For all but 4 years of my 55 years of life, I have lived within at least a 4 hour drive of the Mexican border. When we lived in California in the late 1990s, I made frequent trips to the Tijuana border with a friend and our children, but despite those border visits and one very fun camping trip 450 miles into Baja California, I know very little about Mexico. I know even less about the rest of Latin America.
At the beginning of 2018, my daughter was beginning undergraduate classes at the University of Texas and my husband was beginning a graduate program at Georgia Tech. Not wanting me to feel left out, my daughter enrolled me in a Spanish class at the local community college. My fourth and final Spanish class at the community college begins next week.
I still don’t know how to speak Spanish, but I am able to somewhat understand it now which may come in handy because there is a chance that my husband and I will be making a trip with his brothers and sisters to El Salvador to bury his mother in a few months. His mother came to the U.S. on a scholarship from the El Salvadoran government to study at Johns Hopkins University in the 1950s. She married a military man here in the U.S., became a U.S. citizen, and raised a large, wonderful and very close, tight-nit family. Part of her ashes will be buried with her husband in the military cemetery, but the rest will be sent to El Salvador to be be buried with her brothers, sisters, mother and father in the family plot there.
Whether the U.S. family will attend that burial has yet to be decided. In the meanwhile, I intend to make a virtual journey through Latin America via film, food, and literature. Because I retain what I learn so much better when I write about it, I’ve created this blog.