On Saturday I went with Alejandro, his father, sister and nephew to the home of his Aunt Araceli and Uncle Salvador. Although Araceli's birthday was earlier this week, the family was getting together on Saturday to celebrate. The apartment was crowded with her children, spouses, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Although I have been to several family gatherings at their home, I am still learning everyone's names. I have the names of Araceli's daughter, two sons and their spouses down pat, but I only know the names of a few of the grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Although there was no formal dinner, we ate very, very well. There were bowls of "frijoles" which were more like a soup. There were big containers of warm tortillas, a couple kinds of fillings, and numerous salsas for making our own tacos. I lost track of how many tacos I had. I am not a beer drinker, but one of the grandsons was preparing mojitos which were much too tasty. After a couple of those, the animated conversations in rapid-fire Spanish going on around me were becoming a blur.
As the evening progressed I was wondering if there was not going to be cake. It wasn't until around 9:30 that a couple of the grandchildren went to a nearby bakery (yes, it was still open!), and came back with a chocolate cake. The table was cleared and the cake was set out. There were also a couple of gelatins (which are nothing like our Jell-O) which Araceli's daughter had prepared. "Gelatina" is almost as de rigueur as cake for a Mexican birthday party.
"Las Mañanitas", the Mexican birthday song was sung.
And Aunt Araceli was not exempt from the requirement of taking a "mordida" (bite) from the cake. Notice that Alejandro's father was there, ready to push her face into the cake if necessary.
The party finally broke up around 11:00 with kisses and "abrazos" (hugs) from everyone. I am always touched by the warmth and hospitality that Araceli, Salvador and their family show me.