Traveling Back to My Roots: El Salvador
By: Yoselin Alfaro
Salma Hayek once said, “I have never denied my background or my culture. I have taught my child to embrace her Mexican heritage, to love my first language, Spanish, to learn about Mexican history, music, folk art, food, and even the Mexican candy I grew up with.” As long as I can remember, my parents have always encouraged me to love my culture and embrace my heritage. Going back to when I was 4 ½ years old, I remember I always wanted to go visit El Salvador. My family was born there: my grandparents were born there, my uncles, aunts, some cousins, my parents and brothers were all born there. El Salvador is the root and the beginning of where my family's stories begin.
The first time I went I remember I was super excited, not just because it was my first time going out of the US, but because I was going to meet my older brothers. At that time, I had never met them in person, only through pictures. I was obviously sad because my mom wasn't going, but I was excited to go on my first journey. I visited La Union, Santa Rosa, Esparta and Poloros the first time I went. My grandparents live in the countryside so I got to see cows! My grandparents had a dog at that time named Tigre (Tiger in English) who I was scared of at the beginning, but we became pals throughout the two weeks my dad and I stayed there. My brothers and I got along, but there were times where we would fight for no reason. Remember I was only 4 years old! I was amazed with my first journey but was upset because I wasn’t going to see my brothers until I went again.
The second time I went was with my grandma and that was another fun experience. Then the last time I went was back in 2015, a few weeks before I started 6th grade. This time it was different because my grandma and my brothers were here in the US by that time, but it was a very nice and relaxing trip. I made friends with the kids who lived around where my grandparents live and I also saw my cousins again. Every afternoon we would all play soccer and compete against each other. I also would go to the stores and buy things to take back home. I remember that when we were about to go home, I went to a store where they had all Salvadorian things like memories, and I bought six bracelets for my brothers, parents and me. We got home around 4am and since we came back the day before we went back to school and I basically had to rush to get ready for the school year. It was an amazing time, and I can’t wait to go again in July before I head to start a new chapter in my life, which is college.
It is going to be a totally new and mixed emotional experience in many ways. First of all, my brother Antonio and my dad are going to go with me. This is going to be my first time going with my brother and my third time going with my dad. My brother and I want to go stay at a water resort and actually explore El Salvador. But it is also going to be really hard to go back because both of my grandmas are not here anymore. It is going to be hard going back and seeing only my grandpa and not my grandma (on my mom’s side). I know it’s going to be hard for my dad because both of his parents are not there anymore. So, like life is, it’s like a big change to this new adventure.