Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Paraguayan Birthday

One of the biggest aspects of Paraguayan culture is the consumption of terrere, a cold tea made from yerba mate. Paraguay is the only country that drinks mate in this way, and it is sort of a symbol of national pride. Jesse wrote a post about terrere early last year (Terrere).

When the weather here gets hot, there is nothing better than drinking ice cold terrere. Every day, you see Paraguayans sitting, relaxing, drinking their terrere. It really is the main way the majority of the population who can’t afford a/c, are able to cool off a little during the summer months. Thermos (thermos used to hold the ice, water, limes, and whatever else you add to the water), guampas (special cup used to hold the yerba), and bombillas (special straws with a filter on the end so that you don’t suck up the yerba leaves) are sold everywhere around the city. There are jewjos (special herb) stands all around the city that sell fresh herbs to add to your terrere.

I started drinking terrere with some of the other teachers last year, bought a bombilla and guampa but I never got a thermo. I was jealous of all the other teachers with their beautiful, hand-stitched leather thermos, but I never got around to going to the leather store and picking mine out.

Well, Jesse, being the wonderful boyfriend that he is, he knew of my desire for a beautiful, leather thermo. He took Danielle to the leather store; they collaborated, and designed my birthday gift together.

Isn’t it beautiful? I realize to most of you who are not in Paraguay cannot realize how important this gift is, and you might even think it’s a little silly, all of my carrying on. However, once the weather turns warmer, I will be using this thermo daily. And you can guarantee that I will be bringing this back to Wisconsin with me next July, and enjoying ice cold terrere at the Cabin and at Hodag.

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