We set the alarm for 5:45 a.m. and were showered, dressed, and ready by 7 o'clock. We went over to the house and ate toast (tostada - bread that is purchased pre-toasted) in the dining room as the girls got dressed. Eddy was dressed in an adorable white suit with a blue sweater. As we left the house, we realized that Yoselin was missing. She was still asleep. We walked to Iglesia San Francisco. Humberto was holding Eddy but handed him to Craig partway through the walk.
A pair of boys approached us in front of the church and offered to shine Craig and Humberto’s shoes. We have been solicited for shoeshines before, but usually we are wearing sneakers or sandals. Today Craig and Humberto were both wearing black shoes, and Humberto told the boys that they could shine away. Humberto and Craig sat on the stone wall and the boys wiped the dust off, used shoe polish, and buffed the shoes at a very rapid pace. They were very good at their trade. Craig had never had a shoeshine before, and was impressed by their skill.
During the shoeshine, Paulina disappeared for a few minutes and then re-appeared with a white candle decorated with fresh flowers. She gave it to me to hold onto. We wanted to make sure that we got some good photographs of the event, so we asked Vanesa (who has proven herself to be a good photographer in the past) to be our photographer. I gave her a quick lesson on how to use the new camera and gave it to her for the duration of the Mass.
We went into the church and sat down in a pew. Humberto’s mother "Abuelita", sister Juana, and Rocio soon arrived. Vanesa took a few photos during Mass. I am really starting to get used to the Spanish ceremony, and especially like their processional hymn. At collection time, we handed out dollars for the kids to put into the collection basket. Aracely got very excited and tried to squirrel hers away in her new pocketbook, but then Paulina explained to her that it was to put in the basket. She rather disappointedly agreed to do so.
After the Mass, all of the baptism candidates and families were asked to come to the front of the church. Paulina removed Eddy’s sweater and we saw his little vest with white pocket square and even a bow tie for the first time. The priest had each of us make the sign of the cross on Eddy’s forehead, and then the priest anointed his head with oil. The priest went to the baptismal font and called the children forward one by one. We stood up and Paulina handed Eddy to me. He was playing with Humberto’s keys and kept scratching his hand with them and watching the little line that appeared on his skin. When the priest called out "Eddy Humberto," we walked over to the font with Paulina and Humberto. Craig and I held Eddy while the priest poured the water onto his forehead. Eddy started to cry a bit, and I think he was expecting shampoo in his eyes. But when that didn’t happen, he settled right back down. Craig lit the baptismal candle.
Paola’s friend Dulce Maria and her mother were there and they posed with everyone for pictures at the altar and in front of the church. Abuelita carried Eddy as we walked outside. I took photos of the group outside the church, but the sun was so bright in their eyes that everyone was really squinting.
After church we had a leisurely walk home, enjoying the sunny Sunday morning and the pleasant weather. We could see the volcano in the distance. When we got back to the house, the girls taught Dulce Maria how to play Jenga. Olga was there with daughter Odilia, baby Angel (around Eddy's age, whom we had met on a previous visit when he was just two weeks old), and even newer baby Allison Margarita, who was a tiny infant. Angel was walking on his own, and seemed quite terrified of us. The girls' cousins Loren, Laisa, and Yesmy were there also. Loren was too young when we first met her to remember us, but she soon became comfortable with us again.
Humberto then announced that we would be going next door to his nephew’s restaurant (Restaurant y Cafeteria Yulex) for breakfast. It was right next door to Humberto's office, and just a very short walk from the house. Food was being cooked by the women in the back, and the guests were all seated at tables which had been pulled together into a long line. Neli, Andrik, and Junior were there, and soon Dulce Maria's older sister arrived. The younger girls played dominoes at the table.
The older girls helped the women preparing food in the back and helped to serve it to the guests. We sat across from Humberto and Eddy. We were served delicious huevos rancheros with black beans, and Humberto fed Eddy little bits from his plate. Eddy was pointing to items and making a questioning noise. Humberto would name the item in English. It was cute to see how Eddy was directing Humberto’s attention, looking from the item (salt shaker, sugar bowl, No Smoking sign) to Humberto’s face. Eddy is fully capable of communicating even when not using words.
We were then served cake with blue and white frosting. The girls were using my old camera. Laisa, Yesmy, and Loren each wanted a chance to use it as well. Every so often, someone woukd come up to me to ask me to settle a dispute about the camera. I tried to make sure that everyone got a turn. Laisa, Yesmy, and Loren's mother Estela (Paulina's sister) was there, and we got to meet her for the first time. She made it a point to say hello to us.
We went out to the street where Humberto gave Eddy a soccer ball. Eddy played with the ball for a few minutes in the sun. The older kids would disappear for a while and then we would notice them in the upstairs windows waving down at us.
Paulina's father "Abuelo" arrived, bearing a 3 liter bottle of Tiky pineapple soda. He had been working this morning, so he had been unable to attend church. I played Jenga with Paulina, Yoselin, and Yesmy, and Abuelo enjoyed watching the kids play.
Next we were served the pulique, a traditional food for a celebration like this. It was a delicious pumpkin-colored soup, and our bowls were brimming with white meat chicken breast. For Aracely's baptism, Paulina and Abuelita had started cooking the pulique at 4:30 a.m. When we hadn't seen it cooking this morning, Craig and I had wondered if we would be having it at all. It turned out that it had been cooking at the restaurant instead. The pulique was served with tomalitos, which are tortilla flour steamed in leaves like a tamale. They poured the Tiky soda over ice, which was quite refreshing. Kids wandered in and out of the restaurant, playing, taking photos, and chatting. Paulina's brother Carlos, his wife Vilma (we went to their wedding on a previous visit) and their daughter arrived and took a seat.
Eddy opened his presents. We had given him a bilingual Bible story book and a small silver crucifix necklace. It was packaged in a box along with some shredded blue paper. Eddy loved the packing material. Paulina placed some on Eddy's head for a laugh, then her sister Estela placed some on Paulina's head. Everyone got a good laugh as I snapped a picture.
Carlos, Vilma, and their daughter played Jenga. It is such a great game...everyone enjoys playing. Rocio was sitting with us at the table, and she started to shake the salt shakers like maracas. When I attempted to capture her with the camera, she went into a giggling fit the likes of which I have rarely seen. The two of us started laughing uncontrollably. She handed the salt shakers to me and took a video of me shaking them like maracas. We had a lot of fun.
As more people arrived (Rocio's brother and some of the other older kids), they taught each other how to play Jenga. We all enjoyed one another's company. Eventually everyone migrated back down the alley to Humberto and Paulina's house. I held Eddy's hand and we took a walk. He led me over to the chicken coops. He started to make clucking noises and stuck a small twig in between the chicken wire. Meanwhile, Paola climbed the nearby mandarin tree.
Humberto bicycled off to his weekly Sunday afternoon soccer game. We played with the kids in the hallway outside of our room. Loren, Yesmy, and Laisa had been very affectionate today, and they would continually come over to us, put their arms around our shoulders, give us hugs, ask for piggy-back rides, etc. Kids swung on the rebar hanging down from the second story of the guest rooms. The huge bowl that the pulique had been cooked in was sitting dirty on the ground. That's a lot of soup! Cousins Nidia and Pamela arrived, whom we also knew from previous visits. It was good to see them again. Nidia and another younger girl were dressed in huipil blouses and traditional skirts, looking very cute
A second wave of adults were eating pulique in the dining room and chatting with Paulina. I was finding that the new camera was going through AA batteries rather quickly, so Craig and I decided to walk down the street to a tienda. We took Aracely and Loren with us. They are very cute and just about the same age and size. We let them pick out treats at the small neighborhood store, and they decided on Shaka Laka milkshakes in drink boxes. We bought some AA batteries and then walked back to the house.
When we got back to the house, we saw that the girls had set up the stepstool like a gymnastics vault, with the foam rubber mat spread out in front of it. They would run down the hall, step up onto the stool, jump up off the stool, and land on the mat. Loren and Aracely quickly got in on the action. Aracely got in an old baby walker and propelled her way down the hall. Humberto arrived home from his soccer game.
The kids have boundless energy, and were running all over the place. Craig and I were sitting quietly in the hallway with Eddy. He was babbling quietly to us, about Mama, Papa, and the lightswitch. I was trying to quiet him down for a nap but girls kept running through, tickling and kissing him, winding him right back up.
Eventually, all of the guests had gone, and we sat outside chatting with Humberto and Paulina as it got dark. I took the old camera away from the kids, since it was dark and would no longer work without the flash.
Humberto suggested going for a walk. He and Paulina, as well as Paola, Yasmin, Aracely, and Eddy, walked with us down the the lake. Acoustic guitar music was coming from Sunset Café. We walked where stalls had been set up selling jewelry and trinkets to tourists earlier in the day. Aracely found a bracelet on the ground and was very excited. She immediately scoured the ground for more. She put it on her wrist, but a little while later she gave it to me, which was very sweet. We window-shopped in some of the stores, looking at all of the hand-crafted items. The girls were especially intrigued by some carved wooden giraffes as tall as the real thing (what giraffes have to do with Guatemala, we have no idea). We heard very pleasant live marimba music coming from some of the tourist restaurants on Santander Street.
Humberto suggested stopping at a street stand on Calle Santander for a dinner of churrascos, and that sounded good to us. We could smell the beef cooking. Paola and Yasmin watched the young man grilling the meat on the grill which, for promotional reasons, looked like a Pepsi can laying on its side. We sat down at a blue resin Pepsi patio set (sense a theme here?) in the (now closed) parking lot of a mini-mall. Humberto sent one of the girls to a nearby tienda to but Gatorades for us. We were each served a plate containing the churrasco meat in a red salsa sauce, fresh guacamole, and tortillas. Paola pulled wet naps out of her pocketbook and distributed them to us. Eating here is something the family likes to do on occasion, and we can understand why. The food was absolutely delicious, and it was nice to be eating on the sidewalk, watching the buzz on the town's main street.
Paola walked Eddy around, and she and the girls went into the Sarita ice cream parlor and played on the small plastic jungle gym and slide. Paola picked Eddy up and sent him down the slide. She is very good with him, and I got a cute picture of the two of them sitting together on a chair inside Sarita. Humberto bought us all ice cream, and we opted for dulce de leche in a sugar cone - it was delicious. Paulina went into a nearby establishment to pick up some sandwiches to bring home for Vanesa and Yoselin.
As often happens with little kids who are learning how to eat an ice cream cone, Eddy accidentally dropped the remainder of his cone into the street on our walk home. When we arrived back at the house, Vanesa, Rocio, and Yoselin were engrossed in a horror movie on TV. Vanesa and Yoselin ate the sandwiches that Paulina had brought home to them. We sat at the table with them and although Yasmin and Paola tried to engage us in games of dominoes and Jenga, they were quickly sucked in as well. We're not sure quite what the movie was, but it appeared to be about a killer mist, or fog. We eventually gave up trying to play the games as the girls' attention was clearly elsewhere. Aracely laid on the table. She had seemed a bit frightened but wasn’t willing to admit it, though she did edge a bit closer to the adults. She went from intently watching the movie to sound asleep within minutes. It had been a busy day.
Humberto played Jenga for the first time. The movie ended and transitioned immediately into "Date Movie". The girls loved the slapstick humor and were giggling uncontrollably. They drew pictures of scenes from it for days to come.
We presented Humberto and Paulina with a framed photo of the entire family, which we had taken at the zoo during our last visit. Paulina showed it to Eddy, and a smile of recognition crossed his face. He grabbed it, loving it, and not wanting to let go. Humberto turned off the TV and we all retired at 11. We went to bed at 11:30, now officially godparents for the second time.