An entire month before my travel to Oaxaca, I lamented about my upcoming trip with colleagues, friends and family.
“The flights are so awful.” “I am going to miss the kids.” “Mario is having his big cookout for the 4th.” “I just want to rest on my three days off.”
The day crept up on me and I found myself dragging my body out of bed at 4:45 am to get ready for a 5 am pick-up. Kissed the babies good-bye and hugged my hubby and off I went to the airport. A coffee and oatmeal. A Sky Mall magazine. A few words with my younger brother. A subway sandwich. Peanut M&Ms. A cranked neck. We were there.
My younger sis, Sarah, has lived in Oaxaca for close to three years. She met the love of her life while going to school in the city. He is a native to Oaxaca – his family lives in the hills abridging the city. We met him about two years ago. He survived the family orientation. He posseses a calm demeanor, which is perfect for my energetic sis. He is a photographer – she is a writer. They both love adventure and coffee and dancing. They decided to “go on this journey together” and marry. That is the reason for my departure to Oaxaca.
Sarah picked us up in a flat bed truck owned by a Mexican friend of hers. We drove in the flat bed with the luggage back to Sarah’s apartment and our hotel. The hotel was quaint and adorable. My room consisted of a bed, a desk, and a bathroom. There was a courtyard on the first level and a terrace on the second level. The courtyard had a small fountain with two snapping turtles floating in it.
We went to restaurants, we drank, we laughed, we reminisced. It was wonderful. The weather was perfect. No
humidity. Perfect blue skies. Puffy white clouds. Large twisting trees. Incredibly difficult hiking trails. Crosses. It did not feel foreign to me – it felt like my little sister’s home. Her wedding is able to be summed up with two rather opposing adjectives – quaint and spectacular.
On Sunday, Jorge’s mother hosted a blessing ceremony at the same house. She cried as she caressed Sarah’s hair and explained to us in Spanish how important it was for her to give a Catholic blessing to the new couple. Her emotion moved us all. The Bible verse read was raw and appropriate – one I had never heard before. She etched the sign of the cross in the air to both Sarah and Jorge and hugged them hard. It was one of the most tender moments. We continued to drink Mexcal and beer and eat home-cooked food and soak in the Mexican atmosphere. We ended the night with a round of pizzas and a game of cards. Does life get any better?
Meanwhile, Maria Grace celebrated at her Aunt Susie’s house with all of her aunts and her Grandma Lolo. They toasted one to us around 6:30 pm (5:30 Mexico time when the wedding
began). They laughed and partied and swam all night – Maria Grace had a blast with Grandma Lolo who treated her like a princess for three days straight. She came home with toys and dresses, and coloring books and lots of fun memories.
Mario celebrated with a night at Grandma Ionno’s house and then a trip to Uncle Mario’s house where he caught his first fish. A catfish he would have you know. And it was really big he would have you know. A man’s man.