Monday, April 17, 2006

A happy Easter

Well, our Easter day at the Olona's went very well. The only snafu was when Robert went to pick up the catered items from the Camino and the girl ran his Visa card through for over $4700 dollars instead of 470 pesos. At first she insisted it was correct until Jose, the chef, intervened. Correcting the error became another problem and after a long struggle he was so embarrassed and exasperated, he wouldn't take a tip. Robert has formed an opinion that Mexicans have a lot of pride and hate making mistakes. They will do anything to make it right. But it's different than home in that when something, for example, on your plate isn't satisfactory, instead of taking it off the bill or replacing it with another duplicate item, here they will try hard to improve that item. Maybe it needs a little more sauce or salt. They run your plate back to the kitchen to fine-tune. I think it's that old resourcefulness at work: Anything can be fixed, not everything has be to tossed out and replaced.

At Marta's house I went to work, taking charge of setting up the table and food putting Pepe's mother to work making the sandwiches since she seemed anxious for something to do. She knows no English but explaining how you want sandwiches made is easy with sign language.

I put the kids to work decorating eggs. I gave the task of hiding the easter eggs to Pepe's older children. Robert hid the golden egg and incredibly it was the last egg found.
He'd perched it on a low spot on the palapa roof of the small utility shed outside on the patio. I took the annual photo of him instructing the kids on the rules of the hunt. You can see in the photo that Allison is ready to go, with a foot in the direction of the patio. For all her determination she did not find the golden egg and was kind of pouty about it. We tried to explain to her how it might not be the most polite thing for our daughter to make out with the biggest party favor of all. Toward the end of the search we were all, adults and children alike, looking for that thing. The banker's oldest son, Allison's classmate, found it. We cheered and clapped and just like home, all the kids ran in to survey their bounty.

Allison didn't do as well as the others due to their older age or help from mom and dad. As hosts, Robert and I weren't inclined to help her too much, and maybe I should have. I was reminded of an Easter egg hunt long ago, at our neighborhood clubhouse when our older sons were 6 and 8. Dozens of kids lined up at the start line and on the go Ryan lost his loafer in the grass and became so undone by his delayed start and the rush of the other children reaching into the grass and screaming. "I found one!," that he dropped his basket and starting wailing. We felt so sorry for him. He was our second son, so already tormented by internal pressure to be as fast and able as his older brother and his friends. I think Aunt Susan passed a 20 dollar bill to him later that afternoon in sympathy. But, Allison, she just had to be tough and gracious today. Or so I thought. When we got home I heard she and her daddy whispering over some transaction that I suspect was a monetary, sympathy pay-off.

Other than the language barrier, our gathering was as similar to any at home. It's always the same when people share a meal and watch children play. It needs no translation. It's just simple pleasure.
That's Marta and me in this last photo.

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