Maybe I should start by saying all rules of my norm are out the window in El Salvador. I'm not happy about this, but it's a fact. Because of this, I'm glad we didn't decide to do our year down there. Well sort of.
Seat belts. As discussed, it's much better to ride in the back of an open pick up with the wind in your face.Sure it's a life saving feature, required by law in the US. But we're south now, baby.
Monitoring sugar intake. Doesn't happen so much with pinatas flying left and right, a grandmother who just wants to please visiting grandkids and and frozen icy things coated in honey being sold just down stairs of your "bedroom".
No sodas. Please. It's El Salvador and if you pack on an extra 15 lbs, you get a compliment. High Fructose Corn Syrup is everywhere! Kids seem to drink these even if they don't have shoes. (is that a strange analogy?)
Not letting the kids out of your sight. This one actually might be important.Wait I should be worried about kidnapping right. C'mon the civil war has been over a good 14 years, most land mines are gone, Dolores is supposed to be the safest town in all of El Salvador. And since El Salvador is not known for tourists- certainly not in far gone mountains, they haven't learned to take too much advantage yet of the chilitas that come, as well, my kids and I are the only ones that come.... Maybe the heat was getting to me... and I did have the flu...
Lola found a new kind of freedom on our trip. It started out simply a couple days after we got there. Estefani, Elmer's brother's daughter, who lives with los Abuelos often goes on little mini errands. Its a small town of 2000 including the people that live on the outskirts in the "Cantones." There are tias and tios, and primos everywhere you turn. Both of Elmer's parents families' have been there for over 150 years. Maybe more. So Estefani goes out on these errands to deliver bread, or a plate, or pick up pupusas or get an egg. One morning Estefani is about to go and asks if Lola wants to come with her. So when she says Lola, that of course means me too. As I won't let her go alone. So of course because Azalea won't let me go anywhere with out her (full circle) we all go. And it's again like 200 degrees out in the sun and Azalea doesn't want to walk and needs to go to the bathroom almost 3 minutes into the walk. Of course.
So against my own ruling and personal patience I tell Lola and Estefani to go on and I'll take Azalea back to the house. Thus begins Lola's outings away from her mother or any direct parental supervision. Her theoretical umbilical cord was just cut. Just like that. At 9 years old I let her walk the side streets of a third world country alone. With out me.
Did I mention she was alone and without me. Of course Estefani does this about 5 times a day. But I won't even let Lola walk to school alone here in Albuquerque and it's just down the street from us.
So they were gone about 10 minutes. When they got back Lola was skipping and had grown about 3 feet taller in composure.
There is such a fine line for freedom. She went on to do this multiple times. Each time, it was no big deal. But really we both knew, that this was ridiculously huge. I was letting her go and she was flying.