This afternoon we were invited to the neighbors' house to help them celebrate the marriage of their daughter. When Vecina (am I using that right?) came over with her grandsons (handy translators, those boys - and handsome! and I mean that not in a creepy way because they're 8) earlier in the week, she told me the fiesta would start a la uno so we showed up a la uno y quince and were still about 3 hours early. Why can't we be late anywhere?
Vecina served carnitas y arroz con tortillas. I knew she would (it's really good - I ate it last time) and wasn't concerned that I couldn't eat it this time because we live right next door and I could run home if I got so hungry I couldn't go on, but when she found out I don't eat meat, she got all worried, even though I said again and again, "Está bien," and ate arroz y tortillas. Eventually she found these tamales deliciosos y dulces that tasted like creamed corn (only better) and were vegetarian. I ate 2 (with Pete's help), and she wasn't worried about me anymore.
We don't speak Spanish. I know a few Spanish phrases in the present tense (I asked Vecina, "Necessita Usted ayuda?" and she knew what I meant, and I could talk to the very small niños well enough), but I don't know enough to converse with the grown-ups or even eavesdrop, and mi familia knows even less than I do. So we don't mingle well with our neighbors, but we got by. The grandsons' prima, Ana, was a big help. When I mentioned to her that I felt like I should be talking to someone, she introduced me to her brother and his wife, who both spoke English and had children, and I felt more comfortable. But I also still felt like I really need to be taking Spanish classes so I can be a better neighbor.
Overall, though, we had a very nice time. The girls did fine because all of the other children were bilingual, and play is sort of omnilingual anyway, isn't it? The party is still going on, but the girls needed showers so we had to leave. They hadn't cut the cake when we left, which was an issue for Lulu, but Ana said she'd bring some cake over for us after they cut it, and Lulu reluctantly agreed.
After I post this, I'll be checking the community college's course listing to see what my best option is for learning mas Español before the next fiesta. So you know...