Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Peruvian Wedding, Followed by a Flood.

Saturday, the 13th

My family and I were on our way, bright and early in the morning to Baranca, a city about 3 1/2 hours up north from Lima to go to a family wedding. I was extremely excited that I had the opportunity to witness a Peruvian wedding- I was looking forward to seeing if there were any cultural differences/traditions. As soon as we arrived to Baranca, we ate lunch at a Cevicheria on the beach. If that isn't a fresh source of fish, I don't know what is. It wasn't a surprise that I scarfed down my limey, salty, spicy pile of fish, octopus, onions, corn and a variation of sweet potatoes... I am a proud member of the "Clean Plate Club". After finishing my plate, I quickly joined my niece on the beach. We played a game, the idea: how much sand could she throw at me while I tried to escape the gritty doom?

Fast forward several hours to the wedding (all I did was take a nap before it): the bride wore a beautiful white dress, the typical wedding dress that you think of, longggg train and all. Overall, I didn't understand much of what was being said, but there was a lot of praying, it went like this: stand up, pray, sit down, pray, stand up, pray, pray some more, keep standing, sit back down. It was a very traditional Catholic wedding. Despite this factor, the wedding wasn't as long as I feared it would be, everyone wanted to get to the reception! At the end, when they put on the rings, they didn't say any personal vows, which I thought was interesting- they just read a line from some book and that was over. The bride and groom also didn't kiss each other at the end. While walking out of the church after the couple, we were all given rice to throw at them... I immediately thought of the birds. This being my first time at a wedding where they decided to throw rice, I decided to throw it anyway, and trying to mostly project it at the couple in their get-away car. What's the origin of the rice throwing anyway?

The reception: after the couple arrived, they did their dance and then there was a toast. I tried my first Pisco Sour (a delicious Peruvian alcoholic beverage and popular for good reason)! My cousin, Andrea, pulled me out of my chair and dragged me behind her. I didn't know what was going on and I kept asking "que pasa?!" (what's happening), but she wouldn't answer. She made us stop in the middle of the floor about 15 feet behind the married couple. I realized what was happening when other girls started to join us behind the bride; it was the bouquet toss! After much narration from the MC and me being pushed around from my cousin to stand in the right place, I started to get the feeling that I was meant to catch it. Sure enough, the bride threw it directly at me, and no one else even reached for it. I was still excited nonetheless, it was a pretty bouquet, and a good keepsake from the wedding! However, then came more nariation from the MC, and I had a hard time breaking up his fast rambling. I was being directed to do something that I couldn't understand, so my first guess of what I was supposed to do was to stand next to the married couple to take a picture. Not only was I NOT supposed to do this, I tripped on the rug and bumped into the groom and everyone laughed hysterically. After my family motioned for me to go stand next to the MC, I found myself in even a worse situation: he was rambling, rambling, rambling, and next thing I knew it, there was silence and I was holding the microphone. "Oh fuck," was what I thought to myself. After this thought, I started to ramble myself, saying things like "what a nice day..." and "I'm sorry that I don't know that much Spanish." (all in poor Spanish of course) I concluded with, "Estoy emocionada para ti," (I'm excited for you) and gave the microphone back to the MC who then concluded the event with (in a talk show host voice), "Ella es muyyyy emocionadaaaaaaa!!" (she is very excited). I rushed back to the comfort of my seat, and then also realized that I forgot to give them congratulatory kisses. I was the most ungraceful mess, it was ridiculous.

With that being said, for the rest of the night I was insanely graceful, dancing in high heels from about 10pm to 5:30 in the morning! I learned some more salsa moves from a hottie and I was shown up by the grannies at the party- who were daring each other to ask grandpapies to dance and having beer chugging contests and generally were the most rambunctious. It was the cutest thing. I didn't fall asleep until 6 in the morning, and then was awoken 3 hours later because the men wanted to keep partying- more beer, more loud music. I didn't join them, instead I went out to breakfast at a local market, then went to the beach where I had fun trying to catch a crab. I also tried to teach my family about purple sea urchins because I had found a dead and an alive one, which they thought they were trash or rocks (it wasn't that successful though, thank you Spanish).

Sunday, the 14th

After returning from the wedding with 2 cakes and all covered in sand, I was ready to do laundry. Everyone else decided to take naps during this time, and I decided that it would be great if I could do my laundry by myself because I felt confident that by then, I knew how. After loading it, connecting the hose to the washer, selecting the correct cycles, it was all ready to go! I returned to my room to continue doing random tasks. About 50 minutes later, 10 minutes short of my laundry being ready, I heard my name being tossed around downstairs- and not in a good way. I rushed down stairs because I had a feeling that something went wrong with my laundry; perhaps I put in too much soap and created the movie scene that every kid has dreamed of having: bubble heaven! Instead, I stopped on the last step of my stairs because there was water on the floor. "Ohhhhh nooooo," was my thought as I stepped into the puddle to see the rest of the damage: the kitchen was a swimming pool, as well as the back patio and part of the living room.

My jaw dropped open, and I stood there in silence while my family stared at me. "Lo siento Mama! Disculpame!" (I'm sorry mom, forgive me), was all I said repeatedly. My mom simply responded with "Hija, porque tu no preguntame? Porque no? Mida,"(daughter, why do you not ask me? Why not? Look) as she kept pointing out the water- like without her hand motion, I wouldn't have noticed the water. My parents swept the water into the drain, while me and my host sister were on the ground with our rags and a bucket. Even though my parents didn't seem to find it that amusing, my host sister seemed to agree that it was a funny scenario by making comments like "your clothes were really dirty," and "the floor will be extra clean now!" Later I confirmed this theory by asking when we were alone if she thought it was funny and she said yes, but she didn't want it to happen again. It took over an hour and a half and at one point up to 4 people to clean it up all the way.

The reason why the laundry flooded: I did everything right, except I forgot the easiest and most important part which was to connect the other end of the hose to the drain pipe.

At the end of the cleaning, I shared with my host mom that I had just found out that I was switching host families in January. Surprising myself, I started to cry as I told her details and how I wanted to keep living with them, and then she gave me a hug. She said that they would try to help me stay with them, because they loved me too (despite the flash flood in their house). I told her that I doubted that I would be allowed to stay with them, everyone has to switch families, and she simply said, "When there is a problem, there's a solution. Always. Look at this problem from your laundry... what did we do? We created a solution. We'll create a solution for this too, don't worry." I replied with "gracias" and we finished drying the floor.


  1. Ahhh, a story to tell your nietos para siempre! Hope you get to stay, and that you get to go to Cusco. What a let down. I'll read more later. Off to beddy-by.

  2. Yes it will be and thanks for reading! There'll be an update when I find out about Cusco and switching host families.

  3. "I told her that I doubted that I would be allowed to stay with them, everyone has to switch families, and she simply said, 'When there is a problem, there's a solution. Always. Look at this problem from your laundry... what did we do? We created a solution. We'll create a solution for this too, don't worry.' I replied with 'gracias' and we finished drying the floor."

    This was a hilarious entry...cultural differences and the bubble flood and the old grannies and the wedding traditions...but I hope you are not too embarassed by them. /hugs