If you come to one of my family parties (which is almost every weekend), you will be welcomed with open arms. Immediately, you will be by who ever's house it is, shake hands with everyone in the room, and be given a plate of whatever food we're having. Whether it's the usual: variety of tamales, variety of hominy soup, fried rolled tacos of potato/sausage/ricotta cheese or even more common: burgers, pizza, spaghetti, salads. Or tacos of cow head, tongue, eyes and intestines that sounds more delicious when said in Spanish. You may add cilantro, chopped onions, lime, avocado, salsa, sour cream. We would have margaritas with or without tequila, soda, water, Corona or Model beer.
If we're sitting with my cousins, we would most likely be the oldest. The ones around our age mingle with the younger ones like older siblings, but still treat them like equals. We would play the card game called ONE (but in Spanish) or Mexican bingo or talk about what is going on in our lives. It would be rare to see the older male cousins. Very rare. And it they were there, they'd be drinking with the uncles. (Except my brothers, they tend to hang out with me and our other cousins.)
If it was nice outside, cookouts are always made. The party tables set up on the driveway, the swimming pool set up, and the hammock filled with kids. If we were inside, the party tables would be in the middle of the living room. Some of us eating on the tables, some on the couches. There would be music that come from, what we believe, these Latin American countries: the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Colombia. Although it is also believed to have origins from Africa, the Caribbean, and Haiti. Anyway, this music would be blasting in the speakers. And when we're done eating, we would move the tables and the living room is now a dance floor. They would ask if you dance, to take you out to dance, or to teach you to dance.
If we weren't dancing, we would be talking some more. And when my family talk, they talk. Do not be alarmed. They talk as if no one can hear them or they can't hear themselves. The more you come to these parties, the more you'll know how they talk or how they argue. If they start to get to know you, and you them, don't get offended about how they talk. Or try not to. They have no filter and tend to put each other on blast. It's live entertainment. Then we would eat a second time. Or bring out the deserts of cakes, jello, the variety of Mexican bread, fruits, and of course, coffee and/or hot chocolate. My aunts will ask you if you enjoyed the food, if you would like to take some home.
At the end of the day, we are satisfied with each other's company full with food, alcohol, and laughter. It would get crazier if it was someone's birthday or any special event. And then the mothers start planning for the next weekend or gathering. Who would bring what or who's not going to be there and where are we meeting at. They will ask you, before you leave, if you'll come back next time. They'll say, we will dance next time. We will take shots next time. If we were at a park, my uncles would say to bring your soccer gear next time.
And then I'll ask you what you think, about coming back. Depending on what you say, it would be fine either way. And I will tell you that you still have to meet the other side of my family, who can be just as welcoming as this side. And that either side would love you if you bring a twelve pack case. Until next time.