Monday, June 1, 2009

Jugador No. 12 - My first Futbol Game

Dear Chicago –
I already regret my absence from this blog but have a great excuse for it. It has been tough since I moved to my home stay for two reasons: Tough emotionally because I cannot stand it here and tough physically because I receive a weak internet signal through one wall, only in the evenings. I am back, however, with great news: tomorrow I am moving to a new home stay. Gone will be the three boys with whom I have been sharing a bathroom. In the morning I will meet Cristina, an older woman with two grown daughters. She lives on the 14th floor of a high rise in the area, so my subway stop probably won’t even change.

Here is what has happened amidst the tears and tummy aches in the dirty house with the boys:
Saturday I moved into the new house. Great things: the gorgeous front door and the woman who runs the house. Everything else, not great. Was slightly alarmed by the heater (which didn’t end up working) as Cristina turned on a little gas line running on the floor of the living room, let the gas run for a bit then lit the heater pilot light with a cigarette. I’m all for a vintage apartment but mold on all of the ceilings and windows that don’t close. I could go on. Stayed in on Saturday night and tried to fall asleep next to the heavy metal band that practiced next door until 2:30. I was still exhausted from going out on Friday night, so I managed to sleep.

Sunday I met up with a girl from my program named Dora. We walked around the neighborhood and talked. She’s very nice, from Boston and loved her homestay. She was very sympathetic and we had a great afternoon together. From our walk, I hung out in my bedroom until I got in touch with Carla and Liliana. I received an address to meet up with everyone for the soccer game. I had a long walk – about 3 ½ miles – but met up successfully and enjoyed some fresh air. The game was everything I had hoped it to be. I attended with Carla, Nik, her Dad, her brother Marciano and a few cousins. We parked in a shady neighborhood and I was told to put my bag under my coat, walk fast and not say a word of English or Spanish to anyone, in order to avoid being obviously American. The cousins put their arms around me and we scuttled into the stadium, past to sets of guards and swiping our tickets two times to get in. After all of that we were seated at the mid-field line in a box of bleachers. The stadium is famously made of three round angled bleachers and one vertical façade shaped like a D, the result of an old land dispute. We were in the vertical seats and the view was unbelievable.
As soon as we sat down everyone started ripping up their programs and when the Bocas Jr ran out, the entire stadium threw the paper like confetti. There is a huge section of fans with giant Argentinian flags, a full band, giant blue and yellow umbrellas and banners. They are called the “Jugador No. 12”, the 12th player. The sang songs the ENTIRE game. Never before have I seen an entire stadium passionately rooting for the entire length of play. It was a great game, Bocas winning 3-0, which is pretty wild for a futbol score. The second goal was like a dance, smoothly passed to four players before slamming into the net. I’ll never forget it. The fans shot off fireworks and noise bombs from the stands during each goal, so the stadium was eventually filled with noise, smoke and cheers. It was a very cold night (I’m learning to understand Celsius – it was 12). Norberto – Carla’s Dad- bought me a Boca’s Jr. scarf to wear. My shivering and chattering is equally pathetic and uncontrollable on this side of the equator, but I love the scarf and will wear it faithfully as a Bocas Jr. fan.
I miss Chicago and everyone there very much!

Te amo –

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