Monday, July 19, 2010

Back in Estados Unidos

Though our trip to El Salvador has ended, I thought I should end with a blog post...

I have traveled before, taken trains to Boston and planes as far way as Paris, and every time the scenery grew familiar, I remember thinking of the comfort and pleasure I have in coming home. However, when the plane window began to frame pictures of Newport, I didn't feel the same feeling. During the trip, I met some of the most vibrant, animated, friendly and loving people and the energy they radiated and the atmosphere they created was gone with El Salvador. I was accepted in an instant and never once was I afraid to dance to Shakria or stutter out Spanish in front of fifty youth. And once I did, I was only met with smiles, laugher and praising. Perhaps, I can go back to Latin America, which I already prefer over Europe, but will it ever be the same? The food, the music and the culture will of course persist, but the atmosphere of the conference will not. I will never forget playing football (soccer) under a warm sun with just bathing suits, calling each other by our countries to pass the ball or exchanging thoughts through three different languages. Now the circle that was "Somos Voces, Somos Regions" (the name of the conference) has re-dispersed back to the thirteen American countries and settled back into routines. And knowing that I might never see my Plan peers again is saddening. We are still though, a region, and I want us to continue to work together as youth to keep this up.
I decided that once I captured a place full of this indescribable energy, I now know I need to find it again. Even if it's in small doses, playing football again or dancing to salsa will bring El Salvador back. I found that I need to be around more people like those in El Salvador, and that vibe is what I need. I think this need to recapture this energy, will inspire me to take more risks in the future, travel to Latin America again, work to help others, learn Spanish and find who I want to be. Someone once told me, find what makes you fly and go with it, this trip has given me the motivation and courage to do just that. Telling my dad this, he responded, "you have your whole life ahead of you," and he is right, I do. I can do whatever I want, and I already find myself itching to get out of here and into the sky.

Shout outs to Kate and John, the best chaperons as well as Plan El Salvador for coordinating an amazing event and Plan International for bringing all its youth together and promoting our voices, our stories and our power, for hosting an incredible environment and never once doubting its youth.

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