Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Getting to El Salvador

Monday, 2-7-11

Alisha and Matt

Alisha with her parents

It’s been a long, hard day. I woke up around 3:30am before the alarm went off. I laid in bed and snuggled my cat and Matt. I didn’t want to the alarm to go off. I wanted a few more hours to spend at home. But 3:50am quickly rolled around and we had to get up. We threw on some clothes and were ready to go to the airport at 4:15am. I smothered the cat with kisses. I was so sad to say goodbye to her. I love animals just as much as I love people. My mom broke the tense mood by telling Matt that the cat would probably be getting more kisses then either of them. Ha ha ha! I gave them plenty!

At the airport I quickly got my tickets and checked my bags. Then it was time to head over to the “goodbye” area. I had my picture taken with both my parents and Matt. They walked me to the escalators and I gave them all hugs and kisses. Then I asked for “one more” hug and kiss from everyone. I always want one more hug and kiss. After my last hugs and kisses I went up the escalator and waved goodbye to my family. I tried hard not to cry.

Soon I was going through security and someone had to look through my bag. We boarded the plane right on time. Our pilot was unusually chipper for it being 5:30 in the morning. But I think that’s a good thing. For most of the flight I dozed off and on. I vaguely remember getting some pretzels and eating them, then falling back asleep. We arrived on time in Atlanta and I made my way to the next terminal. After about a half hour we board the plane for San Salvador. The person I was sitting next to lived in the US but had family in El Salvador. We chatted for a while but soon I was asleep again. I completely missed the complimentary beverage and snack. Before I knew it we had landed in San Salvador around 1:00pm.

I got in the line to go through customs and immigration. There was an unusually large amount of white people in line so I had to wait about 45 minutes. But I got through and quickly found my luggage. Yay! I am always worried that my luggage is going to get lost. I went outside and saw Alfredo waiting for me. He called his friend who drives a cab to pick us up. He told me he was worried about me because it took me so long to get outside. I told him there was a long line of gringos inside that held me up. He laughed. His cabbie friend pulled up shortly and we were off for Los Pinos Guest House.

Alfredo sat in the backseat with me and we talked the whole way there. I was excited because my Spanish skills need to be exercised. I’m just glad I could understand most everything he was saying. It’s nice to be able to have a conversation with someone. We talked about what it was like when he drives other people who aren’t a part of the Our Sister Parish mission. He said sometimes they don’t understand the history of the country and the events that are so important to the people here. I told him that my parents and husband would be visiting in late May and that we’d definitely be going to the important culture sites. We chatted more about the importance of getting to know the people of El Salvador and the important sites it has to offer.

Before I knew it we had arrived. They carried my luggage inside and up to my room for me. What amazing, nice people!! A comfortable car, good conversation, great service; Alfredo and his friend are so kind and polite. It really made my first hour in the country relaxed and happy. I paid them and said goodbye, telling Alfredo I’d see him tomorrow. Bety, the woman who works here, told me she needed to put sheets on the beds and that I should go relax in the hammock. I sounded like a fantastic idea to me. I grabbed my MP3 player so I could listen to my book tape, but soon I fell asleep in the hammock. I woke up after a half hour or so and decided to do some things in my room. But again, I fell asleep on my bed.

Bety came to wake me up for dinner around 6:15pm. I thanked her, telling her I felt better after taking a nap. Dinner was rice, chicken, bread, and salad. I ate it all but didn’t feel particularly hungry. After dinner I asked Bety if there was any way I could use my computer to connect to the internet. She said yes, and after several minutes we figured out how. Yay! That meant I got to blog!

I laid down in bed upstairs in my room and wrote my first blog: Goodbyes. I felt sad writing it. It’s hard being alone my first night here. In some ways I like it because I’m free to nap wherever, do whatever, and spend time relaxing. But on the other hand, I’m really lonely and miss my family a lot. It’s hard to look at pictures of my family because I miss them so much right now. I have a card from Matt and one from my parents that I haven’t opened yet because I’m afraid I’ll just burst into tears. I don’t think it’s quite sunk in how long I’m going to be here. It feels like I’ll be back home with family and my cat after a couple months. I wonder how I’ll feel in a few days.

A bit of good news: my hip hasn’t been bothering me too much since I got here. I’ve had bursitis in my left hip since October and it’s been throwing all sorts of curveballs at me. I feel like I’ve been going insane these past couple months worrying about my hip and trying remedy after remedy to reduce the pain and inflammation. But right now it’s feeling okay. And I think that’s a god omen.

Around 10pm I put on the DVD “Big Trouble” on my computer to watch. It’s a hilarious movie based on a Dave Barry book. I needed a break from thinking about traveling, missing family, lesson planning, worrying about things, etc. The movie made me laugh and relax. I also got an email from my husband, which made happy. Now it’s time for bed. I know I’ll sleep very soundly tonight!

1 comment:

Matt said...

I'm so glad your trip went well and that getting through customs wasn't so bad. I am also thrilled to hear that your hip is feeling better. Hopefully that will help you feel better in general. Monday was a hard day, saying goodbye for a while, but I know you will have a wonderful time.