I am not naturally an extroverted person. When you mix my inherent shyness with a language barrier, I did my best to be invisible at the party. But then came a family with a young baby. Luckily for me, the father spoke English and was more than willing to let me hold his daughter, Juliana, for quite some time.
On the other side of the social spectrum were Meagan Jackson and Lee Edwards.
Meagan was in her element. Because she is fluent in Spanish and she is a naturally gregarious, loving person, she decided to stay away from us Americans and to spend her time getting to know the Mexican saints. The people flocked to her.
Teaching in Las Vegas, among a highly Hispanic population, convinced Meagan to join a Mariachi band. When she informed the members, they asked her to sing for them. Meagan is an amazing performer, so towards the end of the party they played a soundtrack from a familiar Mariachi tune and Meagan poured out her soul in song.
The members were stunned that a Gringo girl could sing one of their nation’s most famous songs so effortlessly.
We were likewise impressed.
The party went on for several hours. The youth performed several traditional, modern, and hip-hop dances. The adult youth leaders also danced a hip-hop number. The missionaries were involved in a handful of skits. It was simply a fiesta.
When the entertainment was over, they served us food. We had no idea exactly what we ate, but we ate it and it was really quite good. I am naturally averse to anything avocado related, and my plate came smothered in a light green sauce. I convinced myself it was key lime sauce to spare my brain the fear of avocado. (It was definitely avocado.)
After dinner our group started cutting the cakes and serving the members. The cake was a big hit. But we forgot plates, forks, and a spatula to help serve. Ramon ran out to the local market to get the things we were missing while Cami and I did our best to serve the cake as hygienically as possible. In the end, we simply served it with our hands, but nobody cared.
By the time we cleaned up the mess we made in the kitchen, there was loud music and clapping back in the cultural hall. Crystal and Lee had discovered some Country Western music and they were teaching the members how to line dance. Dozens of members joined the throng.
I mopped the kitchen. That is my skill.
But Lee was not done for the night. After several exhausting line dances, which apparently he takes very seriously, he broke out a few bags of long balloons. He blew up all the balloons himself, giving him a monster headache. But I am sure he would tell you it was well worth it.
After the line dancing and balloons, all the kids, Mexican and American, disappeared. They were all outside playing soccer or climbing trees. The barriers once keeping the children apart were now broken. This was an excellent prelude for the remainder of our stay.
To continue this series, click, Five Hours South of the Border – Jesus and Armando