I attended a party with high schoolers tending the bar and got locked in a bathroom stall while at the city sponsored Carnival Fiesta last weekend. Like so many other of our experiences it was tinged with both the familiar and the novel.
Carnival is not something our family usually celebrates. I know its celebrated around the world and in the U.S. the most famous carnival is Mardi Gras celebrated in New Orleans. The girls were familiar with New Orleans thanks to Tiana and Disney. But more familiar to us is making and exchanging Valentines Day cards, a nonreligious holiday and therefore still acceptable in American schools. While Carnival itself is not a religious holiday, it’s roots are in Roman Catholic countries and is most decidedly celebrating the religious season of Lent. Carnival occurs in the week (or so) leading up to the beginning of Lent. The festivities include dressing in costume, eating, drinking, dancing, parades and celebrating before Lent.
Here in Buitrago there was a city sponsored Fiesta for children and another for adults last Saturday. On Thursday, the kids school held a parade through the village which each grade level dressed as different Ancient Civilizations. They have been working on their costumes at school for quite some time. Amelia is Ancient Egypt. Violet’s class are Aztecs and Clara’s class are Greeks.
An hour before the city sponsored Carnaval Fiesta last Saturday, I read the flyer the kids had brought home from school. Come dressed up! So the girls dug out their Angel and Cowgirl costumes from Halloween, put on their wings and cowgirl hat and off we went. There was face painting, crafts and a magician for the kids. For the adults there was a cash bar that was supporting the city soccer team. The high school athlete’s themselves were tending bar. It was quite out of place for us to see a bar in the school gym, cans of beer alongside crafts being made and even more odd for the high school sophomore and juniors to be tending the bar. Jeff wanted to order a mixed drink just to say he was served by high schoolers. And the bathroom stall I was locked in? I should have known better, Amelia warned me of the pitfall of this particular locker room toilet, but modesty got the best of me and I wanted the door shut. I went in, I shoved the door shut only to then realize the handle didn’t actually work and I was no unable to open the door. There was an eight inch clearance at the bottom so up and over I climbed!
At the end of the celebration, all the kids were called up on stage in groups of 1 or 2 to model their costumes. Amelia & Violet went up on stage. The MC was so confused by English speakers in Buitrago. A couple of the moms I know, yelled up on stage “They don’t understand!” in Spanish. To which the MC laughed and said “Ingles en Buitrago??” I felt a like maybe I was the butt of a joke. I probably am more often as well…I just don’t know about it! We do stick out and we do live in a small town and I was climbing over the walls in the locker room bathroom. We ended the evening with the task of carrying home wet, glitter glue craft projects several blocks in the cold. At home, we all clamored in bed together to watch yet more Netflix. There was also an adult party hosted by the city at the school gym that started at 11:30pm featuring disco and dancing. Jeff & I stayed hibernating in bed with our three little girls.