Not quite like America


We just received one more small shipment of items from the United States.  We’ve been here over ten months and are still receiving shipments.  The reason is that my wife started working full time here and went to the states late last year for a few months of training.  Her household and personal items are still arriving via ship.  As such, we haven’t quite moved in completely even though we’re approaching the half-way point in our journey here.  I still have not finished hanging wall hangings like photos, tapestries, and pictures, leaving the house with a half-finished look and feel.  I wish I could hammer in a few nails and hang them up, but it isn’t that easy. 
 
Homes here in Paraguay are made with brick.  The walls don’t have soft materials such as insulation, wood frames, or sheetrock.  Nope, the walls are just brick with rebar reinforcements.  As such, hanging wall hangings requires drilling holes, inserting plastic anchors, and screwing in screws that serve as hangers.  I finally found a store that sells what I need and bought a few packages last night.  As is frequently the case here, finding things such as plastic anchors with screw sets is a logistical challenge (usually word of mouth and trial and error).  There are no Home Depot or Lowe’s stores around the corner.  I went to three places looking for these items and finally found some hanger sets in a grocery store.  Go figure.  Now that I have them, I need to get to work.  That will take a few hours of measuring, drilling, hammering, screwing, and hanging.  Inconvenience and spending extra time to do things that aren’t that difficult to do in the states is just one reason why I miss the United States.
 
Let me give you another example to illustrate my point.  Our bicycles arrived with the latest shipment.  I was trying to prep the tires but could not find a tire pressure guage at home that works (we have two, and they’re broken).  I’ve been to four stores here locally, including two tire shops, a bicycle shop, and a home store, and none of them sell a tire pressure guage.  I asked one store clerk what Paraguayans do to measure tire pressure, and he responded, "We go to the gas station."  OK, well, that’s fine for a car.  But what if you want to measure the tire pressure of a bicycle tire?  I guess the answer would be, "Go to Argentina!"
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