Gusta lo ajeno, más por ajeno que por bueno
Should we stay or should we go?
It’s a conversation we have with increasing frequency. In years past it was a day dream sometimes uttered aloud and then quickly laughed away. Lately it comes up weekly, even daily, and the conversations can last hours instead of minutes. Would our quality of life be better in El Salvador?
For a long time I used the children as an excuse as to why we couldn’t go, even knowing in my heart it would be the experience of a lifetime – but yesterday they overheard us talking and burst into the room as if they’d won a trip to Disney World. They wanted to know when we could move, what their new school would be like and if they could have a parrot.
So now that leaves me as the only reluctant one. I imagine two different realities – one idealized and one a nightmare scenario – the truth lies somewhere in between. My mind cycles through all the endless possibilities, lo bueno y lo malo, the sweet and the hard to swallow.
El Salvador – pandilleros, hamacas, caliche, paletas sin High Fructose Corn Syrup, volcanes, temblores, pupusas, huracanes, gente que te saludan, diez naranjas por un dollar, chuchos aguacateros (Cómo me encanta tomar fotos de ellos!), fiestas en el rio, buses que andan como locos, La Escuela Americana (que probablemente es muy caro para nosotros), inspiración por todos lados.
The United States – peanut butter, familiarity, Thanksgiving, a retirement that might involve being a Wal-Mart greeter and eating canned cat food, Autumn, the library with books in English, debt, seat belts, snow, the best medical care in the world, (for which we have no health insurance to make use of), my family, my family, my family.
Whatever we decide, it will not be a light-hearted decision, nor will it be one that happens overnight, it is a decision that would be taken in steps over years. What I know is that I don’t want to waste my life day dreaming. What I don’t know is if I have an excess of cowardice or common sense.
Note: The title of this post “Gusta lo ajeno, más por ajeno que por bueno”, is a “dicho” (saying or proverb), which literally translated means “Liking what is distant, more because it is distant than because it is good.” A similar saying in English would be, “The grass is always greener on the other side.”