Colombians know how to PARTAY!

Last week we attended our nephew's high school graduation in Cali, Colombia. The celebration, from morning to night, highlighted the many traditions Latins in the U.S. and our parent countries have in common. But, boy, did it ever highlight the differences as well.  

Now that I have my own kids, I constantly contrast and compare my native Colombia--which we visit yearly--and Miami, where we currently live. It may be the most Latin city in the U.S., but rest assured, there's still an ocean between us. 


Which brings us back to the graduation. It started at 9 a.m. There was a beautiful, moving, heartfelt ceremony. Then it was off to my sister's for lunch. Oh, there just happened to be live music and some 60 guests who managed to drink and eat and party until...goodness! Is it 8 p.m. already?

Time for the prom! This year, for the first time ever, parents and guests were invited to the senior prom. So there we were, in adjacent tables with groups of teens who were drinking (the legal drinking age in Colombia is 18) and dancing salsa, merengue and reggaetón like pros. My daughter couldn't get over how fun this all was compared to boring Miami parties.

I can just picture the frowns of disapproval at the thought of teens drinking, even when legal.  But  if your kids are going to drink (you DO know they manage to drink at parties and proms even when underage, right?) wouldn't you rather be in the same room with them? I would.

Like many fellow Latinas, I didn't have my first drinks at a college dorm or sneaking around in some party. I had my first drink over dinner, with my parents. For me, drinking isn't about getting wasted but having fun with friends and family.

Coming full circle in the same city and the same place where I celebrated my senior prom, made me marvel at how little has changed. And how different, in many ways, that life is from our life in the U.S., no matter how Latin we try to make it.  

Image via cayobo/flickr