Return to El Salvador: The Escobars

For most of the past 12 years I have gotten to know my father’s side of the family more than my mother’s. This is because I usually stay with my father and sister. My family there is very “Coto,” and it’s easy to see how similar we are. When I first met my family, I noticed right away that the Cotos walk the same. We have a distinctive duck waddle that is easy to spot when we are together. The more time I spend with my bother, sisters and father, the more of these traits I have noticed.

Since most of the Escobars are still in El Salvador, I haven’t had a chance to get to know them as well. During this trip I really got to see what the other side of the family was like.

One night after going out to eat Pupusas, a typical Salvadoran dish, we stopped by my Aunt Haydee’s house. As she was talking, I noticed right away that my brother Ernesto and she make very similar facial movements. I chuckled a little and hoped she didn’t notice. I could just picture Ernesto making the same face.

I looked over to my aunt Tita on the couch and there she was, sitting just as I would. Back to a corner, one arm stretched resting on the sofa back, the other in the air supporting her head. Up until that point I always thought my mannerisms came exclusively from my father’s side. It was nice to see one from my mother.

I’ve often wondered what else I got from my mother. Looking so much like my father, I thought a lot of my personality might have come from her. Watching the family interact, I got to see their characteristics. My Aunt Tita and her daughters are warm, fun loving, and silly. My Aunt Dalilla and her sons are more quiet, reserved, and pensive. What a wide range of personalities! I definitely see these same traits in myself. It appears my hunch was correct, I am very much an Escobar.

That weekend was my cousin’s wedding. It was one of the reasons that I decided to go back to El Salvador. In attendance were all but one of my aunts and cousins I had not seen in 12 years. Some of them resembled my sister and her daughter. Others reminded me of my late grandmother. My cousin Cesar bares a striking resemblance to Ernesto. He was there with his wife, daughter, and newborn son. Again I’m reminded of the life I might have had. We danced and laughed the whole night.

Besides figuring out which family members looked alike, I also learned more about our family history. I learned that my grandfather, Hector Escobar, worked in construction and even helped build the Panama Canal. It’s very cool to think that our family had a small part to play in its creation.

Getting to know the Escobars was a lot of fun. I got to see another side of my family and myself.

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