What an honor and blessing that we were invited to a first communion for Lauren’s best friend, Isabel—and the party that followed was incredible!
At 10:30 the communion service began at the Parroquia Inmaculada Concepción de Pozos, Santa Ana—the large orange and yellow church just a mile or so from our house. The weather was gorgeous (no rain, thankfully!) and a gentle breeze blew through the wide sanctuary with high ceilings and huge, gorgeous sprays of fresh, fragrant flowers. (I will miss the flowers from Costa Rica when we leave here!)
The church was filled with proud family members and friends, dressed in their finest for such a special day. There were five kids from Lauren’s class celebrating first communion. The boys dressed in navy suits with white communion bows on their sleeves, but the girls, outfitted in beautiful white gowns with lace and ribbons, looked like tiny brides and clearly outshone everyone in the church.
Erin and Lauren didn’t understand much of the service, though Dan and I quietly explained to them what was happening. Erin said she could pick out bits and pieces of Spanish from things familiar to her in English, such as the Lord’s Prayer and when the priest blessed the bread and wine.
It was really special for our family to participate in this meaningful cultural experience that was so important to our friends.
After church, around noon, we went to a celebration at Isabel’s house. This was hands-down one of the best parties we’ve ever been to. Our friends really know how to throw an incredible fiesta!
As soon as we walked in, Isabel (the parent—she and her daughter share a first name) let us know we’d have plenty of opportunity to practice our Spanish: there was one couple from Chile and everyone else was from Spain. Although the conversation often became so animated and lively that Dan and I had a hard time following, it didn’t matter. We had each other and enjoyed observing and being a part of the day.
At the start of the party, Isabel and Álvaro asked us—in all seriousness—“ You didn’t eat breakfast, did you?” Apparently it is expected that nobody eats before these parties. Dan and I just looked at each other, realizing this was going to be a real food-affair. I would be remiss in not describing the feast, because the food was incredible and just kept coming and coming.
There was tasty, grilled chorizo (sausages a bit smaller than brats) and choripán (a sausage in a small, sliced loaf of bread), mussels, Spanish olives, and nuts. After the chorizo was served we enjoyed wedges of grilled and seasoned provolone on small pieces of bread.
For the main course: grilled chicken, steak, chimichurri (a favorite condiment of mine), pickled onions, salad, and baked potatoes.
Later came paper-thin crepes with strawberries, peaches, and caramel—and three sweet sauces to drizzle on top.
We didn’t imagine there could be more food, but later in the day we were served chocolate-covered strawberries, a tortilla de patatas—a very traditional Spanish dish made of potatoes, onion, egg, and olive oil—and then the best gazpacho I could ever imagine. My friend promised me she’d teach me how to make these. She is an awesome cook!
In addition to the conversation and eating (and eating!), the kids played hide-and-seek, went swimming, ate ice cream and popcorn, and took funny pictures with Isabel’s new camera. Dan and I loved the music which ranged from '70s disco to '80s pop to salsa and merengue.
We danced and sang (including a rendition of a Grease music mix that thoroughly embarrassed Erin—isn’t that a hallmark of good parenting?), and at one point Dan and I watched as four Spaniards twirled, clapped, and stamped to flamenco music—and we clapped too, in appreciation.
Shortly after 7pm we said our goodbyes, reluctant to leave but needing to get our exhausted kids to bed. Admittedly we didn’t stay up much later than the girls, having had such an amazing day. We will reminisce about yesterday many times in our lives, I am sure. We are so grateful to have met this wonderful Spanish family whose company we enjoy so much.