Every time Suegra returns from El Salvador, she comes with a suitcase or two loaded with gifts for us. She’s like a guanaca Santa Claus. Some of the gifts Suegra buys herself, others are sent by in-laws. The in-laws send gifts partly because they love us, and let’s be honest, partly because they’re hoping to score an awesome “thank you” gift from Los Uniteds. (Awesome = Nike shoes, in my experience.)
Over the years we have accumulated a lot of stuff from El Salvador. Some of it is beautiful, adorable, fantastic. Some of it… is not. A Tío sent pirated DVD’s of Pedro Infante movies. I love the films but feel a little naughty owning them… And speaking of naughty, Suegra once brought me panties – but not just any panties. These panties have a heart emblazoned on the front and the words “I Love You”.
On the sweeter side of things, when the boys were little, Suegra always brought them pajamas from “St. Jacks”, (pronounced San Yacks by locals.) Sometimes she brought them shirts with weird random sayings in English like “Deluxe Auto Umbrella Stick!” and “Super Boy King” … I will have to dig through the niños closet one day and find those.
All of the wonderful items she brings usually have the distinct scent of queso, by the way. The dozens of white bricks of cheese in her suitcase look like cocaine and I’m surprised she hasn’t run into trouble… (Of course, security is probably busy with the buckets of Pollo Campero the other passengers are carrying.)
Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some more of the things we’ve received from El Salvador…
A cross painted in the traditional style from La Palma.
This “God Bless This Home” wall hanging I actually brought back myself. This was at Suegra’s house and I admired it. Suegra took it off the wall and gave it to me. (That was back in the day when she still liked me.)
Capirucho. It’s a toy. You have to catch the ball on the little stick that is attached. We have a few different types but this one is prettiest.
I’m rich! … Oh wait, the dollarization. My colones are worthless.
A little trinket box painted in the traditional style from La Palma. (Though I think this particular artist was a little more exceptional than the others I’ve seen. The detail on this is much more unique than other things I have.)
A miniature clay jar.
These are the shoes my husband wore to the United States. The niños find them hilarious. “Daddy wore THOSE?! They look like elf shoes!”
A peasant blouse with pretty embroidery but I can’t wear it in public because it makes me look like a German barmaid.
Detail on the blouse.
One of many bags we own. They’re especially good for going to the beach.
My very fashionable Mauricio Funes bag. (And for those who don’t know, despite his cool sounding name, Mauricio Funes is not a top designer – he’s the President of El Salvador.)
What Salvadoran household is complete without a machete?
We interrupt these photos for a commercial break…Oh wait, that’s just an apron someone sent me. Caja de Crédito de Chalatenango, you’re getting free advertising on Latinaish.com today.
A cute ratoncito (mouse) wallet which has been personalized, like many gifts we receive, with one of the kid’s names.
Another wallet, for all the money we don’t have.
A necklace I wear almost all the time.
Perhaps the most hideous doll I’ve seen in my entire life – and that includes those Chucky horror movies. I’m sorry to whoever made this doll. It scares me. After I took the photo, I put it back in the box in my closet where it belongs.
This bracelet is supposed to keep the “mal de ojo” (“evil eye”) away from babies, but I rarely let them wear it. I was worried they’d rip it off their wrist and choke on it.
This is a depiction of The Last Supper. I never hung it up because one of the people in attendance is wearing a witch’s hat and a little boy to the left of Jesus is wearing a baseball hat. It’s just weird.
I love these towels by artist Edmundo Otoniel. The scenes they depict are so perfectly Salvadoran. They’re almost too beautiful to use, but we do use them.
One of my favorites – the hammock. My parents also have one – they refer to it as “The Gringo Tipper” because they’ve both fallen out of it. It’s takes some practice to get used to it, but once you do, those flat-style American hammocks can’t compare. I love to lay in there and watch the clouds, think, read … sometimes I just inspect the weaving, imagine the person who made it – all the work that went into it…