Three Years, Three Suitcases   10 comments

I have some big news to report.   My husband and I are moving back to the United States.   In fact, our move is halfway there,  – I flew back in on September 7, and my other half – husband – arrives late tonight.

Photo by digitallatina, on

Some of you dear readers are new to my blog, thanks to the wonderful and surprising press I got at the Daily Post here at WordPress.   I didn’t have the heart to tell anyone yet, and well heck, though it’s ironic to get the PR just as we were moving back, I sure wasn’t going to turn it down!

For those who did not see it yet – I’ll toot my horn since I never do – I’m about 3/4 down the page:

El Salvador from the Inside makes it on Daily News

Also, as my husband was ready to throw my laptop in the river (a bit too much time on the computer, eh?), I did not keep you up to date during the move.

I am still coming to grips with the return “home” – as my definition of home has changed so much.

It was standard move, as much as you can call a “move” via airplane.   One detail that kept ringing in my head was:     Three Years, Three Suitcases.

Before moving to El Salvador, I was fortunate to know  someone who transported cars and large belongings, and he moved 200 pounds of my stuff on one of his trips for only $2 a pound (he doesn’t do it anymore, bummer).    For  my return, I so smartly (not!) chose Spirit Airlines for the trip back.  Not only did I get to leave at the brisk hour of 1:00 am, but I was contained to 40 pounds per suitcase.  Maybe not the best move to save 150 bucks or so.   My husband chided me as I got on and off the scale, repeatedly, for a week and a half, agonizing about leaving a book behind to bring jewelry, or shoes instead.   I laughed while talking with my husband in these recent days, as he, too, had to make ‘executive decisions’ based on weight – we decided on United for his return flight, giving him 10 more pounds a bag.

How do you move three years of your life back with you in three suitcases?   Easy, most of it is memories!   Though the decisions about what to bring back were painful, what cannot fit into the suitcase is what I will miss the most.

The constant sunshine, pretty much every day.  El Salvador beats the the “Sunshine State” of Florida hands down.  The sound of the river down the hill, and roosters crowing at intervals throughout the day and night.   The never-ending supply of cool and colorful insects and plants.  Our family, so close by, and our neighbors and friends who became family to us.  Greetings given and received by people on the street whether they know you or not – including “Buen Provecho” when someone passes your table in a restaurant as they enter.    The warmth and smiles of vendors we saw daily.   The undying happiness and generosity that lives inside of Salvadorans who have so little, and share so much without a gripe.

Is the move back to the States Permanent?

We certainly hope not.   Our plan was always to return to the States within a few years, my husband especially, for better prospects in the construction industry.   Had we set up a business, we may have stayed longer, perhaps permanently.  Retiring in El Salvador is a dream of ours.  I kept telling my neighbors in Agua Caliente (Chalatenango) that I’m going to come back and buy a cattle ranch – and “Primero Dios” (God Willing, as they say there), it will happen.   Not a bad segue down the road between life in full time employment and complete do-nothing retirement in ones late 70’s.   Why not run a farm with employees happy to help and work for you, that gives you a small income and something to do?   You can grow it as large or small as you like.

What about El Salvador from the Inside?

Well, for starters, if I pull out and tackle my backlog of diary entries starting with the “early days” when we first lived with the outlaws (err, I mean in-laws) , I’d have a good 50 entries.  So don’t worry, I still have lot’s of material to share with you.

Secondly, life in El Salvador continues, and as our family and friends there share their experiences with us, which we will share with you.  Our visits (with hopefully some extended stays!) to El Salvador will continue.  I have to go back at least once a year to maintain and renew my residency (Definitiva).

I joked many times with my husband that he can stay in the U.S. while I go back to El Salvador, and  send me remesas (remittances)!   That’s a reverse on common reality – the Salvadoran sending remittances to the gring@ in El Salvador.

So stay tuned, for more, dear readers, we’re not shutting our doors.   El Salvador from the Inside will continue, and we will keep you up to date, and may even start a series on Salvadorans who live on the Outside here in Boston and elsewhere in the U.S.

10 responses to “Three Years, Three Suitcases

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  1. It is so hard to leave. I have only done short trips to El Salvador but I can imagine after three years you must feel very torn. I only just discovered you on WordPress so I might have to go read from the beginning 🙂

    • It is hard to leave – though I am back in the same house I was before leaving, I still feel a sense of “starting over” and getting accustomed to everything all over again. I do hope you get to spend more time in El Salvador – I think it is worth a longer trip if you have the time and opportunity. Thank you for your visit, and comment.

      • The time and opportunity may come one day but not in the foreseeable future. Currently I go once or twice a year. We don’t really see much of the country but spend our time at an orphanage that my church has gotten behind. The people there are my family and I miss them terribly.

  2. That is wonderful you and your church are working with an orphanage in E.S. – I, it am happy to hear you are helping Salvadoran children – we have so much in the U.S. and it makes a huge difference when pp go down there to help out.

  3. My DH from El Salvador and I from the US, also, have recently come across your blog and have read from the beginning. I could tell from your earlier posts that is was about time for you to leave, but it was still a surprise. Take care and God bless you as you settle in. A lot has stayed the same in three years, but a lot has changed, as well. ¡Buena suerte!

    • So nice to hear you read it from the beginning. I hope your husband has enjoyed the posts, too – a lot of Salvadorans who visit the blog say it reminds them of things they miss from back home. Thanks for your well wishes, Sherrie.

  4. You ever see the cult movie “Buckaroo Banzai”? His quote was, “Remember; no matter where you go, there you are.”

    In my years of travel and globe trotting, it did not matter whether I was in Latin America, Dubai or Afghanistan….I always took my pulgarcito with me wherever I traveled.

    You may be back stateside, but chances are, you’ll end up in a Salvadorean diaspora like my wife….so you might me thousands of miles from El Salvador but El Salvador will follow you wherever you go. Just like when you went to El Salvador, a bit of America went with you.

    • Don, so nice to hear from you again! Yes, I think you are right. I will always be “connected” to El Salvador now that I have lived there, and obviously bc of my husband and his family. In the end I became a resident – so have to go down there are least once a year (twist my arm!). We have aguashte in the fridge and a bag of maize joco in the pantry. My mother in-law even sent a roasted free range chicken up here via plane with a viajero – no idea how these things pass thru customs. We’re all Salvadoraned-up over here!

  5. I am happy to read your blogs. I am moving to EL Salvador later this month. I have not been there even to visit. My future husband is a pilot and is based out of El Salvador – we were offered a great package to move. I am very excited and do not know what to expect once I arrive. Any pointers??

    • Hi Patty, wow big changes coming up fro you right now. Pointers? Well, I think your situation is so different than what ours was when we were living there. If they offered you a package then you are probably in a good place. I would recommend checking out the Expats facebook group for one thing, I believe its called Expats of El Salvador. Safety is and will be an important factor for you down there. I dont want to scare you, but things have become more dangerous in E.S. since we moved back to the States late 2012. Check into what other Expats are doing to stay safe. Things we do here like driving or hanging out after dark almost wherever we want in the U.S is not something you usually do down there. Is your future husband from El Salvador or do either of you speak Spanish?

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