Wow…What a weekend! Thursday and Friday we finished up orientation, and then this weekend we didn’t have activities and were encouraged to spend time with our families. Saturday was fairly relaxing. I slept in (till 8:00!) which was much needed, did a little homework off an on, and went grocery shopping twice with doña Maria (my “mom”) and Ileana (her daughter in law that lives with us). Now…grocery shopping here doesn’t mean a quick trip to walmart. In fact, one of the 2 trips was about a 2-3 hr outing. We went to “el super” (similar to a Kroger or Albertson’s) twice, and 2 different carnecerías (meat store). At our first stop, we ran into a friend of theirs, who then ran the rest of our errands with us; we stopped once to talk to a neighbor crossing the street, etc. Needless to say, it was an experience.
But today (Sunday) was the real adventure. First of all, I attended my first Mass (at 6:00am no less!) I didn’t understand much of what was going on, but it was interesting all the same. Then after Mass, we went to “la ferria.” Every Sunday one street in the town closes down, and is converted into a huge market for venders of fruit, vegetables, etc. According to don Luis (my “dad”), this is the best and cheapest way to buy produce, so we went with an empty cart, and left about an hour later with it overflowing. I think so far I’ve tried at least 6 or 7 fruits and vegetables I’ve never heard of before in the States. I love it!! So far my favorite is guanábana (mostly because I love the name).
This afternoon (and by afternoon, I mean from about 1:30 until 8:30 tonight), we had a huge fiesta for don Luis, because his 50th birthday is Tuesday. I think I have now met every family member on both sides of the family, besides one son who lives in California and a daughter in Mexico. I think in all there were…19 or 20 people present. And we ate, and talked, and then some left, and then we ate again, and then talked some more, and then ate a little more, and then the women chatted in the living room while the men watched videos on youtube. And of course there was cake, and homemade ice cream, and singing and everything you need for a good fiesta (minus the piñata…I guess he’s too old).
Anyway, it was a very long but very fun day. I definitely feel like I’m getting to know my family really well already, and I’m definitely getting to experience firsthand the life of a Tica. Which… is good because that’s mostly why I’m here!
I hope everything is going well with all of you at home. Know that I’m doing well and just trying to soak it al in! I’ll post again soon. Until then – Qué Dios les bendiga!