Category: soccer

Whirlwind

Things quickly turned into a whirlwind after I returned from Peru (and by quickly, I mean within hours of stepping off of the plane).  That is largely why it has taken me such a long time to finish all of my stories from Peru – I was just going non-stop for months straight.  Since I knew I was going to be gone for 5 weeks straight right after graduation, and I didn’t have a job lined up and thus didn’t know where I would be living, I just let my apartment lease end.  But that meant that when I returned from Peru, I had all of my stuff in storage, was bouncing around with friends because I didn’t have my own place (and doing lots of driving too, since most of them live outside of Atlanta), and also still trying to find a job.  The lack of my own place made everything more stressful, and the increased drive time was wreaking havoc on my back.  Needless to say, it was a stressful time.

But things weren’t all bad.  I did a lot of dancing during this time – in fact, the day I returned from Peru was the anniversary party for Wicked Westie, and you can bet your boots that I was there, even though I was nearly sleeping on my feet from the long trip back.  As tired as I was, I was really glad that I got to be there – I’ve missed every other anniversary party for Wicked because I’ve been in one country or another.

I did skip dancing a couple of times, but it was for worthy causes.  My favorite was going to see the Lego movie at an outdoor showing at Emory University.  It was something put on for alums and friends of alums, so Elizabeth invited a group of people to go join her.  I did miss dancing, but I had a great evening with some awesome people – including Federico, a friend of Elizabeth’s who is actually Peruvian!  Totally worth it :).  It was great being able to reminisce a little bit with someone who understood what I missed so much about Peru.

Another reminder of Peru was the World Cup, which started while I was still there but continued for a while after I returned.  I happen to have several stateside friends who also like soccer, so for the Netherlands-Mexico game we decided to go to a pub that’s popular for watching World Cup matches.  They were rooting for the Netherlands, so in the spirit of unity I dressed up in my best orange outfit and started cheering on the Netherlands.  But I couldn’t make it through the whole game like that – pretty soon my Spanish roots took over, and I took off the orange topshirt I had on and went over to the other side of the pub to cheer on Mexico.  Hey, I may have never been to Mexico, but it’s a whole lot closer to Costa Rica and Peru than Holland is! 🙂

CouchSurfers redeemed

Our “overnight” bus to Chiclayo was really more of a half overnight bus. We left at 8:00 pm, and arrived at 4:00 in the morning. Our CouchSurfing host, Edgard, had said that he would pick us up. Unfortunately, though, I had told him we’d get there around 6:30. So we had several hours to while away in the bus station before he arrived.

Just when I had given up hope that he would come, he finally showed up. And boy,  it was worth the wait. As bad as the CouchSurfer was in Huaraz, Edgard was the total opposite. He has a large, lovely house – although he lives with his son, father, cousin, and aunt, we still had our own room all to ourselves. After letting us rest for a couple of hours, he fed us breakfast and then took us into town.

The first order of the day was to buy our bus tickets to Lima – although Caro and I were going to different places, we both had to take flights from Lima. Determined to get us the absolute best price and departure time, Edgard took us all over town to see the prices of every single bus company. Although it was tiring, it worked – I ended up paying 49 soles for a bus ticket that normally costs 110. I’m not really exactly sure why it was so cheap but hey, when fortune smiles on you don’t ask questions! 🙂  I’m used to paying more as a foreigner in Peru, so it was nice to experience the opposite for a change.

After buying our tickets, Edgard and his cousin Fernando took us out to lunch at a seafood place. They ordered a bunch of plates that they thought we should try, answered all of our questions and taught us plenty more that we didn’t even think to ask, and paid for everything. Truly swell, swell guys.

Edgard actually had to leave that evening for work in Lima. But before he left, he made sure to treat us one last time, this time to a fancy dessert. It was all made with stuff native to Peru – lúcuma ice cream and chirimoya cheesecake (both tropical fruits only grown in Peru) and pisco sour, the national drink of Peru that’s made of fermented corn and lemon juice.

Edgard had just enough time to take us there and pay for the food, and then he had to go catch his bus. So we were left on our own, enjoying the food and marveling over his hospitality. After we finished, we found a lovely little walkway in the middle of the city called the walkway of the muses. It has meandering paths and plenty of well-kept shrubbery, but it gets its name from the marble statues of the nine muses of Greek mythology. This place was also recommended to us by Edgard, and I’m really glad we found it. It’s amazing to me the things of beauty that can be literally right around the corner, but if you don’t know about it you may never find it. The only downside to the paseo de los muses was the clown that was walking around talking to people. Although for me, it was more funny than anything else – while I dislike clowns, Caro hates them, so it was rather amusing trying to distract the clown from her while she ran away and hid :D.

The next day, Thursday, we had the pleasure of seeing Robert, our friend from Chachapoyas, one last time. He was passing through Chiclayo on his way back home to Lima, so we met up with him and spent the day at the beach in Pimentel. Although it was a cloudy day, it was still fun. We walked around for a while, just seeing the sights – my favorite was watching a traditional fisherman go out into the water on his little reed boat.  After that, Robert and I started a 1-on-1 game of soccer while Caro wrote in her journal. He said that I played well, but I think he was going enormously easy on me. After a while we caught the attention of a couple of Peruvian boys, and we got a 2-on-2 game of volleyball going. Without a net it was a little strange, but I still enjoyed it. After all of the hours sitting in buses, it was really nice to do something active.

The next day, Fernando took me, Caro, and his aunt Irlanda to the ruins of Tucume and the museum of The Lord of Sipan, about 20 miles away from Chiclayo. I must admit, I think by that point I was a little spoiled. If Tucume had been the first place I’d gone to, I’m sure I would have loved it. But the fact that is already seen so many other impressive ruins I think left me a little jaded to the ruins of Tucume. I will say, however, that as interesting as all of these ruins have been, I’ve still seen all of them with a touch of sadness. The main focal point of pretty much all of these archeological sites were either temples or sacred sacrificial sites. None of these people knew the Lord. The fact that so many thousands, even millions, of people have died not even having a chance to know God really breaks my heart.

I wish there was something I could do to change that. But we can’t change the past, only work to make the future different. There is still so much darkness in Peru – “religious freedom, but spiritual oppression,” to use the term a friend coined. By the end of my time with Caro, I was really desiring to do something to change that.  And, would you believe it, but I got an opportunity to do just that before I even left the country!  Our plans changed drastically towards the end of the trip – rather than going to the jungle together, Caro flew down to Argentina and I went back down to southern Peru to translate in a medical mission trip.  It was truly the highlight of the trip – better than Machu Picchu, better than the great CouchSurfers, better than seeing Mario.  Make sure to read all of the details in my next few entries!! 🙂

It’s the simple things…

So, I must apologize to you guys. I lied in my last blog – my next update is not about Morocco. The only thing that I can say about Morocco is that I´m a little nervous about being a christian female in a muslim country – you can be imprisoned in Morocco for wearing the wrong clothing or taking pictures of the wrong buildings or prostletizing. But God´s got it under control, I´ll be fine :). Also, I get the feeling that you will excuse my slight fib in my last message; I like to think that most people won´t mind to read one extra blog :).

This has been a cool week. It´s the little things that have stuck with me the most. I had a tutoring session with my kids on Monday – after we were done, they asked if I could stay and have a snack with them. Now that my dance class is over, I don´t have to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, so I said yes. So we snuggled up next to the space heater, eating chocolate rice krispy cereal and doing card tricks for each other. I know a grand total of 1 card trick, but it´s pretty cool; my kids were rather impressed :D. That was a wonderful way to spend my rainy Monday afternoon. I´m also seriously considering teaching ESL after graduation…

Speaking of kids, I saw the cutest demonstration this week. My school not only gives classes to English-speakers in Spanish, but they also teach English to Spanish-speakers. Yesterday while I was in the computer room waiting for class, one of the English teachers came in with her 4 students (they couldn´t have been older than 5), and asked if they could sing to us what they had learned. So they sang a little Christmas song in English, complete with hands sign and everything. It was adorable :D. That same day I went down and helped decorate the school for Christmas. I was giddy. I loveeee Christmas, and decorating for it has always been one of my favorite things to do. Check out the tree that I decorated. It´s not very elaborate, but I didn´t have much to work with, lol. Also, they had the most elaborate nativity scene that I´ve ever seen…it was incredible!!! Christmas is in 3 1/2 weeks, and I´ll be home in 2!!

But anyway, I digress. Monday night, I went to a bar to watch THE game – Futbol Club Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, the 2 top ranked soccer teams in the world at the moment. Madrid was ranked #1, but I was rooting for Barçe – I really liked Barcelona when I went there, and I really DON´T like Madrid after my experience in the Madrid airport. The game was interesting to watch, although not exactly a nail-biter – Barcelona trounced Madrid, 5-0. The more interesting part to me was watching the other people in the bar. It is no exaggeration to say that soccer in Spain is LIFE. The bar was packed hours before the game started – when we got there and hour before it started, it was already standing room only. The entire room pulsed with energy – when someone scored, they all stood up and cheered as one; when someone had a penalty, the entire room hissed with disapproval. Remember way back in the summer when I talked about the Culture of Braves when I went tot he baseball game in Atlanta? Well, there´s definitely an entire culture of soccer, too. It was pretty cool to watch in action, although I was glad to finally get out in the fresh air – the cloud of cigarette smoke was pretty suffocating by the end of the night.

Wednesday night I finally made it to Cine Cervantes!! I´ve been trying to go there literally ever since Jon sent me there the first week of September. I finally conviced Rodrigo to go with me last night to see Entrelobos, a Spanish film based on a true story, about a boy who grew up by himself with only the wolves and a ferret for company – rather Jungle Book-ish… The only time we could both go to was the late showing, at 10:20, but we decided to go anyway. I´m so glad we did. The movie was quite interesting, very well done (although it felt a bit like a documentary at times; there were a few too many random shots of soaring birds and rushing rivers for my taste, lol), but the real thrill of the movie was the theater itself. Cine Cervantes is one of the only historic theaters, if not the only one, still in existence in Seville. The experience starts outside, with the antique sign lit by a single flickering neon light that without a doubt used to be far more impressive. Tickets are bought outside the theater, through a tiny 1×1 foot hole in the wall. Once inside, you have to climb up a creaky set of stairs, the wood groaning every step with age and history, to get to the theater. The huge theater, with a faded red curtain and seats that were obviously plush and luxurious in their time, remind you of the theater´s heyday. The impression is accentuated by the box seats for the super rich, now standing vacant, that line the walls of the theater in 3 different levels. Every detail of the theater is that of a grandeur now mostly lost. It was a very unique experience – far different from the normal super-commercialized and modern movie theaters that we´ve all become accustomed to.

So there you go, those were the simple things that made my week so special. Not only did you get to share them with me, but it wasn´t nearly as long as my last post!! See all my pictures from decorating the school here. As I´m leaving for Morocco tonight, I PROMISE that my next update will be about Morocco.

Soccer and dance make a great combo

Soccer and dance – that has pretty much been my life this past week. Oh yes, and I study and go to class every now and then ;). Don’t worry mom, I’m doing fine in school – I got a 98% on my last test. I’m not worried :P.

So anyway, back to my story. Monday night I went to a soccer game with 3 friends, Rodrigo, Lauren, and Dan. It was a blast. Seville has 2 soccer teams, in different divisions – we went to the upper division team, Seville vs. Valencia. I got to use the blanket that my family sent to me when I was sick – it was SOOO cold! I bundled up under my blankie, and was quite toasty…and quite thankful for my wonderful family, as well :). Tuesday and Thursday nights I went to Bachata class. Thursday night I stayed and danced afterwards til around midnight– it was a blast. I’ve never particularly liked latin dancing, but it seems that that was only because I could never find guys who could dance it well. Now that I have, I love it :). One of the guys I danced with invited me to have a drink with him, so we talked for a while, too. He was surprised when I told him I was American – “I noticed a slight accent,” he said, but I thought it was from South America or something.” It made me super happy :D.

Friday I spent all day working on my last research paper – I’ll be traveling the next 3 weekends, and I don’t want to have to worry about it. So I finished that, and then went to a taco party with some kids from school that night. I was told today that I should be a personal assistant or party planner – the person planning this party kinda dropped the ball, so I picked it up this morning and had everything planned by 10:30 am. I suppose it was a nice compliment – but I kinda want to set my sights higher than a personal assistant, lol… Of course the party had alcohol, so I can now say that I’ve been to a “normal” party. I must say I don’t particularly understand the fuss. I wasn’t miserable, but I’ve certainly had wayyyyy more fun at pretty much every party I’ve ever been to that did not have alcohol. But oh well, the tacos were good… 🙂 After the party, we all went to dance. I thought that I was out late when I went dancing until midnight on Thursday. This place didn’t even OPEN until midnight. I finally left around 4:00 am. It was a blast…but the next day I was soooo dead. I slept on and off almost the whole day on Saturday. I dragged myself to an internet café to skype with my family – that was so worth it. I hadn’t talked to them since mom and dad left for Israel – it was so good to see their faces and hear their laughs and catch up with them. Saturday night I went to another Bachata class and dance, but this time I left much earlier. I cannot do 4 am 2 nights in a row – I really can’t do it 1 night, lol…

Oh, I almost forgot my other soccer story!! I found out Thursday afternoon that the World Cup trophy was being displayed in Seville for that day only. So I went with a friend to go see it – 4 hours later, we finally succeeded. I’ve never seen lines like that. It was definitely an experience, I’m glad I did it – but good grief, these people’s fanatacism for soccer is a little over the top, lol. Check out my picture with the world cup here.

Random stories of the week: I went to an old palace, Casa de Pilatos, on Tuesday afternoon. It’s one of the oldest houses of nobility in Seville – it was pretty cool. Although I still stand by my previous statement that beautiful old buildings all start to look the same after a while, lol :). But I also accidentally completed one of Jon’s assignments, so that was neat. On our way to the Casa, I happened to look at a street name and noticed that we were in the Plaza Pescadería, where I was supposed to find the underground Roman ruins. You couldn’t actually go down and see them – there were just big window-like things set into the ground, and you looked down into a little section of the ruins. Nothing too exciting – I wouldn’t have wanted to go out of my way to find them – but it was interesting walking past them and knowing what they were. There was no sort of labeling at all, so if you didn’t know what you were looking at it wouldn’t have made any sense. I also climbed to the top of the Torre de Oro on Friday, when I needed a break from studying, and got a panoramic view of the city. It was way cool. Check out all my most recent pictures here. Sorry this blog has been so choppy and random…I’m having trouble concentrating at the moment :(. Love y’all!

Viva España!!

Today I went to the early service at Buckhead church. I met David and Julia and her mom there. I think if I move to a big city I might have to invest in a GPS :(. It’s really hard to find your way if you miss a turn and only have a specific set of directions. That happened to me this morning, and made me late to the service. That was frustrating, but the service was still great, of course. The sermon was about having balance in your life, and not letting your desire for good things overwhelm you and rule your life (think 1 Corinthians 6:12). So anyway, after church, the four of us decided to go out to brunch (it was only a little after 10). We drove around for a little bit, and found a place nearby, called the Corner Cafe Bakery. I got an all-American breakfast – bacon, scrambled eggs, toast, and fruit. We went to sit at the little tables they had set up outside, and a restaurant employee brought our food out to us. The woman who brought it out was named Yvonne, and set absolutely made my week. She came out with our food, and insisted on giving us all hugs. She then proceeded to talk to us for a while. Nothing terribly exciting, but she was just fun to talk to; absolutely bubbling over with life and happiness. She came back later with silverware while we were praying; after we finished, she expressed her opinion of us praying. “A family that prays together, stays together”, she said, among other things. I found her as we were leaving and thanked her for her happiness, telling her she had made my week; that earned me another hug :).

By the time I got home, however, I could barely keep my eyes open. My late-night escapades from Friday night were finally catching up to me. So I crawled into bed and took almost a 2-hour nap. I finally felt semi-human again, and got up just in time to watch the World Cup final. My TV in my room is broken, so I went down to the basement of my apartment building and watched on the huge TV down there. It’s gotta be at least a 60″ screen; I curled up on the big, comfy leather couches, and watched the whole thing in the peacefulness of inaction. I’ve been going, going, going nonstop for so long, it was really nice to be able to just sit and think about nothing except the figures on the screen. (of course, I couldn’t actually do that, exactly; I did some research for grad schools while I was watching, as well, but it was still really relaxing. It was definitely the recharging I needed. Of course, I was rooting for Spain, and they won, woohoo!!!! It was a hard-fought, ugly battle, though. There were over a dozen yellow cards (14) and 1 red card (another that should have been a red card but wasn’t called). It was scoreless until overtime; Spain finally scored in the 116th minute. Lest I give you guys the impression that I have aspirations to be an amateur sports announcer, I will stop there and just tell you to look up the game on google if you want to know more :).

I went west coasting in the evening, of course. It was fun, but a little bittersweet, as well. I just realized that I only have 1 dance there left, possibly 2. But I made the best of it, and had a marvelous time. Now, on to bed. I have a presentation to give tomorrow; gotta be ready for it!! 🙂