Reflecting on a Summer of Taking Leaps of Faith

As I stepped through the doors, it was the heat that hit and crashed over me first.

As I stepped through the doors, it was the heat that hit and crashed over me first. My grandmother and I had just stepped out of the air-conditioned San Salvador International Airport into the outdoor walkway to the parking lot. It was lined with countless people, shouting simultaneously in Spanish, waiting for passengers. Children ran around; people bustled forward to greet friends and loved ones, some with balloons swinging wildly. As my head swam from the heat and the noise, we glimpsed my aunt through the crowd. After greeting her, we hurried out of the crowded, sweltering area to find our car in the parking lot. As I sweated and lugged my suitcase across the parking lot, I informed my aunt of my goal while in San Salvador: I was only going to speak in Spanish.

My mom is from El Salvador, but I wasn’t raised speaking Spanish. I heard bits and pieces, giving me an advantage in class, but nearly all of my Spanish was learned in school. As a result, I’ve always felt self-conscious speaking Spanish, especially to native speakers. I’m always doubtful and question myself when speaking: Is my accent bad? Am I making mistakes? Even now, I hesitate to speak Spanish sometimes, worried that I won’t be good enough.

Nevertheless, as I walked through the parking lot, I knew that in order to make the most out of my trip, I had to push my insecurities aside.

Of course, I quickly learned that it’s easier said than done. On my first night, we ordered pupusas (a thick flatbread from El Salvador made of cornbread) and had a family dinner. It was late, I was tired, and although I was excited to see my family, the fast-paced, overlapping conversations were too much for me to follow. I couldn’t stop thinking about how much easier it would be if I were completely fluent. Even when I followed the conversation, I wasn’t fast enough to get a word in. I felt like I couldn’t express myself and remained silent during the majority of the conversation. That first night, I truly felt the language barrier—I felt like I couldn’t be myself.

Yet, over the course of my trip, I felt that I was improving. About halfway through my time in El Salvador, I went out to lunch with a few family members. As we sat at the table, someone brought up the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, which is a topic I’m particularly interested in. That conversation remains among one of my favorite memories from my trip. Not because of the content of the conversation, but because of the way I was able to speak Spanish. It wasn’t perfect. There were English words sprinkled in from time to time, and I’m sure my grammar wasn’t flawless. But, for the first time, I felt fully able to express myself and found myself enjoying speaking Spanish. After that one conversation, I felt more connected to my family than I had before. I gained confidence in speaking, realizing that I was good enough. I had enough strength as a Spanish speaker to carry a conversation and enjoy it. I remember going back to my room that night and thinking about that one conversation with a smile on my face. Throughout the next few days, I got more comfortable and confident speaking, allowing me to form relationships with new people. I felt more connected to my family and my own identity and most importantly, I realized that I didn’t have to be perfect, especially with my family.

Reflecting on my time in El Salvador, I realized all the opportunities I would have missed out on if I had let my insecurities get the best of me. I kept a journal while I was there, and as I look at it now, I can truly appreciate all of the incredible experiences my trip gave me. As a person primarily interested in medicine, getting to visit clinics and shadow doctors was something I thoroughly enjoyed. As I read my day four entry, I can still vividly remember being in the operating room (OR) of one of the hospitals I visited, watching a live birth. I can still feel the OR wall against my back and my feet beginning to cramp from standing on my tiptoes for too long. I can hear the baby’s first cry. I can remember coming home, still in my scrubs, and excitedly texting my friends about it. As I read that entry, along with all of the others, I realize that none of it would have happened if I hadn’t taken a bit of a leap of faith.

In order to get the full experience, I had to embrace the language. I had to trust that even if I wasn’t perfect, I could figure it out and make it work.

Looking back, my trip was the highlight of my summer, and one that I’m eager to experience again. My insecurity of speaking Spanish ended up being one of the many sources of joy on my trip. I could feel myself improving, even if it was only by a little bit. I’m thankful for every opportunity that came my way and proud of myself for the work I put in. Ultimately, sometimes a little leap of faith is crucial and it can certainly lead to an amazing experience.

Comments

There are 10 comments for this article

  1. Broderick

    A company car http://teluguxxx.in.net/ naa songs telugu He took office on Tuesday a day after troops killed dozens of supporters of Egypt's first elected president. His government will face a difficult task of overcoming the divisions deepened by the army's overthrow of the Islamist Mursi.

  2. Roberto

    Which university are you at? http://xhamsterxxx.in.net/ hamsterporn Now it’s fair to wonder: If they could not beat the Eagles, who had a three-game losing streak and had lost at MetLife by 35 points in December, exactly who are they going to beat this season? Is it too late to get Jacksonville added to the schedule?

  3. Lavern

    An envelope http://xhamstercom.in.net/ gay xhamster On one occasion my aircraft was on standby in front of Air Force One where President Ford was preparing to depart. Suddenly an agent came running over to my aircraft with a box of long stem roses. It seems that President Ford had forgotten his wife's birthday. Our instructions were to deliver that box to the White House. As we touched down on the White House lawn, an agent met us and took the box of roses to Mrs. Ford.

  4. Roosevelt

    I'm not sure http://abgxxx.in.net/ abg ninja And while these banks may be solvent and profitable today, crucial feedback has been missed, and investors have been encouraged to invest not with their heads but based on faith in the government's willingness to bail out banks and create easy conditions for them, no matter the cost to the rest of the economy.

  5. Rhett

    We work together http://xnxx-xxnn.in.net/ xnxx "This bill provides American college students immediate debtrelief on upcoming student loans," said CaliforniaRepresentative George Miller, the senior Democrat at the HouseCommittee on Education and the Workforce. "Families battered bythe recent recession should have received this relief over amonth ago."

  6. Jarvis

    I'm happy very good site http://eporner.in.net/ eporn The dollar rose from an eight-month low against majorcurrencies, riding on the sentiment from Yellen's impendingnomination and hopes that U.S. lawmakers will eventually reachan agreement on the budget.

  7. Rodrigo

    Looking for work http://xnxx-xnxxjapan.in.net/ xnxxcom Further, the indictment says that "an 'error in persona' will not affect the intention to kill a human being" — i.e., even if Pistorius believed he was firing at a burglar, he was still shooting to kill. 

  8. Luke

    Could I have a statement, please? http://levitracoupon.in.net/ levitra generic Obama said such stumbles would not derail full implementation of the healthcare law. He likened the snags on the online exchange to the bugs that commonly plague the rollout of other technology-dependent products.

  9. Roman

    I'd like to order some foreign currency http://xnxx-xnnx.in.net/ xnxx indian Of those missions, the first will be an "asteroid lasso mission" in which the agency will attempt to bring an asteroid into Earth's orbit in order to study it. NASA officials say that exercise will be a crucial step toward traveling to Mars and could help Earth defend itself from an incoming asteroid, a notion that some, including Buzz Aldrin, have said is misguided.

  10. Jewel

    I'm interested in this position http://apetube.in.net/ ape tube.com GreenTech was not mentioned in the inspector general's email to lawmakers. In a statement late Tuesday, the company said it was not aware of the investigation prior to the report Tuesday by The Associated Press and that the company had not been contacted by the inspector general's office.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.