Issi was greeted at Asuncion's International Airport by her grandparents as well as her younger cousins. Her adrenalin was running so high that jet lag did not set in until a few hours later, luckily coinciding with nighttime.
She had prepared a blueprint to follow, postponing all social family engagements. Her name change was her priority. Comments such as "Eaziley, you are beautiful" strengthened her resolve.
One of her girlfriends decided to be her guide and did the rounds of obtaining photocopies of birth certificate, all necessary forms for intent of name change and the tax stamps that have to be pasted on most documents -- a very common practice in Latin American official administrative procedures.
Not many people speak English in Paraguay. Issi was unlucky enough to present her petition in an office attended by multi-lingual personnel. Her petition brought about a few smiles and one honest laugh-out-loud of someone. Rather than showing anger, she smiled and joined the laughter that followed.
"It could have been worse," she said. "But I'd better not give an example." "I would have asked for a name change, too," a female secretary said.
"Will it take too long?" Issi asked.
"Honey, in your case you'll have your new ID card tomorrow and your new passport the day after," was the answer she heard.
During the following days, the girl was taken on a tour of some new tourist attractions in Asunción. The way matters were unfolding her cousins set a schedule of social gatherings that were going to keep her very busy. She kept in mind that a very important task remained upon returning to Torrance and asked to be taken to a nice gym to keep with her body-shaping routine.
She caused somewhat of a stir when her presence was noticed at the gym. Her height was the main attention catcher. To her six feet was added her natural beauty and, by this time, a figure that promised to be perfect according to the modern standards of Latin American girls.
The same day, Issi was approached by a very polite and attractive lady who asked if she was Paraguayan. When she heard the affirmative answer, she asked the girl if she would be interested in participating in the next Miss Paraguay for Miss Universe Contest.
"I live in the United States, and I will be returning home in a few days," Issi responded. "Do you think you could come back and spend three months in Asuncion? During that
time all contestants will be trained. I'm pretty sure you could win."
"Can I sleep on it?" Issi asked.
"Of course… I hope you'll say yes by tomorrow."
"Could it be in the evening? I have something important to finish before I can make a decision."
Everything was moving too fast, Issi thought, but she was used to making quick decisions. "If I really get my name change tomorrow, I'll take it as a good omen and I'll accept the beauty pageant invitation," she thought.
That night, Issi partied for as long as her cousins wanted, mainly to take her mind away from the legal windmill already in motion. obooko.