Yes, that is exactly what we did. Except the ratio was a bit off…three to five American girls would swarm around an international student.
I had already met my cousin, though. She sat by me in mass earlier that week, and I listened to her say the Our Father in Spanish. She just didn’t know it yet.
Once the match-making event rolled around, I saw her standing with one of the guys I met at the salsa making class I had attended earlier in the semester. I remembered her by her hair.
This is starting to sound more and more like a creepy love story, but I don’t know what else you could call it. I had a cousin crush on her. And after I introduced myself and we started talking, I wanted to be with nobody else.
But they split us up. We had to separate into groups based on a little quiz we took. In other words, I was systematically prohibited from being in the same group as the one girl I wanted to be my OU Cousin.
“Oh, I forgot to mention, if you have found your cousin, you may go ahead upstairs to be paired up within the system!”
This was it, my chance to join Sara in the holy unity that is OU Cousins. I rushed around the room until I found her, I ripped her from her partner for whatever activity they were doing, and while holding her shoulder, I popped the question: “Will you be my cousin?”
My heart was racing, she could say anything! There was no obligation to say yes to the first person who asked you. But she did. Sara said yes to being my cousin.
And the months since have been incredible. We both come from warmer climates, so I got to take her shopping for winter clothes. We carved pumpkins together, ate hamburgers together, danced together…
But Sara really deserves some recognition. In all these activities, I have proven to be very American – especially in the way I dance. But we have had conversations that have softened the line of cultural differences. We talk about (and laugh at) boys the same way and reminisce on the memories of fruit from back home (because Oklahoma is VERY unhealthy) the same way.
That’s not to say she hasn’t taught me a lot about her life back home, for instance, debunking “Narcos” myths about her hometown of Medillín, or sharing how close her family and community are.
Sara goes home this December. I don’t know how we’re gonna do this whole long distance thing.