The Market to Millionaire Status

By January 13, 2011 Peeks No Comments

I slept through Olivia’s attempt at waking me – knocking and asking Meli if she thought I was sleeping, but awoke to Meli’s answer and her telling Oli to let me sleep and be quiet.

Ironic, don’t ya think?

I smiled and drifted in and out of sleep for another thirty minutes. Finally, I put on some shorts and went downstairs to have some coffee before changing for a trip to the market with Meli, where I became her helper.

The children waiting inside the market to “help” people (for some spare change) approached her immediately upon entering; however, she told them (en Español) I was her helper for the day. Sorry champs.

There was fresh fruit and vegetables everywhere. I even saw Oli’s “sleeping” pig, which was actually a dead pig laying inside a glass case.

After the market, Meli and I went to the mall. She needed to deposit a check and I needed to exchange my USD for PYG. (The Paraguayan guarani is the Country’s currency.) In the bank, she was offered priority service because of the five-month lump protruding from her midsection.

It was interesting being inside a bank where there were three armed security guards circling a crowd with three rules: no hats, no glasses, no cellphones.

After the currency exchange, I was a millionaire…almost a multi-millionaire. I walked in with four bills and walked out with 1.8 million PYG.

I pocketed my million and we headed to the grocery store, which was attached to the mall. We shopped for a few staples, including milk and more fresh bread. I also took the opportunity to invest in some more lotion, as the less-than-three-ounce travel size isn’t quite enough for a nine-day trip.

At the market, we had apparently just missed Baba, Cecilia & Tad, who were there having coffee moments before we left the grocery store.

It was going to be another relaxing day of poolside drinking, so I put my bathing suit on, which was still a little damp from the day before.

We picked up Olivia and headed over to Meli’s parent’s house where we had a delicious lunch: salad, beats, pork, potatoes, seafood and a side I forgot the name of, so “traditional Brazilian crumb dish” is the most accurate description I can give.

Olivia insisted that I sit next to her during lunch, even though mid-way she traded spots with Cecilia because she wanted to be next to her mom.

After lunch, we were served more of the delicious ice-cream cake from the previous day and offered coffee before returning to the pool.

Olivia said “pool” almost 150 times throughout the afternoon, among other English words she was quickly learning. She successfully identified (with minimal help from me) the colors on the umbrella she was supposed to be under, but kept drifting away from. She also used words like: sun, water, ears, clouds, and eventually said, “It seems like it’s going to rain” in Portuguese. In English, I could only hear, “cloudy.”

Moments later, under the lush canopy of flowers and local plants, I sat in my dry shorts and watched the rain come in.

Almost out of instinct, I finished my drink and went upstairs to the living room to join the family for more Glee. Caca and I sat on two opposite cushions, the middle one removed to make room for Olivia’s fort. After she got bored with the fort, she began bouncing us with energetic jumping, and intermittently mimicking what she saw on TV.

The other four sat on the other couch, motionless.

After a few episodes, Tad and I went to the kitchen for a sandwich. Halfway through our middle-afternoon snack, we assisted one of the nannies with groceries and came inside to Cecilia telling us she was going to start charging us $1 per beer.

I told her that was fine, because I recently became a millionaire.

We spent a little more time watching a Brazilian soap opera before leaving to shower/change for dinner (around 9) with the younger members of the family.

I helped Olivia into the car, accidentally bumping her head (gently) on the foam part of the door frame. I felt awful. Even worse when she began to cry and about 45% worse when tears started rolling down her face.

In all honesty, it was a gentle bump and in reality probably didn’t hurt her in the least. My premonition was reinforced when Meli told me why Olivia was crying so hard…not because she bumped her head, but because it loosened her barrette and caused her hair to fall out of place.

Pre-prima donna.

On the way home, Meli didn’t want Oli to continue her trend and fall asleep, so when we neared their house, I hit her on the head again, thus causing her barrette to fall. This induced more crying, but kept her wide awake.

If you believe that, then you must not know me very well.

Seriously: I helped Oli into the front where she stood on the middle console sticking her head out of the sunroof, so she could enjoy the breeze and view the rest of the way home.

Obviously, by this time the weather had cleared up and it was sunny again in Asunción.

I showered, changed and was downstairs within fifteen minutes. While I waited, I divided time between a freshly poured pint and some much needed attention to what you’re currently staring at.

For dinner, we went to a bar/restaurant/club called Moby Dick. We split four pizzas and had several drinks while listening to Jorge control the mic and regale us with plenty of entertaining stories from his college life at Purdue. Then, a few of us took the opportunity to share some of our own.

Laughter ensued.

Around midnight, Meli and Jorge left and Tad, Baba, Caca, Guga and I stayed to have a few more drinks.

We shifted from our table on the deck to a patio table closer to the pool. Similarly, our conversation shifted to plans for New Year’s Eve, married life, babies, re-touched on college and finally on to Paraguayan/Brazilian traditions related to the New Year.

Among them, were:
– taking luggage across the street for safe travels
– wearing something white
– (if you’re on the beach) jumping seven waves
– colors of underwear and what they signify
– eating twelve grapes and making a wish for each one
– wearing four colors of ribbon to signify luck in various areas
– lentils with the last meal of the year
– the mother of the household placing twelve pieces of her hair in the dinner on Nochevieja (it’s supposedly good luck if you find one)

OK, the last one was complete bullshit, but the three locals had Tad and I convinced it was true, because they were conspiring in Portuguese/Spanish.

Tad is married to one of the dishonest Brazilians, so he picked up on a few of the words, but decided to let me keep on believing.

I finally asked Meli at breakfast the next day and she hit me with some truth.

Hair in your food is not good luck. It’s a good sign you’re done eating and you’re probably getting a free dessert.

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