My Crazy, New Life in El Salvador

A rooster wakes me up every morning at 4:30 AM. 

I have no idea why this happens every morning, without fail, at 4:30 AM.

One day I will kill this rooster and I will put it in a soup and I will eat it and it will be delicious and I will start sleeping past 4:30 AM. IMG_3201

A week ago I never would have thought I would dream about killing a rooster. 

Then again, a year ago I never would have dreamed that I would be living in an extremely rural part of El Salvador for two years. 

Here is what I am still adjusting to and what I love about my new life in El Salvador. 

What I am still adjusting to: 

  • Using buckets of cold water for showers every morning. At first the water made me want to scream but it’s getting a little easier day by day.
  • The noise! People have no problem blasting their radios at 6:00 AM. This is completely normal, standard behavior.
  • My host family thinks I am a giant; my host grandmother called her daughter who is working in Denver just to tell her about how big my feet are.
  • There are giant-four-inch-long cockroaches. These cockroaches can fly.IMG_3206
  • A scorpion gave babies in my friend’s pants. I am afraid this will happen to me.
  • Salvadorian food is delicious but super carb-heavy. I am afraid I will gain weight here from eating so much tortillas, pan, and sweet bread.
  • Sleeping in a mosquito net at night gets pretty hot.
  • Learning Spanish is hard. In the placement test I was put in level 5 (Intermediate-Mid) of ten levels. I am at the level that Peace Corps volunteers need to be sworn in but communicating in Spanish is still difficult because I have trouble expressing exactly what I want to say.
  • There are really only two kinds of alcohol-drinkers here: people who don’t drink and bolos (people who get shit-faced drunk). Bolos are the worst.

What I love: 

  • Washing dishes in the backyard at night while watching lightning flash over the mountains that border Honduras.
  • Being wrapped up in hammocks. It’s like a hug that doesn’t stop until you get out. Hammocks are everywhere here. IMG_3205
  • Eating pupusas (AKA best food ever).
  • There is a good chance I will buy a horse here for $300 and ride it around in the jungle every day once I am assigned a site.
  • Everything here is so much cheaper- lunch is about $2-$3 and bus tickets are 65 cents.
  • Swimming in waterfalls in the middle of the jungle is the best feeling ever.
  • Watching “Vampire Diaries” with my host sister at 7 PM in Spanish every night. When there is kissing on the show my host grandmother always covers her eyes because she thinks its inappropriate for people to kiss before marriage.
  • Salvadorian women have the most beautiful, kind smiles.
  • Everyone says “Good morning” and “Good afternoon” to everyone, even if they are complete strangers. After saying “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” people have the biggest smiles on their faces. It always brightens my day.
  • Drinking four cups of dark, rich coffee every day- I love coffee so much!
  • Having time to breath; the pace of life is so much slower here that I have time to be more appreciative of everything.

El Salvador is a vibrant country. Life here is harder but the people are surprisingly happier here than the States. I am learning a ton and am feeling really excited to be here for the next two years. 


2 thoughts on “My Crazy, New Life in El Salvador

  1. Hi Julie, I think I met that same rooster when I lived in a small village in Columbia in 1972, and by the way I had the same shower, as I recall I wanted a wet suit to bath in but how could I use soap? As far as the people, also the same, there is a universal principal here….if you have the basics: food, shelter, family, less stuff=more time to love.

    Keep loving your life!


    Sent from Windows Mail

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