Jimena, Maria, Rosario and I are finding out seats around the dinner table where Rosario has set each of our respective meals. Jimena ask ways gets the seat with the Mickey Mouse placemat and the fork with the plastic handle. Maria shifts the TV in our direction so that we can see from the table the violent detective movie from the 80s, with careless Spanish dubbing. Rosario hands me the deck of cards.
The deck of cards are not playing cards - they are Catholic prayer cards called Pan Bendecidos and are covered in stretched photos of pink flowers, celestial skies and white prayerful hands. On each card is a bible verse and a blessing. Rosario nudges the deck towards me, encouragingly every night. The family suffers with silent smiles through my stumbling Spanish prayer. I try to focus on my pronunciation over the noise of gunshots, moans, passionate sex or punches emanating from the TV.
Yesterday I came home to find Theodoro, the fluffy pint sized family dog with three inch legs, uncontrollable snorting and a myriad of baby nicknames, dressed in a Cusceñan alpaca sweater. He looked like a hairy baby pretending to be a full grown Cuzco caballero. The sweater was nearly rolled up to his knees, so his paws would be free to do whatever the hell a tiny dog needs to do with his paws.
Enter Rosario. "What's so funny?" She asks me.
What's not funny about a dog dressed as a human?
"Why is he wearing a chompa?" I asked
"He was cold!"
It was 75 degrees out.