It's been nearly three weeks and already so much has happened! Rather than give you a laundry list, I have some scrollable photos below. And then there's what you can't see in the photos - being surrounded by Spanish, discovering "the vegetable lady" where you can fill four bags of produce for $8, trying to surf for the first time followed by the world's best fish burrito, or listening to the torrential rain bounce off the tamarind tree while I work.
Beyond just living in an entirely different language, there's the slang. Amid all the Salvadoran words, there's two you should know. "Chivo" means cool. Use it often. The second is "tranqui" (short for "tranquila" or calm). I like it because it also sounds like tranquilizer.
My housemate Stefano tells me at least 3 times a day, "tranqui Anna... tranqui" because I, the American, am learning to adapt to a world where everything does not operate on my minute-to-minute schedule. I expected to be continually frustrated, but have found that there is an incredible joy and adventure to be found in spontaneity and flexibility.
On Monday, I went to capoeira class (did I mention I found a capoeira group?!) only to find that the teacher wasn't there. He had no cell phone or way to communicate if he would show up... so eventually I left with the other students. Suddenly I had a free evening, and was invited to the friend's home where I met his adorable son, their adorable dog, and drank a delicious cup of coffee offered to me by his professional juggling housemate. And we proceeded to speak in Spanish for the next several hours, listening to the sounds of the rain and watching the dog chew on balloons until they popped.
I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.
Preparing lunch with the girls from CoEscucha - a group of expats that meets once every few weeks to recoup and talk about our challenges, our gratitudes, and of course, to eat.
Two of my wonderful housemates, Bianca and Olivia
The garden where two of our friends celebrated their baby shower
Of course, it's not a baby shower unless you hang diapers from the cieling
... or if the father-to-be doesn't give a saxophone recital
These are photos from the latest trip to El Carmen, one of the communities where Cristosal is working on rebuilding the road, forming a water association, and starting the El Carmen Chicken Company! You can find out more about El Carmen and the work Cristosal is doing here.
The president of the community association in El Carmen, Noah, Director of Cristosal, and Kenia, one of the lawyers on Cristosal's staff.
A quick side note: The man on the left was one of the two that helped push Noah's truck from the muddy depths of El Carmen's road in the middle of a torrential rainstorm. Without him, we very well might still be trying to get back to San Salvador.
Practicing capoeira at the local University at sunset (yes, that is a volcano in the background)
In the absence of a dryer, we hang all the dirty laundry in what I affectionately call "the jungle"
Buen provecho! (The Salvadoran version of bon appetit!)