Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hey! I've been there! First El Salvador Visit

 For the last 9 years I have heard a lot about a "sunny little country south of Mexico" And now I can finally say I have been there!  My first impression of El Salvador reminded me a lot of Pennsylvania because of the humid air and the intense green everywhere,but that's where it ended mostly because of the Latins and the foreign language.      
As we drove from the Airport to the city of San Salvador, there were people everywhere! From guards with big machine guns to women and children with baskets on their heads. Did I mention we are driving on a freeway?  As we get into the city the traffic is crazy!  I don't think I even blinked for the first hour I was so excited to be seeing all this. Ben navigated the city streets like a pro!
   Ben was meeting with some of his employees at a Wendy's that morning and he sent me to order food so he could start the meeting I think he forgot that I don't speak Spanish!  I can speak and understand enough to survive but I came back with some drinks I didn't realize I had ordered. It was good for me I'm sure.
     Next we went house hunting! We saw some great houses and some great apartments, (with amazing views!) we also saw some not so great houses. All the houses and apartments there have a maids quarters. Which is the same size as a walk in closet.  I had just seen "The Help" and could not wrap my mind around the whole Maid Idea. We picked our favorites and hopefully will sign papers soon!
     Now its time for me to eat a real papusas!  We went with Jackie and Mark to a Papusaria in San Salvador.  wow!  Papusas are made by taking corn tortilla dough and making a kind of cal-zone, is the only way I know how to describe it, with shredded meat and the most wonderful cheese I have ever had!  It has to be grilled just right not too crispy not too soft. Amazing!  It was fun to eat right there on the street with the locals during a tropical storm!  Jackie is from Guatemala and she and I hit it off and even though it we speak a lot of Spanglish I think we will be great friends! (Mark is her husband and is helping get the call center all set up down there.)
   The next day we were able to attend the cultural event leading up to the temple dedication.  It was so moving!  I was amazed at the pride they have in their country and their heritage. They told their story through dance and song and I had the distinct feeling of being in the right place at the right time. What a blessing! I have so much to learn from this adventure.
   The next day we attended the temple dedication. It was all in Spanish and I had to concentrate really hard to be able to understand, but the spirit of the event was still there.  President Eyring said the dedicatory prayer and now El Salvador has a working temple!
    Ben and I drove to the ruins that afternoon and I loved learning about the people who were here so long  ago. One of the artifacts on display was a child's footprint perfectly preserved.  Amazing!
   Next we drove up to EL Congo and Santa Ana.  Both are places that Ben spent a lot of time In while serving his mission there. I'm not gonna lie I was a nervous because I have never seen anything like it.  Many people have propped up some aluminum siding for a roof and a blue tarp for walls and that is where they live. In my mind it is impossible to live that way, like camping all the time. They grow their own food and sell what they can to each other and its not impossible, but I would not last a day. I felt very small.
At the cultural event.

Now I have one of those pictures in front of a foreign church!  

Jackie and I having a blast trying to communicate.

Amazing!

My best friend!