Dunlaps in San Salvador

Online journal of the Dunlaps' adventures in San Salvador.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Forever late

Seems like I am always behind on posting. We put Mags on a plane yesterday for Tenn. I'm sure she is having a blast. One of the big thrills for the Salvadoran students when they go on exchange to the States is to go to WalMart. There's just nothing like it here. But a few of my 11th graders talked about how they can't stand to go to WalMart. They say it smells like detergent and plastic. I guess I kind of like the old WalMart smell. I miss it. Anyway, can't wait to see what Maggie brings back from home. Hope she doesn't have trouble getting grits through Salvadoran customs.

My new photo is of Mags and me volunteering at a shelter right after the landslides hit. There were 70,000 people left homeless. The government set up shelters in elementary schools. The one we visited had about 50 children there. We played with the kids for a few hours and gave the parents a break. Do you like the new love of my life? His name was Douglas. I was in heaven holding him. He loved the noise and the excitement - a very easy baby. Maggie and I also fell hopelessly in love with a 10 year old boy named Moises. He and all his friends kept wanting to see Maggie's retainer. I'm sure it was the first orthodontic appliance they had ever seen. That got old for Maggie pretty quickly. But he touched our hearts when he offered some candy to both us. They have nothing and still they share.

Notice the date on the photo. It's not wrong. It's backwards. October 11 is written 11/10. It's so hard for us to get it right! Also, phone numbers here have eight digits instead of seven. There are just little things that you assume everyone in the world does the same - not true.

Salvadorans are also very official. Not sure how else to explain this. For example, if you are filling 0ut any sort of form (and we have filled out a lot of them - car insurance, health insurance, life insurance) and you make a mistake - you have to fill out the form all over again. No white out, no initials, and for heaven's sake don't scratch out anything. Start over. Maggie needed a permission slip to leave the country with someone other than her parents. It's pretty standard - I used to notarize them at SDS all the time. Here we needed six people - both parents, a translator, two witnesses and an attorney. And still it was not complete until it was stamped again at the attorney's office. And we had to sign the forms in English and Spanish. I was not about to mention that my middle name was misspelled!

Thanks for all the emails from friends asking if we were safe during the storm. It rained heavily for two weeks straight. You have no idea how much we now appreciate blue skies. The dry season is coming. We're headed to the beach in the morning. Can't wait! Susan


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