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Mexico, November 25, 2002

Congratulations Norman & Karina

And even the Pope blessed the marriage

sweet, eh?
a happy day for all...
now who is who?
especially the ladies...
we are family
...and my folks
Today I am celebrating my cousin's wedding in Chihuahua Mexico. Norman and Karina Arras were married in a wonderful Catholic ceremony, complete with a benediction by the Pope, and I had no clue what was going on.

The entire ceremony was in Spanish and went according to my Aunt Sophie's interpretation of what a real Mexican Catholic wedding should be, which while it may or may not be what should really happen, its what Aunt Sophie wanted for her fifth child's wedding in that very same Church. Regardless, I was clueless and had to ask another cousin what was happening.

Yvette was surprised I didn't know, and sat back in shock when I told her the reason why: that not only did Jingmei and I not get married in the Catholic Church, we weren't married in any Church, but at the Justice of the Peace in England.

So there I was, lost in this very Catholic scene, watching my Mom 'lasso' the bride and groom together, accepting responsibility for their marriage, when she didn't even know what the priest was saying. Luckily, I could now see the lasso as more than a blur, as I was wearing my new glasses I need to see far away.

Unfortunately, not even the glasses could help me with understanding the service, and soon I was just admiring the Church we were in. I did notice that Aunt Sophie had considerable influence in this Church, which didn't surprise me as she lives just across the street form it.

In fact, most of her kids also live across the street from Churches in Chihuahua, though I'm not sure if this is a family rule or just an indication of how many Churches there are in Chihuahua. Either way, Sophie's family is quite Catholic, with photos of them meeting the Pope in Mexico displayed in every living room.

And I went into way too many living rooms. Just counting Aunt Sophie's family, I have eleven cousins, ten spouses, and twenty-one second cousins. Add in my Dad's other two sisters and I have twenty cousins, seventeen spouses, and thirty-five second cousins!

Now you understand that I'm not joking when I say I need a spreadsheet to keep track of my relatives. Oh, and over the last month, I've seen the vast majority, even taking an overnight layover in Houston to see one errant cousin for two hours.

But enough about all family, I'm here in Chihuahua for this family, the new union of Norman and Karina, which we shall all dance, drink, and dine to tonight, for as long as the traditional Mexican music and our painfully constrained feet will allow!

Congrats you two!

Mexico, November 18, 2002

The Tex/Mex Suburban Connection

The Gringo Cousin Adventures pretty in the afternoon lets see.. Yvette, Ren, Alma, Joselyn the newest Arras This morning, I woke up early in my cousin's home and went for a run through his suburban El Paso, Texas neighborhood, where new homes are sprouting from the raw desert scrub, like...

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