For our first four years of marriage, we were part of a small church called Iglesia del Redentor. It was a gem of a find: a tiny Spanish-speaking Presbyterian church, full of friends who felt like family. The numbers weren’t sustainable, and much to our sadness closed down last year. This weekend we had a reunion of sorts with four core families, to watch the final world cup game and see each other. Though we’ve since found a new (English-speaking) church we love, what fun it was to be with friends again whose families are also a mix of language and culture. Peru, Cuba, Mexico, Spain, and the U.S. were all represented at our weekend together.
We ate lots of food (Edna’s tamales and homemade hielitos were the highlight), swam, played, joked and talked in a mess of English and Spanish. Sunday morning, before the game, we sang our old hymns and songs in Spanish. What a gift for our kids, to grow up like this! Theirs is a United States of cultural richness, in which multilingualism, travel, and interest in the world is the norm. We enjoyed the local beauty of South Carolina, along with that which supersedes borders and language: friendship, kindness, faith, and closeness to family. When I think of what I want for my children, those are the sorts of gifts I would choose.