Last night I felt the culture. I drove a gold Chryseler van down curvy roads to a peach stucco subdivision of duplexes and homes. They all had high walls, the most private duplexes I've ever seen. The yard was closed all the way around the house, and the walls were growing thick with huge leafed ivy. Very intimate and pretty.
Another American lady and I arrived at nine a little early, so we helped set up the table and put olives and potato chips on plastic plates. The ladies from the church started arriving over the course of the next hour with a kiss for each cheek and an "Hola, Que tal?."
They brought tiny little plates of food, occassionally a big salad. These are portions so petite I would be embarrassed to bring that small of offering to a potluck at home. Good to know for future fiestas - don't kill myself making something huge.
Food: a dark colored sausage sliced in pieces on one plate, a couple tortillas (a potato omelette type thing), bread spread with some kind of creamy cheese and jamon (cured ham/prosciotto). Salads with raisins, ham cheese, corn, and lettuce (iceberg). Store bought flat foccacia looking stuff with onions on it, and other bread puffs that looked like pigs in a blanket - turned out to be some kind of tomatoe stuff in there, not bad. An eggplant spread with vinegar, good. Very interesting. We ate around 10 pm and there was no line everyone just crowded around the tables and jostled around til it they had something. Tiny little plastic cups the size of a small sytrofoam cup at home only skinnier. (I'm always thirsty.) No wine in sight only soda and water. A couple ladies went around with dessert. One was a cake in an 9x12 type pan - no icing, cut in little 1.5 inch cubes. It was sweet but mildly so like a muffin, not like a rich American dessert. Another tray had something like pound cake and some chocolates on it. Not very much for so many. Looks like they minor on dessert.
The young girls, teenagers, were there too some ladies brought gradeschool age girls too. Older ladies who had to be careful when they walked came too.I thought it was interesting that a women's ministries type event included all girls. The teenagers were respectful and hung out together at one end; they seemed happy to be there.
Everyone sat in a big circle on the patio. We weren't really ever inside at all. We walked around the side of the house to the back. After eating, we were shushed several times and the pastor's wife gave a talk. Something about the older ladies and mothers being an example and holding up the younger girls. At the end everyone was to pray with their daughter or someone younger (I didn't understand that part). The American lady and I prayed together. We decided a common language was close enough to the instructions. It was 11 when the talk got over and then the coffee came out. It was almost 12:30 when I got in bed. We were one of the earlier departures.
I'm glad I went and I would totally do it again. The ladies were all very forgiving of my really bad attempts in Spanish and one or two were trying to learn English so we exchanged words. I said things like - many years past I study Spanish in university. I am here to learn Spanish with Gabriella (our teacher goes to this church too). So my conversation is a little limited, but I understand some so it was fun.