Yesterday I was in Lima obtaining my Peruvian residency card. It was a typical bureaucratic experience with two items of note: the Peruvians determined that I am a green-eyed blond (and here I thought I was a brown-eyed brunette for the past 45 years) and my residency stamp is on the visa page with a JFK quote, which seemed fitting for St. Patrick’s Day. I did not have the luck o’ the Irish when our plane from Lima arrived over Cajamarca, circled a few times, and then flew back to Lima as the pilot determined the weather didn’t permit him to land. Or maybe not landing was the lucky part! In any event, for that reason this post is a day late.
Although the month of Carnival festivities had worn us out, we decided to throw a St. Patrick’s Day party last Saturday for our expat and Peruvian friends. The Peruvians were quite interested to know what a St. Paddy’s Day party entailed, and we were at a bit of a loss – uh, drinking and wearing green? But we stepped it up and made corned beef (from scratch, no handy pre-brined meat here), potato salad (okay, not entirely Irish, but the potatoes count), oatmeal cookies, and Irish cream brownies (courtesy of our friend Sarah), greeted everyone at the door with a shot of Baileys or Jameson and had the Irish tunes playing. Matt boss, Peter, contributed some Pogues and other contemporary Celtic tunes that complemented our Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem collection quite nicely.
It was pretty cool to have 5 countries represented : USA, Canada, Peru, Colombia and Mexico and everyone enjoying a typical American St. Patrick’s Day party. But the Peruvians like to sing and dance. While I was tempted to teach them all Weela, Wallia, I was concerned that this group of educators might not see the justice in the song but instead wonder why I was singing a song about killing a baby. (My kindergarden teacher wondered the same thing and called my parents for an explanation. True story.) We put on some YouTube videos teaching Irish dance, but as all I know about Irish dance is that you have to keep your arms down and shoulders straight, that was short lived. We gave the Electric Slide and Boot Scootin’ Boogie a shot (thank you, Mistina and Sarah), but in the end, Latin music prevailed. One of the teachers noted, “you Americans dance with your legs, not your hips” and I think she understood why learning to salsa is not natural for us! The party went until the wee hours and a good time was had by all.