To my surprise, it WAS NOT a love note...it was an invitation for a birthday party! However, this was no ordinary invitation, and it wasn't going to be an ordinary birthday party...it was an invitation to a Quince años (a 15th birthday party).
Here in Ecuador, and many other countries within Latin America, a girl's 15th birthday is a BIG DEAL! I had never been to a birthday party as such, so I was quite excited, and it was going to be for a special girl who has been coming on Friday nights to our house!
As excitement grew inside me, Roberto entered into the room, and said "OH Good, you found the invitation!" I replied "YES! Do you think we can go?" Here's the unexpected part..."well hunny, we can...more importantly we MUST GO...we've been asked to be the Padrinos (the Godparents as such) for Nayeyly!" I quickly said "WHAT?!?!?!...What does that mean?" Roberto sat me down and explained to me what a BIG DEAL the birthday was going to be, and the honor and responsibility of being a Padrino/Madrina meant. We should get a gift, help with the party, give a short speech....then I starting laughing, because I realized the party was in less than 24 hours, and NOTHING opens in Sucua on a Saturday, and we don't have a mall even if we wanted to get her a gift. *PANIC SETS IN NOW*
After brainstorming, we called the party organizers, and asked if we could be in charge of the cake, they accepted! Early Saturday morning, I (Jill) ran off to the Panaderia (bakery) to see if I could place a last minute order for a 15th birthday cake. THANKFULLY (since everyone is last minute here) they had no problem with the order, and said the cake could be picked up at 6pm!
DETAILS OF THE PARTY:
The party was to start at 7pm...so we had asked Roberto's parents to come to the house to babysit. The plan was to put the kids to bed, and head out, leaving the grandparents with a movie. 7:15pm rolls around the kids are sleeping...BUT, Roberto's parents still aren't at the house. We received a call from Roberto's mom saying that she had been asked to help decorate for the party, and would be to the house shortly. This is typical here...nothing starts ontime...EVER! People will rush around and call you last minute to help, with the expectation that you'll jump through hoops to do it. And since most people have done it to someone else, and there isn't a WHOLE lot to do here in Sucua...most people will willingly help at a moments notice.
Guests started to arrive around 7:30pm. When we arrived the pastor was going through the order of the ceremony, and at that time asked us (the Padrinos) to share a few words (again LAST MINUTE notice).
The guest of honour (the birthday girl...arrived promptly :) around 8:15/8:30pm! There was a mini-ceremony of her walking in, several people shared some words (the pastor, her mom, her escort (which is usually the father, however, her father doesn't live in Ecuador, so an Uncle filled the roll of 'father-figure'), and us - the padrinos). She was presented with her first pair of high-heels as a symbolic gesture to show she is now a lady, and needs to view things/life from a higher-up perspective, she was also given a doll/barbie to symbolize her last childhood toy.
After the official ceremony the family had food prepared to serve to the guests, and we indulged in a delicious cake!
Because the family is of a lower-economic class, it was a simple celebration. However, some of the parties can be quite elaborate and formal. It was a fun evening, one that will be held as a cherished memory.
Enjoy a few pictures that we took...