Today our backyard looks like this:
And I didn’t open the door to take the photo because the temperature looks like this:
Who wants frostbite on a Thursday morning? Not me!
So I decided to warm things up today by doing a throwback to a trip I took with my Oma to the other side of the equator, where winter is still very far off.
In early 2010, I learned that my Oma was interested in going to Paraguay to visit her family members who were still there, but being 75, she did not want to go alone. I gladly volunteered 6 weeks of my spring to head down there with her! I was interested to learn about my Mennonite roots that came from down there (this post isn’t a history lesson. I am not good at those. It’s just a pictorial account of our time there).
We mostly stayed in Asuncion where one of her brothers and his family lives. They have a couple girls about my age (he was a half brother), so we got to hang out and they showed me around town and stuff.
Oma and me in the backyard of the house where we stayed.
Afternoons were spent on the back patio enjoying terere, ice cream and frozen mangoes from their backyard tree. Delicious!
My uncle manning the BBQ that we enjoyed multiple times.
Oma and her brothers who still live in Paraguay. The age difference is because of a second marriage which is a story unto itself.
My cousins and I on a downtown excursion. This is their government building, if I remember correctly.
A street merchant made our names out of wire. I never felt so tall in my life!
Some of our time was spent in other little towns around the country, where my Oma’s brothers live.
On the road to Volendam.
They have large anthills.
Can we take a moment to compare the home of a Mennonite…
…to that of a native Paraguayan?
I milked a cousin’s cow.
Love this one.
Next up was Friesland where my Oma grew up. This was her home (now vacant), which they shared with the livestock.
She showed me how as children, they painted the bottom of the house with mud.
We made a trip to the cemetery where her young sister was laid to rest.
Interesting story: See the really old plot amung the newer ones? It is the grave of an adulterer or a murderer or something, and was originally outside the cemetery gates. Over time they had to expand and that is why it is now inside the gate.
We also went to the Chaco, which was the land that was originally given to the Mennonites when they immigrated to Paraguay,
These trees and camels have something in common.
We visited the little museum. I believe this photo is the group of immigrants my Oma’s dad came over with.
We did act like regular tourists for part of our trip too. We visited Iguazu Falls! It is probably one of the most beautiful places I have seen in person. When I first heard that we were going to do a two day tour, I was a little skeptical. What on earth would we do at a waterfall for 2 days?! But when I got there, I understood. One day you spend on the Argentina side walking along paths and bridges that are through the jungle and on top of the water and the other day you are on the Brazil side looking across the river at the falls. It was amazing!
Day 1: Argentina side
There were many friendly butterflies.
Standing in Argentina, looking at corners of Brazil and Paraguay.
Day 2: Brazil
My Oma has another brother who lives in Brazil, so we spent some time there as well.
Interesting trees on the way there.
Oma, her brother and her nephew.
The street on which my great uncle lives.
And we will conclude with just some miscellaneous photos.
Me in a mango tree! I was very sad we went at the end of the fruit’s season.
Red dirt road.
Why not nap while travelling from point A to point B?
I had a wonderful time, and am so thankful for this opportunity I had to travel with my Oma to a place that is so familiar to her.