This is my Camino. Welcome.

I bought a cocktail dress

My camera is too finicky at the moment. Accept this internet image instead. Sorry.
My camera is too finicky at the moment. Accept this internet image instead. Sorry.

All my bags are packed and ready to go
I’m standing here, outside your door

Just kidding. I’m not. I’m at my computer, eating alternatively from a bowl of mango slices which are too-cold because the refrigerator in the basement of my work works overtime and a bowl of soup which is too hot because I don’t quite understand our new work microwave just yet. My mouth just gets a roller coaster of temperatures.

I do leave on a jet-plane tonight, though. I’m going ta Mexico because said-boyfriend’s family is having a reunion/ matriarch birthday party over the weekend and they were kind enough to invite me. And kind enough to give me a plane ticket and stuff, too, to be perfectly honest.

I have packed approximately 100% more than I normally pack for vacations because I 100% don’t know what to expect.

I’ve done some mission work in El Salvador before, and I know from that that El Salvadorians think it’s weird and culturally frowned upon to wear short-pants. So, I wrote to one of the family-members like, “Hey, help a sister out. Can I pack short-pants? How do we feel about bare shoulders,” etc.


“I wouldn’t worry about it too much. But bring a cocktail dress, just in case.”

Cocktail dress? “JUST IN CASE”?
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Here’s the thing: if I had been told, “Yeah, it’s a rural place, we need to carry everything we’re going to bring on our backs because after we drive for three hours the final two miles are only accessible by foot.” I’d be like, “Awesome. Let me just update my REI membership.”

As it stands however, I’ve never publically worn a cocktail dress in my life, never been to a resort, never lived this here fancy life.

So I feel a little ill-prepared.

Text conversation, sent last night as I was packing and deciding on: “nice” walking shoes in addition to my running shoes or no:

Me: Are there any days where we will be walking super far?
Or running half-marathons?
Engaging in feats of strength?
Because right now I have everything from cocktail dress to wilderness survival. Just in case.
Him: Not like a hike or anything but touristy stuff

“Touristy stuff”??

I don’t think I’m familiar with this kind of stuff. My mom’s life goal is to live in a tent, probably, so camping was the method of vacationing as a child.

Last year for my vacation I cycled 408 miles across the state with my siblings. And it rained for three days and three nights and everything was soaked and have you ever had to convince your soggy self to start riding a bike when its pouring out and your socks are already wet?

The year before that I walked the Camino de Santiago for two and a half weeks and slept outside one night and peed outside as needed.

The year before that I went to El Salvador and my host family didn’t have a shower so every morning in the early chill I stood shivering and staring at the bucket of water I was supposed to dose myself with as my form of bathing. And dose myself I did.

So, yeah.

Cocktail dress.

I asked my sister-in-law to help me out and she was like, “Oh, yeah, I can do this”

So we went to my closest and I pulled out my dresses, “This one?” I asked, “Or maybe this one.”

She eyed my clothes. Eyed me. And politely but pointedly asked, “Don’t you have anything besides cutesy white-girl clothes?”

I paused. “Um. I guess not?”

She was like, “Do you own anything black?”

Me: “I don’t like black. Wait! I have one black skirt!”

Her: “OK. Wear that.”

And then the next day I went to the thrift store and bought a really cute little cocktail dress with a neat artistic overlay and paid nine fifty.

My mom said of my skirt, “That’s a little tight.”

And my sister said, “She’s hanging out with Latinas, mom! She’s got to try to hold her own!”


Remember that time I went to meet the family and it was in a foreign country I’ve never travelled to before?
And there was a language barrier?
And I had to wear a swimsuit?

Lawd have mercy.

But at least now I have a cocktail dress.

Pray for me.

6 thoughts on “I bought a cocktail dress

  1. Never feel like you have to dress differently from who you are. Your cute-sy white girl clothes are perfect. And beautiful. And you made a lot of them!

    This coming from a girl who has attended a disproportionate amount of black tie and cocktail parties in swanky places considering she’s a librarian.

    Also, I’m entering a convent, so I know that my in-laws already love me. #hollahatyouMary

    So, maybe Esther’s advice is better?

    But, she married into the Center family, so I feel like she doesn’t have this kind of pressure (just pressure to cycle the country and live in a tent).

  2. …and I like, slash that, love how you dress, but you asked for cocktail dress. Just so Kathryn knows.

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