Monday, December 14, 2009

Meet the Parents

Err, I mean, family. Meet the family, and that's what we did.

The first thing Cuz did when she got engaged was set up a day and time for both sides of the families to meet. Originally the plan was to have it at her house, but as my aunt reminded Cuz, it is customary in Greek culture for the bride's family to open their home to the groom's family. And so it was, they picked a night and my aunt got to work.

For a lot of people in the world, a family gathering means immediate family only. I think I am one of those people, myself. But what is an immediate family? Parents and siblings? Grandparents, perhaps? In our family, "immediate" means no less than 8 people, and there are usually more. Mom, dad, siblings and significant others, aunt, and cousins. If our grandparents are in the country, it means them too. If there were more family in the same town as us, "immediate" would include them as well. So to any of you out there who would like to invite my immediate family anywhere, consider this fair warning.

Cuz was nervous that the parents wouldn't get along. I can imagine how she must have felt, but I tried to reassure her it would be fine, but I know Cuz, she had to see it for herself. I missed the beginning but I know how it started. Greetings and shots of a homemade liquor (made by my grandma, so she was there too). And wouldn't you know it, his family included a cousin! First major sign of a good night, in my opinion. Then there was an exchange of some very special gifts, and then, the food!

My aunt busted out the fine crystal and china, and outdid herself. The menu, which she kept secret, consisted of:

Ecuadorian ceviche
Pork tenderloin
Yuca ("Greek" style, i.e., in a light tomato sauce with lots of dill)
Roasted red potatoes
Green Beans
Mushrooms with Swiss Chard
Green salad
Whole wheat spinach bread (I need to make this more often, so so good)

There must have been more on the table. That's all I can remember right now. We are pretty serious about food in my family, it's what we do (not literally). My aunt really outdid herself. All 16 of us (sixteen!) left with very, very full bellies.

Back to the acutal meeting. Most of us had met earlier, so I think that helped. Another thing that helped is that all of us speak Spanish, and while we carried on the conversations in English, everyone was able to keep up with the conversation if it switched into Spanish. We all laughed, drank wine, and ate (and ate and ate and ate). It was so easy. I could tell Cuz and Future-Cuz (Cuz to be?) were thrilled. We all sat at the table, long after the meal and told stories, laughing the whole time.

The night was easy, and a lot of fun. I am so happy for both of them. The lesson learned here was: stick to what you know, be open, and always surround yourself with the people that love you. I'm going to tuck this lesson into my little pocket for safe keeping.

Anyone else have tips for the first time the families meet?

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