Although Ibarra is a city with over 100,000 people, it often feels like a small town.  One reason for this, is that when I’m out and about with my family, it seems we’re always running into a brother or a cousin in the Angamarca family.  There’s a lot of Angamarcas!  And every year, they have a tradition to gather at the homestead on a weekend between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in order to celebrate their parents and their family all together.  This year, their Gringita, got to share in the fun!  I was tasked with making the cakes and on a Saturday afternoon at the end of May, we headed off to the fun. 

After lots of hugging and laughing and cooking together, the more official ceremony started with Jose’s brother, Benito Kenedy, welcoming everyone and honoring their parents, Josefina and Victor.

Then it was decided that all the women should sit at the table and the men should go into the kitchen, organize all the food that had already been cooked, and serve it to us.  The men of the family made a big fanfare of putting on some aprons, and acting like they had no idea what they were doing.  And there was a lot of laughter when it took them over 25 minutes to get the food out of the kitchen.  There’s an overwhelming majority of men in this family so, to their credit, 
there was probably too many cooks in the kitchen! 
But the food was great!  Chuleta (pork chops), chicken vegetable rolls with mushroom sauce, potatoes, rice, tostadas (toasted corn nuts), vegetable salad and avena (a thick oatmeal drink). 
As we were just finishing up our dinner, a Mariachi Band arrived.  These groups are rented 
for 30 minutes or an hour, often to get the party started with old traditional sing-alongs – 
of which I know none of the words! 
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Then, according to the Angamarca family tradition, each family prepared a small musical or 
dramatic skit for entertaining the others.  This family is so creative and funny!
In the days prior to this family reunion, Margarita had mentioned that we also needed to create a dramatic scene for the party.  I told her that she was the most creative person in the family and that I would play along with whatever she decided.  By Friday night,  she ran into my room and said, “Becky, I have the perfect idea!  We’re going to be an International Band and you’re going to sing a song from the United States and Jose will be lead singer for a traditional Ecuadorian Song!”  “Great”, I said.  “I’ll think of a nice American song to sing.”   “Oh no, We’ve already picked it out for you!”, and she shows me a video of the iconic band KISS singing “I Was Made for Loving You”.  
By Saturday AM, she and Jose had bought some wigs, facepaint and fake tattoos, and we were painting cardboard guitars for Pablo and I, pots and pans drums for Alex and a cardboard accordion/ string instrument for Margarita to play.  I kept asking if we could practice and the
general consensus was “Nope, just get up there, lip-sinc and play along.”

So, here’s my debut as lead singer of KISS-Pizz.  The Pizz part is a play on an Indigenous word as a nod to Jose’s traditional song in the second part of the act.  I had to upload our 3-minute show in two parts.  As you will see, Pablo didn’t know what to think of my shenanigans, and my tinfoil boots
didn’t even make it to the end of the song!

Obviously, this concert highlights our first, only and last song in our repertoire.  The whole experience was hysterical.  I come from a very fun family in the
United States, but I have never lived with people who love to laugh so much.

In between the dramatic scenes and costume changes, team games were organized for the fun of all.
And then, just when I thought we might go home, the cervesa and whiskey showed up and the dancing began.  I’m convinced, dancing is a key ingredient in the Ecuadorian bloodstream!  
We danced for hours.
In this video, you can see how alcohol is distributed at an Ecuadorian party.  One glass is shared by all as you dance around and around throughout the night.  It takes a long time to consume very much. 
The Angamarca children, together again!  Kenedy, Josefina (their mother), Sergio, and Marco in the back row.  Jose, Victor and Wilo in the middle, and Veronica, the lone girl, sitting in front.

Me in the wig with Josefina, 
sometime late in the night.  
Here I am dancing with Josefina and Victor… 
very early in the morning!
At one point in the evening I was feeling very tired and thought I would go lay down in the bed in the next room.  But there were already 4 men sleeping crosswise in the bed 
so I decided I better head back to the dance floor!
I’m so glad I’m apart of this family, and was apart of this very memorable family reunion!