After spending an hour on the beach, we sped back across southern Texas to Amber's place to check for more mail and pick up some rice. (A great organization called "Kids Against Hunger" donates literally pallets of boxes of rice to us! It gets delivered there to Amber's and then we have to get it down, little by little, to Zacatecas. Little by little, because sometimes officials like to accuse us of "importing" the rice to sell it and give us a hassle.) There was no mail, and Rey threw 6 boxes of rice into a already-full van, and off we went.
By this time, I was having heart palpitations. Why? The wedding started at 5. And, although I know that in Mexico, that can mean the wedding really actually starts at 6... I was nervous because it was already 5 as Rey was loading up the rice. I imagined being detained on the bridge and several Mexican officials going through each item and trying to make us give them bribes to get past.
"The supposed reason for this trip was Karla and Eli's wedding and now we are going to miss it!" I moaned as I wiggled in to my clothing from the back of the van (you may thank me now for not including pictures).
Rey deftly maneuvered the van back through lower Texas and onto one of the many international bridges in the area.
Thank the Lord, we got a green light at the checkpoint and sailed right through. My little attitude starting getting better. ;)
The wedding was held at Bethel Church, where Rey attended for about 4 years, and we attended for about 1 1/2 years together after we were married. As we parked in front, we saw that the ceremony was still going.
Wedding ceremonies here are not the perfect, choreographed things that they are in the US. In fact, in this ceremony, the church was packed and there were about 20-30 people standing around at the back of the church and in the doorway. During the next hour (yes! The service went on for another hour after we arrived), babies wailed, people walked in and out--trampling pew bows in the process, and the group at the back talked and joked loudly. I really could barely hear the preacher.
The preacher didn't really stick to the bare bones speech most preachers did. He went on and on, making many cracks about the to-be husband and marriage in general.
There are several symbolic things in a Mexican wedding. One thing they do is get "padrinos" to help them pull off the wedding. These padrinos are family friends who offer to buy the symbolic items. The symbolic items used in this wedding were: The Bible, the "lasso", the pillow, wedding rings.
The Bible is for obvious reasons. The lasso is a silk cord with two loops in it. The loops are placed over the head of the bride and groom, symbolizing that they are united forever. The pillow is what the bride and groom kneel on together to pray.
The beaming couple as they are pronounced husband and wife:
After being pronounced, the husband and wife walked back out being showered (or pelted, if the rice-holder was a guy) with rice.
Rey and I hadn't ate since 11 that morning and it was pushing 8 by then. Knowing that it could be more than an hour before we ate at the reception, we decided to stop for some tacos. :)
The reception was held at a very nice reception hall. We had a good time seeing and chatting with old friends from Rey's hometown.
Karla and Eli at their table of honor:
Us with them: :)
Usually a Mexican wedding ceremony features much game-playing--especially if they want to avoid dancing.
The favorites are this:
It is called "Snake of the Sea". It is basically like Crack the Whip. The good thing is they split up the women and the men, and then they take turns running between the bride and groom and all over the room. Usually the women's turn is pretty tame, but when guys go, women always hide their children because bodies are flying into walls, tables and across the floor. Pretty wild. Especially if muscle-man Rey is the "puller". He held himself back this time.
This is another favorite:
Can't remember the name, but they basically make a tunnel with their outstretched arms; guys on one side, women on the other. Then a person runs through the middle and grabs someone of the opposite gender as they run through. These form a new couple at the end of the tunnel, and leave the other part of the stolen couple without a partner, so he/she has to run and grab someone. The tunnel is constantly moving, compacting. The game only ends when the participants are too tired to keep on going.
We stayed until around 10, and then decided to head over to Rey's family's place.
Most of them were asleep or at least in bed, trying to be warm. It was around 30 degrees and the house is basically the same temperature inside as it is outside.
Rey and I had planned on sleeping outside in our tent, before we knew it was cold. Thankfully, his family had an extra bed and we got to sleep off of the ground!
I ain't gonna lie. It was frrreeezzing. I put on a couple pairs of pants, a stocking cap, my coat and got in under the covers.
But, once we got warmed up, it was toasty the rest of the night.
On the other side of the outer wall of this room is where their cows, goats and horses are corralled. So, we were lulled to sleep by the bleating, lowing and general noise-making of the critters on the other side of the paper-thin wall.
I think the mattress must have been put over a rope-spring support, because it felt like we were sleeping in a really comfy hammock.
Above our heads, we could see the sky through the nail holes in the corrugated tin roof:
It impressed me then how lucky I am to be able to have a life so diverse in experiences. In one day, I went from the lap of abundance (the stuffed-to-overflowing aisles of Walmart), to the beach, to a Mexican wedding, to a lavish reception, to a humble room that gave me that cozy feel of camping out.
Yup. Pretty lucky indeed.