My, my, my. I posted a blog entry three days in a row. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. 🙂 Maybe I’m finally getting a life. Or perhaps it’s because the Paraguayan election ended last Saturday. Either way, it feels good to back writing away. I missed this blog. I always had it in mind to come back and write but did not have the wherewithall to do it. So here I am at long last.
Our son’s birthday is coming soon, and we’re in full birthday planning mode (I’ll write a family update entry soon). My wife and I talked about what to do for him. Of course, she has been taking the lead on the birthday preparations; bless her heart. We’re finding the options prohibitively expensive. She told me tonight that the option she was looking at will cost over US$600. Another option would cost about US$800. I love my son dearly, but common sense tells me that that is a lot of money. The weakening dollar does not help matters. Two years ago the U.S. dollar was 50 percent stronger against the Paraguayan guarani than it is now, so the options are much more expensive than in the past. Granted, Paraguayan children’s birthday parties tend to be lavish affairs (depending on your income level). Girls’ 15th birthday parties (quinceaños) are especially grandiose. For US$600, one can rent an entire building–there are quite a few "fun places" that host birthday parties. Chuck ‘E’ Cheese and McDonald’s Birthday Room they are not. You get far more here for your money.
Still, I do not relish keeping up with the Duartes. The people that host these lavish birthday parties tend to be more affluent and have a lot of discretionary money to spend. Interestingly, they tend to spend the money without trying to one-up each other. My son attends birthday parties three or four times per month and goes to the same "fun places" with the same 30 or so children over and over…and over. I’m not interested in having a birthday party to please my son’s friends or their parents. I would rather give my son something more memorable that costs a lot less. Last year he had a wonderful birthday party in our apartment complex in Virginia. I am leaning toward having a more intimate party here at home with a barbeque, presents, cake, prizes for the kids, a piñata, and "globos locos" — large, blow up amusements. My son will have a party he won’t forget if for nothing else than it will be different than the overpriced ones he attends almost weekly.