4. Unidentified temporarily. A few nights ago, I awoke to a very loud beeping noise. Was it my alarm clock? No. It was 3am. Is it a fire alarm? No, we don’t have one of those. Is it coming from outside? No, it seems to be coming from the corner of my bedroom… Holy cow that is the loudest cricket I have ever encountered. And then I threw a bottle of laundry detergent at it. Minus one cricket in Paraguay.

5. Lady Gaga. That song “Telephone” is muy popular here.

6. Adiós. When passing by someone on the street, or when someone passes your front door when you’re sitting outside, it is common to say “Adios.” This seems counter to what you’d expect because adios means goodbye, but I think of it as a non-committal greeting–recognize someone without the requirement to have a chat.

7. An empty terere cup. Terere/matte is the official drink/custom (in my opinion, if not officially) of Paraguay. It is a beverage served cold (terere) or hot (matte) and shared communally. To make terere you use a mortar and pestle to break up fresh herbs with different flavors and qualities. Add that to cool water and mix. Then you can pour this into the terere cup that is packed with a dried blend of tea leaves. The terere straw filters out the leaves while you drink, and when you have drained the beverage you hear that suction sound! And then it’s time to pass the cup to your neighbor or refill.

8. Ma’ena is a Guaraní word that translates to que triste or “how sad.” My Spanish classmate Maureen learned the word from her host sisters who use it frequently to express minor sadness–like “Oops, I spilled my glass of Coke, Ma’eeeeeeehnahhhh.” I went running down Maureen’s street this past week during siesta and Maureen and her sister were sitting outside of their house. Her sister asked me why I was running, and I explained that I was exercising. To which she responded, “Ma’ena.”

9. A tucan. Trainee Nikki has a tucan at her house named Tuci. He lives in a cage in her family’s garden, and he’s very handsome and squawky.

tuci the tucan

10. Laughter. I have been laughing at myself a lot lately. For example…My language teacher’s name is Pabla. A shovel in Spanish is una pala. One of the other Spanish teachers, Diosnel, asked me “Que hiciste con la pala?”– “What did  you do with a shovel?” And I proceeded to answer, “Oh, she taught us the vocabulary for parts of the farm like the fence, the raised tables of dirt, shade, seed…”

me at the rio paraguay. across the river is argentina.