Day 7 – Swan Song

January 22nd, 2018

“Music is a world within itself,

with a language we all understand.

With an equal opportunity,

for all to sing, dance and clap their hands.” – Stevie Wonder (Sir Duke)

Music is a central part of my life.  It’s not uncommon for me to have music playing 18 hours a day, sometimes even falling asleep to it.  There is a caveat to that however; bad music is like nails down a chalkboard for me.  What is bad music?  I suppose it’s subjective to each and every person, but I know it when I hear it.

We were surrounded by magical music for most of our El Salvador journey.  Thankfully we all seemed to gel to the same stuff.  We even had our own in-house musicians in Pat and Harry.  To find yourself in an uncomfortable and difficult situation was always quickly eased with music.  Whether we were loading trucks and packing in the mornings, driving to sites, building homes, driving home under a starry sky or chilling out in the evenings, music was a part of it.  And it was always mood appropriate.

Mornings usually started with a 6:30am, neighbourhood-thumping, play of “I Come Prepared” by K’naan.  It put us in a trance like state and we all seemed to rhythmically march to the beat, loading the trucks with tools and kits, often all repeating the chorus “I come prepared, I come prepared”.  But the Thursday morning switch to Motown was probably my favourite; Because who doesn’t have sunshine on a cloudy day in El Salvador (minus the clouds)?

The drive into the sites continued the morning upbeat trend.  Much to my chagrin, the boys liked to start the long trip with Camila Cabello’s Havana.  I have teenage daughters; this song was overplayed well before Christmas for me.  Was it because of the Latin beat or the catchy chorus?  I’ll never understand (insert eye roll).

Two of the three crews carried speakers to play music during the builds.  I can’t speak for Team Corner, but I was the maestro for Team Colin.  I’m pretty sure the locals thought we were loco, but for me, music was a great ice breaker.  Music transcends language barriers.  My friendship with Juan was based on our grooving out to the tunes.  We couldn’t communicate, but we could dance!  Same with the children; I could always garner a smile when I lip synced into my hammer.  I clearly have no shame…….

“Hope that you spend your days
But they all add up
And when that sun goes down
Hope you raise your cup
Oh, oh
I wish that I could witness
All your joy and all your pain
But until my moment comes
I’ll say

I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived” – OneRepublic (I Lived)

I’m ritualistic with some of my music.  I can become obsessed with an artist or an album and I will play it on repeat for days or months.  Every blog I wrote while I was in El Salvador had the artist Novo Amor playing in my headphones.  I had it blaring very loudly so to block out all the distractions of the busy environment in the evenings.  He has a mellow and calming sound, and it allowed my creativity.  Even as I write this now, it is playing on repeat.

The last full day in El Salvador was spent at the beach for a little R&R.  It was beautiful.  The boys liked to chuck around the football in the water or to try and body surf in the large waves.  Others napped, read, or like me, went for walks along the shore.  The shoreline was riddled with abandoned, hurricane damaged, vacation homes, which I found very intriguing.  They were damaged but looked peaceful, much like those who hold the memories of the Salvadorian civil wars of the 1980’s.

But my walk along the shore also found me listening to Novo Amor again and partially formulating this blog in my head.  At one point during the instrumental crescendo of his song Carry You, I noticed that the melodic beat seemed to be in rhythm to the crashing waves.  It made me chuckle to myself.  If our journey to El Salvador was a movie, that moment right there would have been the closing scene.  It would go something like this: “The girl walks alone, thoughtfully down the abandoned beach, the song starts playing in the background. She looks around her and smiles at what she has been a part of.  Her memory flashes back to the faces she has seen, the smiles and laughter she has encountered, the friends she has made, the fun that was had, the hard work that was done, the sweat that was poured, the prayers that were said, and the hopes that she believes in for El Salvador.  The camera pans back to the ocean. Waves crest and crash in reoccurring intervals and the words To Be Continued appear on the screen.  And the scene slowly fades to black………..”

“Fade me away, I will never be the same

Fade me away, I won’t ever be the same” – Novo Amor (Carry You)