Take-Aways from a Trip to the States   Leave a comment

Last November I went the states for a month-long trip to visit “everyone.” Friends from Boston had been asking when I’d visit for some time, and my Mother and sisters wanted to see me. So I mapped out a month, apportioning almost 11 days for Boston, to see friends and in-laws, and even got to see my sister outside of Baltimore on a flight cheaper than a dinner out with a taxi cab in Baltimore! Turns out Boston was a marathon, and I ran out of time to see everyone! How blessed am I that 10 full days was not enough to see everyone. I am now more aware of how many friends I have there, and feel very loved.

The visits on either side of Boston were less rushed, and more relaxing. But after living in “another world” for over a year now, the states now felt “weird”. Here are some observations on what feels different or strange:

Many people are stressed out. A constant rush, coupled with serious financial worry impacts many of my friends in Boston. Two couples with one or more children are paying for ‘small business/your on your own pal’ health insurance; the cheaper of the two plans was $1200 a month to cover 2 people and an infant. WOW. That’s like renting an entire apartment in Boston right now.

Healthcare in El Salvador? Just as in the U.S. no one is denied service. In El Salvador you do have to show up at the ‘right ‘ hospital based on your state or private medical insurance [or lack thereof] status. The primary difference? In El Salvador there is usually a clinic or hospital you can go to where you will not receive a gigantum bill afterwards. The adage “You Get what you Pay for” dictates the level of service and wait time for procedures, which deteriorate for consumers at the lowest level of the medical food chain.

What’s up with the Water? Or at least where I saw staying in Florida: I think every time I showered I was doused in a chemical bath. Skin problems galore – yikes! I will say it’s a far cry from the Boston water we are spoiled with from the reservoir, so this is not necessarily an international thing. My skin breathed a sigh of relief when I returned here.

There is something TERRIBLY WRONG with the sun here! This was a Boston experience. Not quite at the equator, but close enough, I’m now accustomed to the sun being smack dab in the middle of the sky for a good 3 or 4 hours mid-day. On an afternoon trip in Boston, I kept staring up into the sky and intermittently cleaning my glasses. WHAT in the heck is going on here? There is something wrong with the LIGHT here, I kept saying to myself. A closer observation revealed the source of the problem: the sun is extremely SLANTED in the sky! Someone very big, perhaps some deity, has played a joke on the people here, and has grabbed the sun and moved it clear out of its proper place in the sky. Not funny, bug guy, now can you put it back where it belongs? It was like the difference between sitting under an old fashioned, buzzing, blue fluorescent light versus a warm incandescent bulb. It just doesn’t feel right.

My two friends on the flight back. ( Blog in progress. to be continued…)

Posted January 26, 2011 by El Salvador from the Inside in Living in El Salvador

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