Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Changes

Hey everyone.
So the big piece of news is that Im changing host families. Apparently my host parents decided that we werent the best match. So currently I am staying with a temporary host family for a couple of weeks while my original host parents are on vacation giving my AFS representative time to find me a new family. This is quite the change and hopefully Ill find myself in a better place.
*Power goes out*
Yesterday I went to the mall with my temporary host family and I saw the movie Avatar. It was very good. I didnt feel like the special effects were too choking and they looked pretty good. Im not sure if the price tag for making the movie was worth it but it was definately a good movie.
My christmas was a bit overshadowed by the sudden change in family. Christmas came and went with suprisingly little fanfare. How was everyone elses Navidad? Tell me about it in the comments :D

Thats about all for now. Chau.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Worst Power Distribution System Ever... Of All Time...

So today the power went out 3 times. 2 times due to causes unknown and 1 time due to the transformer outside our house exploding (again!) This is our second transformer in 3 months. Needless to say the power distribution system here is iffy at best. My Uncle here gave me a book that goes through the whole process of how they built the Itaipu hydroelectric plant (in english thankfully). Although its a bit heavy on the data it´s still an interesting read.

So our Christmas tree is up. I have to say it´s a little less of a big deal here as it is in the US. Putting up the tree isn´t a family activity here and the tree is shorter than I am. I can´t believe that there are only 13 days until Christmas. Just doesn´t seem like the right season for Christmas.

For those of you who haven´t heard I got accepted into the Electrical Engineering program at University of Cincinnati. I also found out that I´m lacking a required credit in pre-calculus for the engineering program. Right now I´m looking at options for online classes I can take here in order to get that credit.

That´s all for now.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Schools Out For Summer

Hey everyone. School has ended here so I'm now on summer break.
Apparently this year has been unseasonably rainy causing huge problems with agriculture, flooding of the Rio Parana, and even some problems with the Itaipu hydroelectric plant. A couple of weeks ago parts of South America had massive blackouts due to a problem at Itaipu. We seem to have the best source of hydroelectric energy in the world here, and yet we have the worst infrastructure surrounding it. The power usually goes out here at least once a week for about an hour at a time.
The other day my host parents bought something that turned out to be a surprisingly good bonding experience for us. While they were in Centro they bought The Beatles: Rock Band for the Wii. Music that's familiar to everyone and something that's easy enough for anyone to play.
Just wanted to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving. Here in Paraguay Thanksgiving isn't celebrated. The US exchange students in the area here were going to do a Thanksgiving dinner but one of our members is going to be at her end of program orientation so our plans fell through. Also I think that the only thing you'll get by camping outside the stores in Centro is robbed. So much for black Friday.
That's all for now. I'll try to update a bit more regularly.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Phil to C5

Hey everyone,
So the lack of internet at home means I've had limited access to computers over the last couple of weeks. I am currently using one of the machines at the Country Club. They're fairly good but a few things are missing (like the ability to download pictures from my camera or to use a webcam).
Between golf lessons, playing frisbee with the local kids, and the newly added chess games, I'm starting to have something to do. I'm starting to become a regular at the Country Club and a routine is forming.
Things here have gotten hot. During the night it can stay in the 80s so I've quickly learned to adapt to the noise of the air conditioner. This weekend I'm heading to centro to buy some more shorts and some comfortable sandles (If I can find such a thing).
School is almost out for summer. 2 more weeks of school and then I have summer vacation :D .
That's about all for now. Update when I can.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A really big update.

Hey everyone.
For the last few days our internet has been down so I´ve got a lot to update.
Last thing I posted was about the futbol game. It was very rainy and we lost. Had a blast anyway. Lots of fun, enjoyed the atmosphere of the game. People chanting, on their feet, everyone clapping in unison. Definately a good experience. Also added 3 camera phone pics. from the game to the slideshow/flickr account.
This weekend was Fiesta De Las Naciones at our school. Each class was assigned a country and had to have a stand with information and food for sale. We also had to march in one of the shortest parades I´ve ever done, do a dance show from our country, and demonstrate a sport typical to that country. The theme of FDLN this year was space and our class got the U.S. How convienent. Our class did a great job representing the US through our dancing, (though Native American stereotypes know no borders), and we were to only country who´s national sport wasn´t fighting. Some of the other sports presentations were absolutely horrible (Egypt having a terribly fake sword fight with cardboard swords) while others were pretty good (China demonstrating real martial arts while using such weapons as bow staffs, numchucks, and real katanas.) The guys of our class demonstrated the essentials of baseball followed by the girls who did a cheerleading routine. All in all I think FDLN was a big success.
Spanish is going well. I´m starting to understand more and more of what´s going on around me. I still find that listening into general conversation is hard because they speak a lot more rapidly, but things are moving along. The other day I realized that I can tell for the most part the difference between Paraguayan Spanish and East-Brazilian Portugese. There is a slight sound difference that you start to pick up on. Don´t know what it means, but I can tell what language it is. Another thing you pick up really quickly is listening beyond the words. Sometimes I find that I skip words while listening to people but I get the message of the missed words based on tone.
The other day I got to go to Centro again and do some shopping and browsing. I got myself a really nice set of pens for school. Unfortunately I didn´t have enough money with me for the shoes I was looking at so those will have to wait for another day.
I finally got my passport back from AFS. Now I can apply to be a memeber of the country club and start golf lessons. Can´t wait.
One cultural thing that was brought to my attention early on is that facial hair here is often seen as unattractive. I didn´t bring my razor with me because honestly that´s one more electronic device I don´t want to have to deal with finding a converter for. So since I´ve been here I´ve started to learn the art of shaving with a non-electric razor. I think I´m starting to get the hang of it as now I can shave and come out of it with only one tiny cut instead of several all over my face.

That´s all folks...

Big Update

Monday, October 12, 2009

El Partido

I´m starting to get excited because this Wednesday I´m going with my host family to Asuncion to see the futbol game. Paraguay vs. Columbia. On Friday my parents gave me something that made me really happy. I now have my very own Paraguay jersey! Rojo y Blanco! I can´t wait. Unfortunately they don´t let people take cameras into the games unless you have a press pass so any pics that I will get at the game will be from my camera phone.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lost and Found

Haven´t updated in a bit so I figured now was as good of a time as any.

I´m a bit annoyed right now because today after school as I was leaving I realized I had forgotten my robotics hoodie in my last class. I hurried back to the art room to find my hoodie wasn´t there. I´m guessing someone saw that I had left it and picked it up. Hopefully I´ll be able to track it down tomorrow.
On a different note tonight there is a birthday party for one of my classmates. I´m probably going to go, sounds fun.
I still haven´t been able to get a hold of the golf instructor to start golf lessons. I´m getting a bit annoyed not having any extra curriculars. Hopefully I´ll be able to get on that soon.
The package that my dad sent still hasn´t arrived and it´s been about a month. I´m starting to worry that it may have disappeared like international mail sometimes has a tendancy to do. We´ve put in an inquiry with USPS as to the location of the package, hopefully that will turn up some results.

That´s about it for now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

From Point A to Point B

Hey everyone,
As requested I´m posting a blog update.

One topic I´d like to talk about is transportation. Like the US Paraguay drives on the right side of the road. In Paraguay if you´re moderately well off you probably have a car. Many of the car brands that you see in the US you also see here (with the notable exception of GM) in addition to some European brands less common is the US (Peugeot, Citroen, and Renault). Cars are almost equally split between AT (automatic) and MT (stick shift/standard).
For those who either aren´t fortunate enough to own a car or are just budget wise there are motos. There are a lot more people riding motorcycles and mopeds here than in the US. Some of the motos you see are rusted and look like they´re going to fall apart at any moment.
If you don´t have a car or a moto the next best way to get around is by bus. Ciudad Del Este has a bus station that can take you almost anywhere in Paraguay (and some parts of Brazil and Argentina). A bus ticket from Ciudad Del Este to the capital city Asuncion will cost you 55mil Guaranies (about $11). There are also local bus lines that go around each area.
Traffic is basically a free for all. I would not want to drive in Paraguay.

On a different note today was the hottest it´s been since I´ve been here at 34 degrees (92.3 F). I´ve been told that sometimes it gets up to 41 degrees at the hottest (a little over 105 F).
I´ve got a 4 day weekend this week with Monday and Tuesday off which is really nice.
That´s about all for now.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Let´s talk money

Hello everyone. I´ve been here for over a month now and I´m starting to get used to the money system here. I thought I´d do a blog about the money here.
The Currency:
For starters the currency here is in Guaraníes ( or PYG). The currency shares its name with the native South American Guarani people as well as the native Guarani language. Currently the exchange rate is about 4930 PYG/1 USD. To make things easier most people just round to 5mil per dollar. (Note that when I use mil it means thousand.)
Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, and the newly released 1mil Gs. Although all of these are legal tender only the 100, 500, and 1 mil coins are used frequently due to inflation.
Banknotes come in denominations of 1mil, 5mil, 10mil, 20mil, 50mil, and 100mil gs. Once again the 1 mil gs bill is falling out of use due to several factors. 1. the 1 mil gs. banknotes are aging and many are falling apart. 2. The recently issued 1 mil gs. coin is taking its place. 3. There are no plans for future production of 1 mil gs. banknotes.

Paraguay gets the majority of its banknotes from the British security company De La Rue. The paper used for banknotes is the same paper used for the British pound as well as the Iraqi dinar.All of the exchange students I´ve talked to agree that the money here feels light and flimsy compared to the money back home. Money here is not minted regularly as it is in many countries and bills start to deteriorate after a while. Prices here are very low for most things. For example at school the normal plate lunch costs 10mil (2 dollars) and a 500ml bottle of pop will run you 3mil (60 cents).

I hope you all enjoyed this bit of info about the money here. If you want to suggest something else you´d like to hear about leave a comment. :D

P.S. Happy talk like a pirate day tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back from camp.

Hey everyone.
I got back from AFS camp on Sunday. It was very nice. I got to talk to lots of people I knew and started some conversations with others I didn´t. I got all my paperwork settled at the camp in order to be a temporary resident, since visas here only last for 90 days. To make that visa valid for a longer period of time you need to become a temporary resident. While at camp we all stayed in a hotel that was probably 80% reserved for AFS that weekend. It was really nice, the food was great, and they had a pool! Yes a group of us went swimming despite it being a chilly low to mid 60´s . It was a blast!
Anyway things here are good. I had a bit of good luck today when I found 20 Mil on the ground (about 4 dollars).
That´s about it for now. Pics to come later when I get the time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On the road again.

Hey everyone,
This weekend is our 1 month AFS adjustment camp. That means all the AFS students in Paraguay who are doing a school program are going to be arriving in Asuncion at noon tomorrow. Tomorrow morning I´m getting on a bus at the bus terminal in Ciudad Del Este and taking another 5-6 hour trip back to Asuncion. It´s going to be so nice to see all the other AFS-ers I haven´t seen since our trip over here and see how they´re doing.
I´m of course taking my camera with me so hopefully when I get home there will be another batch of photos ready for the blog.
Paraguay won their match last night versus Argentina 1-0. We had a bunch of family over to watch the game. It was lots of fun.
That´s about all for now.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Game time and Class time

Today in school we got out of a bunch of classes because we had a competition between our school and other local school. I got to watch 3 games of futball and 3 games of handball. We won every game except for guys handball. The girls futball teams aren´t very good. I´m sure it would make Mary B. very angry. The schools here are so much smaller. Our whole school can fit into the cafeteria and the cafeteria is no where near the size the one at home.
On a different note on Wednesday we have our final day of Spanish class. I know that I probably need more classes but I also know that I´ve got some good help from friends. I can´t wait to finally have some free time. Everyday going to Spanish class is such a time consumer that I don´t have time to go out with friends and get any of the real world Spanish.
Thats about it for now.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Weekend

This weekend was very eventful.

As I mentioned in my last post this Saturday my Spanish class went to go horseback riding. Turns out the place we went to had a couple activites planned for us including horseback riding. First we went on a bike ride through some dirt trails. Most of the mountain bikes had atleast one thing wrong and one of them lost a pedal halfway through our ride. After that they took us on a tour of the area via our choice of either horse pulled cart or tractor pulled cart. I stuck with the tractor. Next up was horseback riding. Everyone got a chance to ride and it was a lot of fun. I didn´t have any trouble with allergies what so ever.
When I got home it was time to get on the road to spend an night in Asuncion. I saw a bunch of cool places like the national congress building and the President´s residence. Oscar went to a reggaton concert and I wish I had known sooner so I could´ve gotten a ticket as well. Next weekend I might be going to Asuncion again to see a futball match. Bolivia vs. Paraguay. Can´t wait.
While in Asuncion they had a small demonstation of motorcycles outside the mall. By small I mean there were people crowed around the area so tight you could barely see what was going on. They had a really cool motorcycle there that had an outer ring mounted vertically so that when the driver slammed on the front breaks the motorcycle would flip over, roll, and then land upright again.
I´ll be sure to post pictures soon, but tonight I don´t have enough time.
Talk to you all later. Bye.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mail Call and Definition of Phillip

Hey everyone.
My dad is sending me a package soon. If you have something (small) you´d like to send me get it to my dad pronto. I´d love to recieve letters from you all.
This weekend our spanish class is once again taking an adventure. This weeks adventure is horseback riding. Unfortunately I´m allergic to horses (or possibly hay) and last time I got near a horse my eyes started swelling up. Part of me is considering taking an allergy pill and my inhaler and giving it a go anyway since its such a cool opportunity. The more reasonable part of me is remembering last time I got near a horse. I´m so torn between the 2 options.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to the voting machines.

Hey people! It´s that time again.
This weekend I´m planning on another conference call home. Hard to believe that it´s been 2 weeks already since I last talked to you guys. Time really does go by quick. I´m once again open for suggestions for when to host the conference call.
Today we got out of school early because too many teachers called in sick short notice. We only went to school until 11:45 and then had the rest of the day off. That was really nice.
On a different note this Saturday morning I´m going to go see Monday Falls with my spanish class. Of course this means that the camera is coming with me so expect some pictures of the fall to appear sometime late this weekend.
That´s all for now.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ultimate Frisbee in Paraguay

So yesterday I took my frisbee to school so we could play some frisbee during gym class (which is a lot more like recess than gym). The kids here have never played frisbee and a lot of them really like it. We didn´t play ultimate frisbee but that is probably because a lot of people were either playing football or handball. One of my teachers was telling me that I should talk to the gym teacher and see if we can get a school ultimate frisbee team started. That would be so cool. Only problem would be getting the school some frisbee discs to start a team with.
That´s about it for now.

Friday, August 14, 2009

´Allo ... Nokia?

Brace yourself. Lots of content in this one.

I got a cell phone recently. Its actually Oscars old cell phone but the host parents bought a new case and a SIM card for it. All the phones here have removable outer shells that you can buy new shells for. The previous shell was showing wear and had white and black case pieces. The new one is white and red and looks very nice. I got most of the way done re-assembling the case when the power went out. I was able to finish it in the dark. It also plays music, an added bonus.

On Wednesday I started Spanish lessons at another colegio in Ciudad Del Este. The classes are in nothing but Spanish and speaking anything but Spanish in the classroom is strictly prohibited. Apparently there was a bit of miscommunication between Asuncion and Ciudad Del Este because a lot of the name tags were messed up. When I got mine it read ¨Philip Voltons¨ whoops. Anyway I have classes Monday-Friday after school and Saturday in the morning. Tomorrow morning the class is taking a field trip to a museum. Afterwords a group of us AFS-ers are going to go downtown Ciudad Del Este, grab some pizza, and explore the main shopping district which is known to the locals as ¨Center¨. I will be sure to take my camera (and hang on tight to it) to get some pictures of the amazing spectacle Center is. Words can not describe the sheer chaos of the place. There are people everywhere, cars everywhere, and good deals everywhere.

Tonight we had a family gathering at my cousin Ramon´s house. Of those I met it appears I have 7 cousins. We had a good time. A few 2 litres of Coke, some good food, and a TV is enough for us to have a good time. I got to meet my grandfather on my host moms side of the family. When we were first introduced he asked ¨Where is he from? Germany?¨ I guess the Wolter and Weinert roots definately show. Since I got here I have been told that I look like a Brazilian and mistakenly called a German by 2 people. Good to know I don´t look like your stereotypical American.

That´s about all for now. Hopefully I´ll get some awesome pictures tomorrow to add to the slideshow. Having a blast here.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

And this is why we use the electoral college...

So as it turns out the 1 person who actually voted for a time for the conference call can´t make it... and others are reporting the same thing. I will still be hosting the conference call as scheduled but I doubt there will much if any attendence. A reschedule is in the works. If you´d like to suggest a time and date for reschedule please check your calendar and only then leave a comment.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Web Conference and Routine

Hey everyone.
By a popular vote of 1 the time of the web confrerence will be at 19:00hrs on Sunday, August 9th (That´s 7 for you back home). The chat will be held via Skype so if you do not have Skype and would like in I suggest you get it (it´s free) If you would like to be added to the chat please add pwolter0 to your friends list and send me a message at 7PM on Sunday. I will be supporting using both voice and webcam. Can´t wait to talk to you all.
In other news I´ve gotten into a routine. Every morning Dad drives us to school. I sit through classes. And then I catch a ride home with Esamo in his golf cart. So happy it´s the weekend. I can sleep in for once.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More school, Slideshow, And web conference.

Hey everyone! The last couple days of school have gone well. During classes I really can´t do much so I usually sit there bored. The students who either aren´t paying attention or are already finished with their work help me work on my Spanish.
Today I went to downtown Ciudad Del Este with Oscar and a couple of friends from school. The place is amazingly big with good prices and hordes of people. In some places you have to walk in the street and squeeze to avoid the cars zooming past. I got a couple of t-shirts there and after that Host Mom took me to get the school uniform shirt. The school uniform shirt is a T-shirt that you can wear with shorts, jeans, or pants as long as they are blue. You can wear coats or jackets as long as they are blue as well (this rule is not highly enforced as I´ve been wearing my robotics hoodie daily).
As some of you may noticed there is now a new and improved slideshow at the bottom of the blog. As I upload pictures to flickr they will be automatically added to the slideshow at the bottom.
I was thinking about holding a webcam conference via skype sometime next week/weekend. If anyone has any suggestions on date/time please leave them in the comments. I´ll be adding more information as the time for one approaches.
Thats all for now.

Monday, August 3, 2009

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school for me. I don´t understand much of what´s going on but sometimes Oscar will give me a little translation. School is quite different in Paraguay. We sit in one class room all day (except for classes like Art or Gym) and our teachers come to us. Some teachers allow you to move your desk however you like and others make you sit in rows. You can always tell who is paying attention and who isn´t. Those who really want to focus sit in the front because the people in the back are talking. Today the subject I understood most was chemistry. Lunch here is so different as well. Our cafeteria is not really a room in the sense that it has openings to the outside. Most of the school is airy and open. Tomorrow is gym and art and I can´t wait.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Last night around 12:30 I was picked up at the Ciudad Del Este bus station by my host family. They are so nice! So far I haven´t been able to talk directly to my host parents (because I don´t speak Spanish and they don´t speak English) but Oscar has been learning English and he has been acting as a translator. He said that he´d teach me Spanish if I help him improve his English. My room is awesome. I think it was used as their guest bedroom and the walls are a tad lightish red, but I´m not complaining. I have a place to sleep and that is wonderful.
It´s funny to see the people here bundled up in winter coats, hats, and scarfs. My host family keeps asking me if I´m cold and I respond that compared to Cleveland this is nothing. (Just to let you know mom they do wear shorts here during the summer and the teenagers wear jeans as well.)
That´s about all for now. Talk to you guys later.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Here in Paraguay.

At about 5:30 we landed in Asuncion, Paraguay.
I´m writing this from a computer in the AFS retreat center.
I would upload a few pictures but this computer will not allow me to get pictures from my camera because I´m not an administrator. Between the USB incompatibilites, the difficulty understanding a computer in Spanish, and trying to figure out a Spanish keyboard I´m having one of the hardest times ever using a computer. Just wanted to let everyone know I´m safe and sound and things here are good. Some pictures to come when I get to a computer that doesn´t hate my camera (I got some great pictures of Chile from the airplane). Thats about it for now.

Layover in Chile

Hey everyone! I got access to a computer from one of the other students (Vivian) who had her laptop. We are currently sitting around here at the Santiago Airport in Chile. We've been a bit confused on the details of our next flight but we think we've got it figured out now. We've got a few hours here to chill and quite a few people are taking the opportunity to crash on the chairs. At 2:30 we get on a plane bound for Asuncion. It's hard to believe this is really happening.
Got to go now before Vivian's laptop dies.
Next post from Paraguay!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chilling at the embassy

Embassy Suites hotel that is. Yesterday we were given name tags and had a bit of free time to meet everyone. In total between Paraguay, Brazil, and Chile we have 37 students who are scheduled to leave today. It's amazing how much diversity there is in the people here. There are people from all over the US. This hotel is overnight the second best hotel I've ever been to (second only to The Royal Highland Hotel in Inverness, Scotland). Breakfast this morning was AMAZING! They have a line where you pick your ingredients for omlettes and then hand your choices to the chef. A few minutes later she has your omlette ready to eat along with hot pancakes, sausage, and bacon. They also have a nice little room that is sectioned off as the business center but also comes in handy for things like writing blogs. Unfortunately their work station setup makes it impossible for me to run skype off of my thumb drive.
Right now we have a lot of free time until we leave at 6:30 this evening. Our actual flight is much later but I'm assuming they're giving us extra time to clear security. While the AFS volunteer here (who we call bel) is worrying about getting us out the door and on our 3 respective flights she will also be dealing with the next group of kids coming in who are headed to Panama.
When we get to Santiago, Chile tomorrow morning we will have an 8 hour layover during which we are absolutely forbidden to leave the airport terminal. When we asked what we were supposed to do for 8 hours Bel shruged and said that we would have to entertain ourselves and that AFS does provide us money for lunch.
When we get to Paraguay we'll be staying at the AFS retreat 2 miles outside the captital city Asunción. After our 2 days of orientation we will either be picked up by our host families or be sent on a bus (their equivalent to greyhound) to our respective host cities.
That's about all for now. Post when I can. Next post from either Chile or Paraguay.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The finishing touches.

Tomorrow I get on a plane at 7AM destined for Miami, Florida!
When I get there I will meet up with a representative from AFS at the Embassy Suites as well as with all the other USA to Paraguay exchange students. My biggest concern at the moment is the layover in Atlanta, Georgia which gives me 41 minutes to find my way to the next gate. Hopefully everything will run smoothly. Going to get some sleep now as I need to wake up at 4 tomorrow to finish getting everything ready.
Next post will be either from Miami or from Paraguay.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Host Family and Location!

So yesterday Dad checked the AFS page (because I was tired of checking and being disappointed every single day) and the information on my host family and location was posted. I will be staying in Hernandarias with my host family. I will have a host father, a host mother, and host brother named Oscar who is one year younger than I am. I will be attending school at the Colegio Anglo Americano. 27 days to go.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Departure Date Announced!

Hey all,
I just got home from spending a week on a mission trip to Grand Rapids. When I got home I knew I had to check my e-mail. AFS travel & logistics sent me an e-mail with my departure date and scheduled flights. For orientation I will need to be in Miami on July 29 at the Embassy Suites Hotel Miami International Airport. After orientation I will depart from Miami in the evening of July 30th on a flight bound to land in Santiago, Chile the next morning. From there I have a lay over until the afternoon when I will get on a flight headed for Asuncion. The entire trip from Cleveland to Asuncion is 6200 miles.
32 days until I leave. So much to do, so little time.
That's all for now.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Paraguay Conference Call

Today I received an email with information about my upcoming Paraguay Conference Call. The meeting will allow me to talk with former AFS exchange students who have traveled to Paraguay and they will be fielding questions from all of the students who are going. Glad to hear some news from AFS because it has been very quiet from their end lately.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dude I'm Not In Paraguay.

Well not yet anyway.

Hi my name is Phil. I set up this blog to share my experiences as an AFS exchange student to Paraguay. I will be staying in Paraguay for one full school year. So far I have been accepted into AFS Paraguay, but I am still waiting to find out details such as my departure date and who my host family will be. I'm getting very excited as the (still unknown) date draws nearer. I do know that I will be leaving sometime near the end of July.

As you may or may not know my original plan was not to go to Paraguay. I originally tried to go to France but their lack of a gap year program made it impossible so I changed my plans and started the application process with hopes of being placed in French speaking Belgium. After that fell through due to a lack of available space AFS asked if I would be willing to go to Paraguay. I figured why not? It's sure to be a learning experience.

One interesting part about this exchange is that I speak very little Spanish. I took 4 years of French in school expecting to be going to either France or Belgium and don't regret a moment of it. I have been trying to boost my Spanish a bit before I leave so I can at least get my point across. ¿Dónde esta el baño?

I plan on posting many pictures here for your enjoyment as photography is one of my hobbies. I recently took the plunge and got myself a new Canon Rebel XSI DSLR camera and I will be taking it with me to doccument my trip.

Thats all for now. I'll keep you posted as we get more info.