Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Over the Pacific - Part 5

[Exactly two years ago...]

The TACA flight 531 flew southbound into the void. We left the ocean of lights of the city of Los Angeles far behind us.

I spent much of the time on that flight thinking about home and talking to the lady that sat next to me. She was a middle aged Salvadoran woman, who was going to El Salvador for a visit for the very first time in 20 years. Her story was like many others: immigrated illegally into the States during the Salvadoran Civil War and had never returned since, living only with the memories of a place she used to call "home".

During my years in Australia (which I like to call "my exile"), I truly longed for home, just like many other exiled Salvadorans in Australia, the US, Canada, Europe, etc. My "exile" was not a real one, though: it was a self-imposed one and it just lasted a couple of years. Many others have to deal with the idea of never going back. Why would they, anyway? El Salvador can´t offer the quality of life or opportunities that first-world countries can give. The only things that El Salvador can possibly offer to returning exiles are the memories of days long past and a sense of identity deeply rooted in the land of their ancestors, the volcanoes and valleys of Cuscatl├ín. Nothing else.

I looked through the window: the peaceful darkness of a Mexican night. Down below there were little clusters of light here and there: Mexican towns along the Pacific coastline, I thought.

Again, I tried to sleep, without much success. After a couple of hours thinking and listening to music, I could see the glimpses of dawn. A new day has come! Here it was, Saturday the 24rd of April 2010: the day I would finally reembrace El Salvador.

As we finally descended, I could feel my heart almost jumping out of my chest. There they were again: the volcanoes, the lakes, the green fields... I could even almost see the peasants working the land on a hot Saturday morning! I had dreamt of this moment for months! As the TACA flight landed in Comalapa International Airport on that Saturday morning and I finally entered the main building, rushing through Customs, a brand new chapter of my life was already starting.

It´s a new dawn, it´s a new day, it´s a new life for me...and I am feeling good!

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