The last time I spent six months in El Salvador, I was six-months old. Since leaving the motherland when I was a year and a half, I have returned every couple of years, usually staying at the farm of my abuelos for at most, two months at a time. Last week Monday, I arrived in San Salvador at the Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport, greeted by sunny skies, 87 degree humid weather, and my mom’s bright smile and warm embrace. The plan is stay here for the next six months, or as I’ve been thinking about it recently, 23 weeks. How did I arrive at this decision?
Shortly after returning from Chile in March, my mother informed me that my uncle, who shared the responsibility of taking care of the abuelos with her, was moving to the United States. I knew my mother, who has her own health issues, could use some help in caring for my grandparents. My grandfather who has Parkinson’s disease and my grandmother who has dementia and is nearly blind, both require round the clock care. I wanted to be there for them and I also felt a longing to complete a special, creative project with my abuelos that I started a year and a half ago.
I prayed about it, sought advice from my mom, and using questions from The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, came up with worst case scenarios, steps to repair the damage and get back on track, and potential positive outcomes and benefits. On April 12th, with eager anticipation and thoughts of “it will all work out somehow” I booked my flight to El Salvador, departing early July and returning mid-December.
In the three months prior to leaving for El Salvador, in what some may call sheer determination or just plain insanity, I was back in the great outdoors, working as a teacher for Nature’s Classroom, an environmental education program in the Northeast. My time at Nature’s Classroom was most certainly a memorable experience. And this time, thankfully, there were no major sciatica flare-ups. Though it was difficult to stay away from the never-ending candy bowl in the living room, I was diligent about doing my physical therapy exercises and making the necessary accommodations when needed.
Following my bliss has taken me to many interesting places these past three years and now it’s taken me back to where it all began in El Salvador. While I’ll be here helping care for my grandparents, I also look forward to, over the next six months, sharing this place that is a special part of my childhood. I’d like to know, do you have a place that brings back fond memories from your childhood? I’d also love to read about some fond memories with your grandparents. Please share in the comments below. Have a great week friends!