I traded in my three- hour, five days a week class for a much more palatable schedule; three times a week for an hour with a private tutor who can explain things to me in English. It’s a big chnge from the approach of the Academia HispañoAmericano where Spanish only is spoken during class. My new tutor, Lety, is Mexican and has taught Spanish in SMA for 30 years. She is engaging and interested in my learning at a pace that’s right for me. We clicked immediately.
Last week she came to our lesson with some personal news, which she reported in Spanish. Her daughter’s boyfriend had come to her house Wednesday night to ask for her daughter’s hand in marriage. “When will the wedding be?” she asked.
“A week from Friday,” he said. “Aren’t you happy about this?” the young man asked, seeing the expression on her face. “My mother is very happy.” Lety assured him that of course she was happy, but surprised that the wedding would be so soon. The next morning she and her daughter set out on a mission, hunting for a bridal dress, both in San Miguel and in Querétero. She took out her phone to show me her daughter's final choice, a lacy, old-fashioned bridal gown with the longest train I’ve ever seen.
“It’s going to be a traditional wedding at the Parroquia." she explained. The Parroquia is the historic, pink cathedral that is the central point of the city. "You’re invited, you and your husband,” Lety said. I told her we’d be honored to come. “What will guests wear? I asked, suddenly worried because I had nothing dressy to wear. “ Long dresses for the women and suits for the men….it’ s traditional,” she explained.
On Saturday, with the wedding less than a week away, Jack and I went shopping for something appropriate for each of us to wear. We headed for el Centro, the downtown area, walking through our neighborhood, where local Mexicans live and shop. We hadn’t walked very far up Calle Canal when we saw an open door and peeked inside. There was a man’s mariachi outfit hanging on one wall, a tuxedo next to that, and a suit on the wall across from them. We had happened on a men’s clothing rental store, so we ducked inside. Amazed by our good luck, we found a sport jacket just Jack’s size in a style that he liked. The jacket will cost the equivalent of $17.00 American to rent for the weekend.
Jack was all set, but I still needed a dress, something appropriate for my age, special, but not too fancy. After a couple of hours shopping, we came home empty-handed, the dilemma unsolved When we got home, the phone rang. It was my French neighbor, Claude, who is my age, height, size. I had told her about my problem. In her French accent she said. “You said you need a long dress to wear to the wedding on Friday," she said. "I looked in my storage closet and I found something I think would look good on you.” Within minutes she was at my front door with a lovely floor- length blue and purple floral print dress in hand. The dress fits as though it had been made for me.
I told Claude that I had never borowed anyone’s clothes before, but I would be thrilled to wear her dress, if she was sure she wouldn’t mind. “I would be happy to have you wear it! But Jack better watch out when you do. You might come home with a new young husband, the way you look in it!”
I can't believe our good fortune. A sport jacket for Jack, right in our neighborhood, and a dress from a French neighbor loaned to a woman from the US who lives in a house owned by a Canadian woman, to wear to a Mexican wedding. And that's the way things happen here. People from different backgrounds and nationalities reach out to help their neighbors in friendship. We are just so darned lucky to be here!
the photo is NOT anything like what I will wear. she is a 15 year-old in her Quinceñera dress to celebrate her special day