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  • My parents lived in Oaxaca and had a group of friends there, surrogate family. When my wife and I got married my mom and dad came but their friends had to stay in Mexico. They couldn't share in the party. They couldn't have afforded it and there was no way most would even be allowed by the government.
    So when we flew down 6 months later they threw a belated wedding party for us. These friends, most of whom we had never met, had become the de facto family for my parents. I had never met them in person but had heard so much through email and the occasional skype calls. Now, in person we were able to embrace and touch, family meeting family.
    Crammed into a small apartment we smiled and talked through my dad's translation. Even though language separated us we felt close, reunited even.
    Irma and Jesus showed up late carrying a small white box. After greeting each other they pulled out a ring of jiggly, fruit filled gelatin with a message of love written on top to my wife and I.
    Never had I anticipated a ring of jello as a wedding present. No American bride would pick this for a wedding cake. But here, amongst this new family, it felt right. It felt like our wedding cake and catered dinner had been wrong. The small, humble, wiggly gift full of pineapple and cherry was the perfect thing to remind us of our marriage and the group of friends we were now connected to forever.
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