I can’t believe Day 5 in El Salvador is already over. Time is flying by. Today was our “tourist” day in San Salvador, coincidently it was also the 35th anniversary of Oscar Romero’s assassination. It was interesting to learn more about his life and see where he lived and where he was murdered. We spent all day driving from place to place, and to say that traffic here is crazy would be a huge understatement. The cars drive so close to each other, cut each other off every second, and motorcycles zip right through all of it without a second thought. It was cool to see the other side of El Salvador by spending it in the city today compared to where we’ve been staying in El Espino.

Before the trip, I didn’t exactly know what to expect when I found out I was going to be staying in a house with a host family. Now that I’m here, it’s a complete culture shock to say the least, but it’s really not all that “bad.” My first bucket shower was cold, sure, but I got over it pretty quickly because it is what it is. This is how they live every day and it’s completely do-able. Regardless, they still have family, friends, education, love, and that’s what is important to them—that’s what should be important to all of us. The biggest culture shock by far is the security guards walking around everywhere with their huge guns all the time, every day, and it’s completely normal to everyone else. We don’t have anything like that in America.

It’s actually pretty crazy how much I’ve come to already love the family I’m staying with. Maybe it’s because they have a fairly large family and I come from a large family myself and they remind me of my own home. What’s even crazier, though, is that we speak two completely different languages. I remember the first night I was with them, I went to bed so frustrated because I couldn’t communicate with them. I kept thinking to myself how much language is such a barrier and I was just really upset that I couldn’t do anything about it. But over these past few days, I’ve surprised myself as to how much more Spanish I really know and how much more I’m picking up on. I can actually start and somewhat hold a conversation with people. In fact, it’s almost like while I’m trying to learn Spanish, they’re also trying to learn English, and often times, a lot of our conversations end in someone saying “No entiendo,” and we’ll both just laugh. It’s great.

I would totally keep writing about this trip if I could; there’s so much more to a developing country than three little paragraphs. I know I still have three full days left here but I wish I had more. I also wish that more people had a desire to try this, too, because what I’ve realized is how much there really is a difference between reading about this and living through it.