Here in Ecuador, you quite often start out the night with one set of plans, and end up with a night that could only be explained by, “someone looked at the wrong page of the daily planner.”
My Saturday night started out with the simple statement, “we have been invited to attend mass”. Exciting! After the first four months of “I’m going so I can see their culture”, standing in a hot church not understanding anything becomes a little less than my favorite activity please sign me up for the next three months. However, it was a chance to get outside, walk around a little, and spend some time with my parents and two-year old (almost three and wont let you forget it) sister. So we put on some formal attire, checked our hair, and headed off towards the pretty church at the top of the hill.
This isn’t the part where Mass was so life changing that I decided to be brought down to the river and baptised in that very moment. Mass was pretty normal. However [insert exciting anticipation noises] after Mass, Mass became some sort of culture display of unusually talented proportions. The mini orchestra started playing and about 30 people of all shapes and sizes in devil costumes began dancing. They danced for a while, pulling in unsuspecting crowd members to dance. The next speculation topped the first two-fold. The dancers were dressed in beautiful traditional Ecuadorian costume, and the way the women turned made their skirts follow their every move. The men whistled, shouted, clapped, and danced around the women. This all backdropped with spectacular fireworks much too close to ever be allowed back in the United States, and traditional Ecuadorian folk music that still brings a smile to my face and goosebumps to my skin. Every aspect turned me into a wide-eyed little girl again, overly entertained by this small cultural performance; something to be casually watched on a Saturday night and never discussed again. I had recently been feeling at a plateau in terms of my cultural absorbency, being that I was about five months in and more or less accustomed to every day life here in Ecuador. But this brought back the bug. The bug that itches it’s way into your mind and says, “You have to experience everything and hold back no question no matter how juvenile sounding. You need to see, you need to know.”