Little Evangeline was baptized this past weekend. First time I’ve been involved in a ceremony of this type since I’ve been here. The last was thirteen or so years ago when my son got married. This was interesting in several ways for me. First, it was a mass-baptism with many other children of various ages. The ceremony itself was so different from the one I attended decades ago… and not only because there were so many to baptize. I suppose it had something to do with the culture and it’s prevailing adherence to Catholicism – it’s even taught in the public schools. I remember feeling so happy and upbeat at the ceremony in the states; this one was in the same vein, but much more serious, or maybe ‘intent’ is a better word. This was an experience suffused with importance for many of those participating. Not a reason for a party, but a reason for welcoming into the fold… dare I say – into God’s Community. As many of you know, I’m a metaphysically oriented person, and my lexicon is entitled “all roads lead to the same place.” I was impressed with the seriousness shared with joy and happiness shared by the entire group… a coalescence of a kind of security I remember from being raised in the church. I remember what it felt like when I went through my first communion and confirmation – that feeling of belonging and that visceral feeling of a higher power that was watching over me. What a wonderful reminisence.
Anyway, since this was a family event… there were family members there in great numbers. After the ceremony everyone gathered at a restaurant and I was forcibly reminded – by my own self – that I’d been in country for a year and I STILL didn’t know enough Spanish to have a conversation with anyone. I felt embarassed and isolated. A year… jeesh, and this time of year this family is on the verge of a storm of birthday celebrations that will take up almost every weekend from July through September. That’s lots of family gatherings sitting on the sidelines underlining the fact that I haven’t done the work necessary to integrate with la familia… I’ve now signed up for a week of Spanish Immersion, just in time to practice around the cakes and presents to come!