When I moved into the bungalow on September 1st, I had no idea that the owners, who live on the property, would welcome me into the fold of family and friends.
"Don't forget, it's my wedding on Saturday," Erik called to me the other day.
"How could I forget with the air of excitement that's been happening all week?" was my retort.
People came from various parts of Mexico, Canada, the United States and Europe. A few others besides me had at one point in time rented the bungalow.
The wedding took place in Santa Domingo Cathedral. The grandeur of Mexico's cathedrals is lost on me. I know they are beautiful, but they were built on the backs of the poor indigenous people.
As the hour long ceremony took place, I gazed high up into the ceiling of gold and frescos and thought these places were built to make people feel small. If the people feel small the church can control them.
A cousin given the responsibility of transporting myself and a family from New Mexico to the church and then to the reception asked me what I thought of the ceremony. It is in my nature to tell the truth. Mindful of her Mexican heritage and the catholicism might be deeply ingrained in her psyche I told her what I thought of the cathedral.
The telling was difficult because I did not know she could speak English, and so I spoke Spanish. She understood what I was saying and reflected my words back to me in English, and then agreed with me.
It was an arduous trip to the reception because traffic moves so slow and in such a crazy fashion in Oaxaca.
When we arrived a band of excellent musicians were playing a combination of Latino and American music, fountains were flowing, the tables and chairs had white coverings and the centerpieces were magnificence white roses cascading down from high clear glass vases.
The first appetizers were candies, nuts and my favorite, dates heavily sprinkled with chili. Many people from north of the boarder have told me they do not like the combination of hot and sweet. I do.
I drank a shot of tequila then switched to water, I like my head clear.
A second dish of appetizers was delivered, tortillas, cheese and grasshoppers. I ate grasshopper and cheese. Now, when a Oaqueno asks me if I've eaten grasshopper I can say, "Yes."
Next came a clear chicken and rice soup. The main course was mole negro with chicken and rice, a bit redundant I thought, and I missed the salad I'm accustomed to at banquets.
The cake, which was served much later was moist, light and flavorful.
Around 11 p.m. we were served a beef and tortilla snack. The beef was very good, in fact exceptional for Mexico. The tortilla, cut into pieces and served with a sauce was colder than I think it ought to have been, it was the only thing I did not eat.
The entertainment was ongoing. There were huge dolls that represented the bride and groom, a horse costume when country and western music was played pouring tequila for the dancers, and a lot of other costumes that I've forgotten.
Someone gave the bride and groom a basket full of wrapped penny candies, which they tossed into the crowd. Some of those in the crowd scrambled to pick them up.
Someone held up a large paper turkey sitting on a paper platter. The turkey was passed around, each receiver of the turkey being momentarily the center of attention, dancing for a moment or two before passing it on to another person.
Different style hats were distributed matching the style of the music being played at the time. Lots of balloons, glow sticks, glow neckties, princess crowns, shawls for the women when it began to cool down were distributed.
The young women put small veils on their heads and formed a conga line, running faster and faster until the music stopped. Then the bride, after a few teasing pretend tosses, tossed the bouquet.
Then it was the young men's turn. They donned paper aprons and went through the same spectacle as the young girls. The groom threw something, it may have been a blue garter, I'm not sure.
The evening was topped off with a fireworks display.
The mood of the room reflected Erik's mood. They were a happy crowd sharing in the revelry of the newly weds. Nice people, I was glad to be part of this, my first Mexican wedding