Packing before swear-in and moving to site was a big undertaking, but we got it all done. That friday morning, a truck came to take the bulk of our belongings and put them in long-term storage (We won't see any of that stuff until Feb. 14th). We said our good-byes to some of the family and headed out on a bus.
Right before we were getting on the bus to go to the municipality in Guarambare for swear-in, we saw our friend Andrew, who had finally decided that it was his time to ET (early terminate). He was headed back home to study fish and have a more fulfilling sciencey job than PC could offer. We all liked him a lot, so it was a really sad, surreal moment when we all made the bus wait while we said our goodbyes to our new friend who we were sad to see leave. !Que Triste! Why did we take such a sad photo!?!
And now the sweet stuff! We were done with training! We had made it. Sarah and I had learned TWO languages. We had made it through all of our tech trainings; the security exams, the medical exams; the technical exams; we had built a bench and planted lots of trees. We had lived in another country for over two months and met tons of people; and we had made tons of friends during training. We were so proud of ourselves, and we felt like we had accomplished something really great. The whole training experience was awesome. And now we were off to swear-in with all of the PC staff, and all of the families in our community.
We arrived to a large open auditorium that was covered in streamers and Peace Corps banners. Everyone was there. We hugged a bunch of people as we arrived. We shook hands and everyone congratulated us and said that we should be very proud of ourselves. We took our seats, snapping photos and waving at everyone. We sang the national anthems for both Paraguay and the US (which, sidenote, did you know that each stanza of the US national anthem is a question? minds=blown).
Another thing that is interesting is the oath that we had to take for Peace Corps:
I, [state your name], do solemnly swear or affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, domestic and foreign, that I take this obligation freely and without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge my duties in the Peace Corps by working with the people of [the host country] as partners in friendship and in peace.
We listened to some speeches by the US Ambassador to Paraguay and his wife about how great our work is going to be for the country. One of the other volunteers gave a great speech on behalf of the volunteers, and then some community leaders gave some speeches... about... well I'm sure they were really great, but they were speaking Spanish super fast and I'm pretty sure we didn't understand everything they said. But we shook their hands after and told them gracias a bunch of times. We took our picture with the ambassador, James, and his wife Martha, and told them we had been married for a year. Then they gave us some great marriage advice on marriage! To mix things up, to always try new things, and to always stay close to each other.
We took a lot more pictures, ate some empanadas, said our good-byes to our trainers, language teachers, training directors, and we were outta there. We took our last ride on the chu-chi bus with AC and arrived in Asuncion. It was the weekend of the Virgin de Caacupe, so the city was pretty dead.
By some random freak chance, we wound up staying at the same hotel that Andrew was at. We met up with him, then regrouped with some other volunteers at the Black Cat Hostel. Everyone was having a good time. We were all congratulating each other and reminiscing of our good times throughout training. Then we decided that, since Andrew was flying out early in the morning, something really awesome needed to happen to him his last night in Paraguay. So I jumped up and said let's shave his head! And everyone was in.
Breton donated the shaving cream, Jordan donated his mack 5, Tilre tried to use his straight razor, but no one was having that. And we shaved his head right there in the Black Cat. That's what he gets for leaving. We're pretty sure he wanted us to do it anyway. There was absolutely no alcohol involved. Then we all went swimming. Then us Tacuruty kids went to a karaoke
For the rest of the weekend, Sarah and I saw some sights in Asuncion. It was a pretty quiet city. We had a little date night; Burger King milkshakes and a movie. It's going to be our Asuncion standard. Then we took a long bus ride down to Coronel Bogado.