Our friend Marta's parents invited us to their house for dinner on Sunday. Sunday dinner is truly a family affair for the Cordova's, because it includes four generations of family. Marta has eight siblings, and five of them live in Cuenca, and each of her siblings have children, and some even grandchildren. We were invited, because the family wanted to meet the gringos who were teaching English to two of the great-grandchildren (Joaquim and Juan-Jose), and helping Marta with her apartments.
Marta and her daughter Alexandra, who is a dentist, picked us up at our apartment at 1:30, and we drove to her parents house which is nearby. I had meet Marta's father our first week here when Edgar (building manager), and I were running around town getting parts to install our washer and dryer. He is a retired member of the National Police, and he spent a year in New Jersey training with the State police there in the 1980's, and he is very healthy 82 years old. Once we arrived at the house, we began the process of meeting the family. I lost count after meeting the first 20 members of the family. The meal was fabulous, soup and salad to start, followed by a dish consisting of large shrimp, vegetables, and rice. For dessert we had raspberries covered in the best whip cream I have ever had. Plenty of good food, two huge tables of people, and great conversation. Marta's oldest brother loves music, so we went back and forth inquiring to what kind of music, and artists we enjoyed. Marta's mother looked at me and realized I look a little like John F. Kennedy, and later Robert Kennedy. What is funny, is I have heard that comparison for the last 20 years, and to have Marta's mother point out the resemblance over dinner was surreal.
After dessert, we all headed upstairs to the covered terrace, and continued our conversations. The family was curious why we chose Cuenca as our new home, and wanted to know all about our family. During our talk, we learned that Ecuador shares the same problems we have in the states. The middle-class in Ecuador is seeing a reduction in their quality of life, and families are spending less time together than they did even five years ago. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle-class is seeing the cost-of-living rising faster than income. It was nice to seeing Marta's 60 year old brother sitting next to his mother holding her hand as he talked, and seeing the grandchildren listening to every word their elders spoke. It was a truly special afternoon for us to be welcomed into the Cordova home, and to be treated as family.
We left at 5:45 to head home, and while we were saying our goodbyes, Marta's parents told us we are now part of their family, and are welcome to come to dinner every Sunday. It was a great afternoon for us, and so much more happened than what I have written here, but as we attend more Sunday dinners, and our Spanish improves, I hope to share more experiences of the Cordova family. Life is good.