Escape is a luxury that most people search for in their day-to-day lives and welcome it openly when it does extend its hand. Daily repetition of the same routine, in the same locations, and with the same people becomes tedious and a stress to anyone’s sanity. Nothing in this world embodies the essence of “escape” more than a flight, one that takes a person out of the shell they have placed themselves in and immerge in a land where they can refresh their mind. My escape has always been in Central America, more specifically in Honduras and El Salvador. Every summer spent there has impacted my life and shaped the adult I currently am and still aspiring to be in an innumerable amount of ways.
All of the landings at San Salvador International Airport never seize to renew my breath and make it seem as if I have a second chance to start over. There is a peace of mind that as soon as I pass customs my Dad and Grandpa will be waiting for me in the hot humid air, ready to take me across mountains, valleys, villages, and finally, home. The places they would show me still resonate in my mind as if I was there yesterday; Estadio El Cuscatlan, Santa Rosa, and La Union just to name a few. The majority of my time is spent with my grandparents in the tiny town of Pasaquina, El Salvador where adobe buildings, diesel trucks, hot suns, dirt roads, and the best pupusas ever were the staples. It is in this place where I have gained the most knowledge, not in a classroom, but in the lessons that life can teach someone and ingrain in the mind through example. It instills a sort of humbleness in me and lets me clear my mind from all of the clutter and smog that Los Angeles has filled it with the other ten months of the year.
At a certain point, the phone calls and emails are not enough to satisfy my need to keep in contact with the people that inspire me to press on with my life the most; my father, my brother, and my grandparents. Five-hour car rides with my Dad through dangerously steep mountains takes me from one country to the next, Honduras. The major city of San Pedro Sula is where my Dad and brother live and show me a completely different environment from the small town that I was in just a few hours ago. It is here where I spend time with the only sibling I have and partake in the activities that a big and little brother usually do. Watching him at soccer practice at the local park and walking him through the rundown streets to get ice cream with my one hundred lempiras on hand was something I imagine myself doing every time we talk on the phone, but ecstatically realize once I see him.
It is the place of forty-five degree Celsius weather, military coups, Contras, and natural disaster as well as beauty that I call home. I never feel out of place in countries where everyone knows me and welcomes me like family. Seeing the impoverished, broken, and lonely streets of third world countries that do not have the luxuries that we share, did humble me every time I went over. However, more than the poverty that struck these places, was the love and resiliency that people show that highlighted my trips there, realizing that they will find their escape, too.
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