Archive for December, 2008

Fun Moments

Had a great birthday! Thanks all of you for your emails =)

Here are some pics of my great day!

On my bday i like to do many little fun things…like going to a store and just play or try on stuff…like the birthday hat and the capricorn goat =) shown on the first pictures.

I also went to the Asian Art Museum, to the University  of Washington just to see the buildings and take some pictures…to Kerry park to have this stunning view of Seattle…To have coffee and eat cupcakes

and to bookstore and finally to a pizzeria where they even played my fav cd again! yay!  , had happy birthday sung to me and even had a cake (and of course made my 3 wishes)

muna cumple10 muna cumple7 The goat sings, was so cute!

Silly stuff =)

muna cumple13  muina cumple25

Kerry Park with my friend Karina

muna cumple11  muna cumple16 Asian Art Museum

UW

muna cumple12  muna cumple5

UW                                                            Having cup cakes

muna cumple19 Volunteer Park (Black sun sculpture)

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Dec 28…My birthday!!!

 

 

My birthday is a very special day for me…it is actually the one special day I have…everything seems perfect that day, I always get lots of calls, emails, cards, gifts…God even sends me some sunshine and blue sky on that day…(well, looking at this weather today I’m not sure if that’s going to happen, LOL)…last year then even played my fav cd on the restaurant by coincidence!

The sad thing is that I wanted to be in Paraguay for this day but I can’t so I know I’m going to have fun here too. I’m very fortunate I must say, I have great friends and family and you all my readers…It is fun how internet can make the world smaller and make people get in touch…that’s why I really love ORKUT its like a facebook but more used in Paraguay than here.

Elementary school friends just found me there after 20 years and we are catching up, even if our lives are so different now, the essence is always there and days like these I think what is really important in my life…the economy is collapsing even though i don’t want to give up my microwave I know i can adjust to any situation…in Paraguay you have to be able to do things that push you out of your comfort box, and that rather than being a bad thing is a good one, because it makes you give the right priority to things and put them behind to the people that really matter to you…there most of people live with the basics and get together and still have fun…

In this live if have learned that:

You don’t need to work alone, God always helps…just ask him!

In live Everything is about priorities

That you can happy happy with less

That things are voids of the soul

That if someone does not love you the way you want it doesn’t not mean that he/she doesn’t love you his /her own way.

That home is where your heart is

That on the long run you remember the good times more than the bad moments

That you can choose to be happy even if the situation makes you miserable (that’s a big exercise, but eventually you will lead your emotions and not vice versa)

I’m not addicted to adrenaline or to heights

You can love many places without loving one less than the other

There are more than one true depending of your point of view

Never judge people even if you not agree with them, tolerance means listen and respect and is the wheel of the world

Be kind and respectful with everybody and everywhere

Don’t lose it, count to 10, breath and wake away, never say things when you are angry that you wouldn’t say without being mad

That sometimes I’m mad a someone doesn’t mean I love him/her less or that I care less

I have rain and winters but still manage to have a pretty decent time (you choose to be mad or not)

Laziness sucks but sometimes I just need to rest for few minutes…it makes me more creative.

I have learned that the past is a reference for a better future

That your kids don’t belong to you, you are their guide but in life they are to succeed by their own

It is easy to follow your passion ones you find out what it is

I also have learned that friend s are siblings you pick

That a wasted minute is a wasted minute that will never come back

I have learned to carpe diem =) to laugh even if you took the wrong bus and have to walk 1 mile in snow because your own mistake (happened to me last week)

Admit your faults…makes you human.

You are not perfect, no body is…that’s good to know

 

Thanks all of you of the joys you bring with your comments, questions and experiences

Happy birthday to Munita!!! nothing left to say! :)

 

Birthday Cake

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Meaning of Xmas by Garcia Marquez

I always loved Garcia Marquez, he has a sharp way of seeing things…i do not necessarily agree in all his observations but i do agree in most part of it, people that know me know about my point of view of Xmas, specially the shopping paranoia and those xmas songs starting late november that really make me avoid places…they are annoying! LOL

For those that know spanish…enjoy that this great writer says about xmas.

Sadly just few people really remember the birth of Jesus on this day…

Thanks Dario for sending this…have you all a great genuine and meaningful Xmas.

Gabriel García Márquez
El País, Madrid, 24 de Diciembre de 1980
Ya nadie se acuerda de Dios en Navidad. Hay tantos estruendos de cometas y fuegos de artificio, tantas guirnaldas de focos de colores, tantos pavos inocentes degollados y tantas angustias de dinero para  quedar bien por encima de nuestros recursos reales que uno se pregunta  si a alguien le queda un instante para darse cuenta de que semejante despelote es para celebrar el cumpleaños de un niño que nació hace  2.000 años en una caballeriza de miseria, a poca distancia de donde  había nacido, unos mil años antes, el rey David. 954 millones de  cristianos creen que ese niño era Dios encarnado, pero muchos lo  celebran como si en realidad no lo creyeran. Lo celebran además muchos millones que no lo han creído nunca, pero les gusta la parranda, y muchos otros que estarían dispuestos a voltear el mundo al revés para que nadie lo siguiera creyendo. Sería interesante averiguar cuántos de ellos creen también en el fondo de su alma que la Navidad de ahora es una fiesta abominable, y no se atreven a decirlo por un prejuicio que ya no es religioso sino social.
Lo más grave de todo es el desastre cultural que estas Navidades pervertidas están causando en América Latina. Antes, cuando sólo teníamos costumbres heredadas de España, los pesebres domésticos eran prodigios de imaginación familiar. El niño Dios era más grande que el buey, las casitas encaramadas en las colinas eran más grandes que la virgen, y nadie se fijaba en anacronismos: el paisaje de Belén era completado con un tren de cuerda, con un pato de peluche más grande que un león que nadaba en el espejo de la sala, o con un agente de tránsito que dirigía un rebaño de corderos en una esquina de Jerusalén. Encima de todo se ponía una estrella de papel dorado con una bombilla en el centro, y un rayo de seda amarilla que había de indicar a los Reyes Magos el camino de la salvación. El resultado era más bien feo, pero se parecía a nosotros, y desde luego era mejor que tantos cuadros primitivos mal copiados del aduanero Rousseau.
La mistificación empezó con la costumbre de que los juguetes no los trajeran los Reyes Magos -como sucede en España con toda razón-, sino el niño Dios. Los niños nos acostábamos más temprano para que los regalos llegaran pronto, y éramos felices oyendo las mentiras poéticas de los adultos. Sin embargo, yo no tenía más de cinco años cuando alguien en mi casa decidió que ya era tiempo de revelarme la verdad. Fue una desilusión no sólo porque yo creía de veras que era el niño Dios quien traía los juguetes, sino también porque hubiera querido seguir creyéndolo. Además, por pura lógica de adulto, pensé entonces que también los otros misterios católicos eran inventados por los padres para entretener a los niños, y me quedé en el limbo. Aquel día como decían los maestros jesuitas en la escuela primaria perdía la inocencia, pues descubrí que tampoco a los niños los traían las cigüeñas de París, que es algo que todavía me gustaría seguir creyendo para pensar más en el amor y menos en la píldora.
Todo aquello cambió en los últimos treinta años, mediante una operación comercial de proporciones mundiales que es al mismo tiempo una devastadora agresión cultural. El niño Dios fue destronado por el Santa Claus de los gringos y los ingleses, que es el mismo Papa Noel de los franceses, y a quienes todos conocemos demasiado. Nos llegó con todo: el trineo tirado por un alce, y el abeto cargado de juguetes bajo una fantástica tempestad de nieve. En realidad, este usurpador con nariz de cervecero no es otro que el buen san Nicolás, un santo al que yo quiero mucho porque es el de mi abuelo el coronel, pero que no tiene nada que ver con la Navidad, y mucho menos con la Nochebuena tropical de la América Latina. Según la leyenda nórdica, san Nicolás reconstruyó y revivió a varios escolares que un oso había descuartizado en la nieve, y por eso le proclamaron el patrón de los niños. Pero su fiesta se celebra el 6 de diciembre y no el 25.
La leyenda se volvió institucional en las provincias germánicas del Norte a fines del siglo XVIII, junto con el árbol de los juguetes. Y hace poco más de cien anos pasó a Gran Bretaña y Francia. Luego pasó a Estados Unidos, y éstos nos lo mandaron para América Latina, con toda una cultura de contrabando: la nieve artificial, las candilejas de colores, el pavo relleno, y estos quince días de consumismo frenético al que muy pocos nos atrevemos a escapar. Con todo, tal vez lo más siniestro de estas Navidades de consumo sea la estética miserable que trajeron consigo: esas tarjetas postales indigentes, esas ristras de foquitos de colores, esas campanitas de vidrio, esas coronas de muérdago colgadas en el umbral, esas canciones de retrasados mentales que son los villancicos traducidos del inglés; y tantas otras estupideces gloriosas para las cuales ni siquiera valía la pena de haber inventado la electricidad.
Todo eso, en torno a la fiesta más espantosa del año. Una noche infernal en que los niños no pueden dormir con la casa llena de borrachos que se equivocan de puerta buscando dónde desaguar, o persiguiendo a la esposa de otro que acaso tuvo la buena suerte de quedarse dormido en la sala. Mentira : no es una noche de paz y de amor, sino todo lo contrario. Es la ocasión solemne de la gente que no se quiere. La oportunidad providencial de salir por fin de los compromisos aplazados por indeseables: la invitación al pobre ciego que nadie invita, a la prima Isabel que se quedó viuda hace quince años, a la abuela paralítica que nadie se atreve a mostrar. Es la alegría por decreto, el cariño por lástima, el momento de regalar porque nos regalan, o para que nos regalen, y de llorar en público sin dar explicaciones. Es la hora feliz de que los invitados se beban todo lo que sobró de la Navidad anterior: la crema de menta, el licor de chocolate, el vino de plátano. No es raro, como sucede a menudo, que la fiesta termine a tiros. Ni es raro tampoco que los niños – viendo tantas cosas atroces- terminen por creer de veras que el niño Jesús no nació en Belén, sino en Estados Unidos.

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Xmas EVE in Paraguay

Christmas-Tree.gif Christmas Tree image by alttransitionI still remember the clerico  we use to drink at Xmas celebration at friends or family houses when I was still living in Paraguay…the smell of flor de coco invading our senses, the xmas tree decorated with cotton on the top simulating snow even if the thermometer hit 40 degrees Celsius.

In Paraguay we celebrate Xmas eve, not Xmas day…we have dinner very late waiting for midnight…then we gather around the tree or in the living room and we open the gifts, they usually are symbolic gifts or at least they use to be, like a cd or something meaningful but not very expensive…

I know people tent to drink too much alcohol there during the festivities, specially xmas and new year, so we always stayed home to avoid accidents (unfortunately they drive drunk specially during holidays people think they have that right)

I recall the kids laughing and enjoying their new toys, they never slept early that night…the music was loud and happy, people were talking loud and complimenting each other…there was food, a lot of eat, we used to have turkey, many of my friends in their houses had asados (barbecues)

Its been 7 years I spend Xmas in cold, today I will have a while Xmas with a lot of snow…just the 4 of us =(

Every year I hope I can spend Xmas in Paraguay again…It just don’t seem possible, but at least for tonight my heart will be there with all my friends and family

Tomorrow I will celebrate Xmas day here and I know it will be also great.

Merry Xmas to all of you, may god bring many blessings to you and yours and I hope this coming year we will reconnect in many way with people that really matters to us!

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Hot Hot very hot

This time of the year is almost unbearable in Paraguay, it is hard to even breath, the hot weather and the lack of rain make most people even sick…my friends complain about this all the time, and I complain about the snow, the storm and the freezing temperatures here, I guess it just in human nature to complain all the time, but sometime too much is too much. My last December in Paraguay was many many years ago, at least 5 and I can’t remember it was really that bad, but things change and also global temperatures as you might have noticed. The fact is that having 45 celsius degrees is not a kids game, it is a serious and dangerous stuff and If you are not very tolerant to hot temperatures please avoid to travel to Py unless you are ready to stay in an air-conditioned room the whole day and night.

The sky is gray, totally covered you cant even see thru it anymore, it is smog perhaps? how sad! well the fact is that people are praying for rain…and I, I’m praying for some shy little sunshine, some suggestion of warm, some hope of happier days.

I’m here now looking out of my window and see all white, big pine trees covered by snow, freezing temperatures, maybe some rain is approaching too…it is hard to believe that down in Paraguay is the total opposite…when they complain about heat I complain about cold…they wish they were here, I wish I was there…both sides of a same coin, isn’t human nature amazing?

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Hair Salons and copycat business in Asuncion

It is incredible the copycat business that you can see in Paraguay, specially in Asuncion, once it was a big boom to open a photocopy place, once one came up with that idea in not time you could see many of the same kind of stores in the same block, that also happened with the called cybercafés there are so many of those, not only in downtown but in regular neighborhoods…internet access is very cheap, i think .50 cents per hours, those places also sell pre paid cellular phone cards, that is very convenient to know.
But what had caught  my attention was the number of beauty and hair salons that are all over the place, I was so amazed by it that I started to count the actually number in Barrio Herrera, in a range of 1.5 blocks from both sides of the street I counted 6 beauty salons and 1 massage salon…and they all have regulars. It is amazing how Paraguayan specially women take care of their personal image, even in tough times they manage to afford to pay for a brushing and have their nails done.
Some of the salons even open very early because some people go to the salon before going to work…and on weekend all salons are literally full, very few people go out a Saturday night
without haven’t taken care of their hair, nails and perhaps a facial.
This is a cultural thing, not only for rich people, woman relax and talk to their beautician, a little gossip here and there is always on the house.
There are neighborhood salons with very cheap prices and also very very expensive salons that are literally unaffordable for the regular person.
In the expensive salons the service is excellent…but they are very expensive I mean around 100$ for a color plus highlights and nails.
Neighborhoods salons on the other hand are very inexpensive feet and hands nails are around 4$ both hands and feet…and brushings are very good made too, the only thing I wouldn’t do there is color perhaps, but the rest is fine, even trimming the ends works great.
Most salons are close on Sundays afternoon and a few even on Mondays.
The only thing I didn’t see what the disinfection station, most places just disinfect their instruments with acetone…which I find dangerous…maybe you can take your own set there…well I never  took my own set but I ask them to disinfect the things in front of me just in case…I’m a bit paranoiac about hygiene but it is just to prevent.

What I love most is the massage salons also everywhere…they are so cheap, around 10$ the hour, and very good massages, I have a masseuse that comes to my place for 10$ the hour and she is literally the best, I love her, her kind of massage here in the us would cost at least 120$, she is just excellent!!!
I really enjoy the non fancy neighborhood salons because they are always open and come handy when you need them.

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Fernando Lugo’s first 100 days as President

This is my post for www.globalvoicesonline.org, many of you know that I’m the blogger representing Paraguay in Global Voices Online which is a project of the University of Harvard.

 

The first 100 days have passed since Paraguay’s elected President Fernando Lugo assumed power last August. Paraguayans were eager for a change, a change that had raised so many expectations from the new President, who was an ex-bishop and from his cabinet. Some bloggers took time to write about the first 100 days of Lugo’s Presidency.

The blog Rescatar [es] compares the first 100 days of Lugo with a Pau D’arco tree (Tajy) saying that people expected to see the blooming flowers on the tree, but they have yet to see them.

No se han visto mucho los cambios pero se han sentido. Para situarlo en un plano botánico a fin de graficar lo que a nuestro juicio aconteció en estos primeros tres meses es que la gente quería ver al Tajy florecer y lo que hizo el árbol fue fortalecer sus raíces para prenderse más fuerte al suelo y evitar que los vientos que han comenzado a soplar lo tumben fácilmente.

Changes have not been seen, but they have been felt. To situate it in a botanical plan, which is what has happened in these three first months, the people wanted to see the Tajy bloom, but instead the tree strengthened its roots in order to make itself stronger in the soil and avoid that the winds would knock it down easily.

Edgar Ruiz Diaz in his blog Las Preguntas de Venerando [es] decided to give Lugo and his Cabinet ratings from 1 to 10 for their 100 first days for their accomplishments.

Presidente Fernando Lugo: El viaje se constituyó en sinónimo de trabajo presidencial porque desde que asumió la Presidencia de la República todas las semanas utiliza uno o más aviones para trasladarse a ciudades del exterior o localidades del interior del país. Con su promesa de traer el cambio al país, transformó algunas modalidades de atención a la gente en ese sentido estableció Mburuvicha Roga como sitio de reuniones con sintechos y sintierras para discutir sobre invasiones. Por sus actitudes, el ex obispo parece haber pensado en serio que un vicepresidente se asemeja al florero sobre un escritorio y pese a sus desaciertos o errores creo que el Jefe de Estado puede mejorar y por eso mi calificación para él es cinco en este post.

President Fernando Lugo: His travels have become synonymous of presidential work because ever since he assumed the Presidency he uses one or more airplanes to travel abroad or to other locations within the country every week. With his promise to bring change to the country, he has transformed some of the modalities of attention and that is why he established Mburuvicha Roga (the presidential house) as a place for meetings to discuss with the homeless and landless peoples regarding the invasions. For his attitude, the ex-bishop appears to have thought seriously that a vice-president resembles a vase on top of a desk, and in spite of his mistakes or errors, I think that the Head of State can improve and because of that I grade him a 5.

Lopez Barrios of El blog de Lopez Barrios [es] says that so far, Lugo has tried to govern his country with pacifism, but things are not going according to plan.

Fernando Lugo según mi manera de ver ha tratado de llevar con cierto grado de pacifismo los rumbos de su patria, la verdad es que al día de la fecha las cosas ya no están pacificas… el caos reina por doquier… y aun cuando nos esforcemos en tener una mirada optimista, la urgente determinación sobre asuntos de seguridad de índole prioritaria brilla por su ausencia.

Fernando Lugo according to my way of seeing things has tried to take the country with a certain degree of pacifism, the truth is that currently things are no so peaceful anymore… the chaos rules… and even when we try harder to have a more positive view, the urgent decisions regarding security matters, which is a priority is absent.

The first days of a new government is a short time to have a conclusive opinion of the government per se, but it is enough time to notice it flaws and its strengths, as many of the country’s bloggers have done. There is no miracle, there is no secret, and it is a process. As any process, it takes time and with the right strategies a lot of hard work and perhaps a bit of luck, the new President is hoping that the country will overcome the flaws and make of this country a prosperous nation once again.

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Paraguayan Sterling Silver Filigree Jewelry make great Christmas gifts

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Have you considered a original and exclusive Paraguayan handmade Sterling Silver filigree jewelry to give to a special one for Xmas?

If so please check one of my sites: 

http://stores.ebay.com/helenavoigt_Paraguayan-Filigree-Jewelry_W0QQcolZ4QQdirZ1QQfsubZ16040878QQftidZ2QQtZkm   (ebay store)

My main store Larimoon:

http://www.larimoon.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4

Most of the jewelry is designed by me (Helena Voigt) and handmade by many Paraguayan families from Luque, this is a great way to purchase something original, handmade using a very hard technique and most of the jewelry is one of a kind, very hard to find elsewhere.

I hope you like my designs =)

Thanks for taking a look!!

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Asuncion Paraguay Vacation Rental

While in Paraguay I have noticed that the hotels are expensive and always full, some are very very expensive around 300$ a night which is ridiculous…and there are also many nice places where you can’t even find a hotel or a place to stay, which is a pity. So, I came up with the idea of convincing my mom to rent a part of her house, so she did and had a great experience with that, people like it there because is well located and cozy, it has a private entrance and it ideal for people that don’t want to stay in hotels.

Her place is very well located in Barrio Herrera, close to shopping del sol and Mariscal Lopez shopping, has air-conditioning, tv, high speed internet (wireless), it has a remote controlled gate entrance and parking space, private entrance (she lives in the other part of the house), a kitchenette with all utensils to cook, laundry, the room is pretty big is like a small apartment with everything you need to feel like home, sleep 4 or more if you need.

Price: 50$ a night (4 people). 65$ a night (up to 6 people) + small cleaning fee, not tax. Minimum 3 nights stay. Weekly rates available.

And the best of all is that you will have a real Paraguayan experience so much different than to stay in a hotel, you will walk around the neighborhood and maybe even do your nails or have a massage in salons near by half block away. You can enjoy a coffee and Medialunas Calentitas or Cafe Havanna (it is walking distance) just short 7 blocks away.

This is the best option for your stay in Asuncion, comfortable, inexpensive and different.

Please Contact me for more information!

 

sala muttisala mutti2 bano mutti 

piscina mutti sala mutti3pieza mutti3

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