What happens when you’re Ecuadorian and make it to the ripe old age of 95? Wonder no more my friends, I am here to inform you of all that should occur should you find yourself in this unique and enviable position.
1): Like any good Ecuadorian, you should have an army of children. Eight to be exact, including a lovely daughter named Mariana who enjoys one-sided Spanish conversations with the gringa currently living at her house. The army of eight also serves to test said gringa on her ability to remember formal greetings, birth order, and every possible Ecuadorian name.
2): One of your sons should be a bus driver making it easy to load up the clan of kids, in-laws, grandkids, great-grandkids, and aforementioned gringa and drive the one hour to El Quinche to attend your favorite mass with the masses in one of the prettiest cathedrals in Ecuador. Tio Jaime, thanks for not driving us off the cliff.
3): Your kids should be fairly pushy in navigating you, your walker, the 30+ family members, and gringa through the crowd of hundreds of Virgin Mary/Jesus doll-toting Catholics. They should have the elbows to secure everyone a seat at the front, bulletins, and ensure that you receive communion. They should also be savvy enough to inform the gringa to guard her purse because sitting in mass does not protect you from thieves. Thanks for that Ecuador.
4): You should ensure that all family members are neighbors. This makes the process of carrying white plastic chairs, large pots of potatoes, and liqour to Mariana’s house very simple.
5): Again, you should have a large brood of offspring including small children for the gringa to play with when she doesn’t feel like having an adult conversation. This will boost the gringa’s self-esteem because her Spanish level is equivalent to the 6 year-old’s.
6): You should require at least one chicken be butchered in your honor. All parts of the chicken should go in a large pot of soup and the feet should be served to the gringa. You should not have to ensure that copious amounts of rice and potatoes are served because well, you ARE Ecuadorian. You also should not have to ensure that chicha and shots of whiskey are passed around because well, you ARE Ecuadorian.
7): You should willingly smash your face into your birthday cake because well, you ARE Ecuadorian.
8): You should require random men to be in attendance at your party to talk to the gringa. They should ask her to dance repeatedly, offer her whiskey, and ask her how to say “you’re cute” and “cheers” in English so that everyone can have a good laugh. When said gringa finally agrees to dance, you should ensure that everyone laughs and appreciates her efforts despite the white girl hips.
9): Your birthday should ALWAYS fall on Carnival so that water, eggs, and disgusting smelling foam can be sprayed and thrown on all guests in attendance.
10): You should revel in the fact that you’re 95 and Ecuadorian and have a clan of people to celebrate your life with you, that you can still walk around and visit with neighbors and your lovely Mariana brings you soup and potatoes to eat everyday. Your fiesta should and will serve as one of the greatest cultural lessons for the random gringa sitting in the corner taking it all in and attempting to speak Spanish with the random men who seem unconvinced that white girls can’t dance.
¡Felicidades Abuelito Juanito!