the last little while....

Last night my whole family, including Nicole and Heather and Matt were sitting in the living room together. We were listening to Jack Johnson, choice by Bayley, eating old Halloween candy (I don't know why it was still in the cupboard), trying on bright red lipstick and passing around good house ideas we found in the magazines on the coffee table. It wasn't much, but I was reminded of why I missed my home so much when I was away. However, in my abroadness, I also discovered the poignancy in found families. A group of people who's lives you intersect with later in life who learn to love you and you them, just the same.

I thought a lot about my mission on my trip, I thought of the families in the dirt streeted, shackle-housed neighborhoods of salto and how for a time they were my family. Mario showed me the videos and pictures from his mission in Honduras and I felt how much he loved them. I also loved Mario's dear family, the several dinner parties they threw in my honor (latins just have a way), two welcome dinners, a halfway there dinner, and a goodbye dinner, and i was only there a week and a half.

I think this trip I was struck not by the differences in culture or place, but rather absorbed and fascinated by the similarities. I learned once again the lesson that people are just people, everywhere.

Here are a few highlights from the trip:

1. being in downtown san salvador and seeing two boys from the school I taught at 4 years ago, we both recognized each other immediately. I was so happy to talk to them, I was giddy all day. They told me that they've never had another group that loved them so much since our group. They invited me back to the school and we went, the painting we did was still on the wall and a lot of the same boys. To be there in that little school with 43 younger kids all running around made me want to leave everything else and work there for the rest of my life.

2. Riding on a sardine-packed old school bus with 100 salvadorians who all know the words to the reggaton song the driver is blasting. Mario said one day, "you don't live in the city in a car, to know your city you ride with the people." I really like that.

3. Pupusas!!! Beans!!! Fried Bananas and cream!!!!

4. Bargain clothes shopping one day with mario and his mom. One of the funnier experiences. At one point I found my self at a trough of clothes around which an expert crew of El Salvadorian ladies were rifling through at rapid speeds, tossing used clothes over and under shoulders. Mario and I timidly began (he being a recently returned missionary and repeatedly holding up white collared shirts and asking me what I thought, and me, not a very good shopper in the first place and very dependent on my mom's skills). I however will say that between the two of us, I found a lovely dress, a skirt, a polka-dotted shirt and some shorts, all for 50 cents.

5. The rain. You cannot believe how much it rains. I was somehow confused into thinking that it was summer there and brought one long sleeve shirt and one crappy old sweatshirt, turns out, it's the middle of winter and rather nippy. It rained for 5 days straight, and not just a little. In fact, the little patio attached to mario's living room had a clogged drain so we spent a couple days running water out in buckets at intervals and inventing contraptions to try and unclog the pipes. I, of course, couldn't stop laughing when I stopped and surveyed the whole situation (something I inherited from my dad) and pretty soon everyone was soaking wet and laughing as well. It was at that point that mario and i decided to forego a long-awaited sunday nap and walk in the rain, which was much more exciting.

6. Poetry readings in the park, symphony in a mall parking garage, the most incredible vegetarian restaurant I've ever been to, going to the guatemala temple in a chicken bus, seeing indian jones on opening night for 1.50 (with chris and I sitting in the middle of a very boistrous latin american crowd who randomly yelled out comments and who were very excited when halfway through the film stopped and the curtains and lights closed and opened for about 5 minutes, chris and i couldn't stop laughing.)

7. This was an important trip for me. I suppose my life may change because of it, in future tense. But in past tense, my life did change because of it, God has his ways of showing us the importance of his gospel, and centered in that plan, is family. I understood on this trip just how big that family can be.


j cubed said...

I miss you so much!!

Patricia said...

oh ashmae. itallsoundssodelightful.

darcie said...

that was lovely.

Caitlin said...

Ash, I loved reading about your life-changing trip. It makes me so stoked about my future life-changing journeys...