Old problems rise again. What is it this time? It's the beloved old challenge of taking in all the beauty, adventure, and fun that life offers, and turning it back out in written form in order to share it with all of you. Often, the silence that transpires on this page is a good sign - an indication that my days are filled with life and the living of it.
So I must apologize for the brevity of the following posts, but I can no longer stay hung up on trying to write of my adventures in detail. I will instead simply have to catch you up with a few smatterings of thought and rely on photos to do most of the talking.
So let's rewind to 5 weeks ago, when I embarked on a 9-day stint in Argentina with the USFQ fútbol team. One tournament, 13 girls, 8 games. The tournament was in the city of Córdoba, and as this was not a sight-seeing trip, this was essentially the extent of what I saw of Argentina. But I can tell you that this was all I needed to know that I will someday return to Argentina to get to know it properly. There was something about the land, the people, the life... something that planted a seed in my heart that makes me want to know this country enough to be able to say "I love Argentina!"
In a discussion of the merits of Argentina, the people of this country must be mentioned. Aside from Patagonia... and wine... and steak... la gente de Argentina is what makes me want to return and spend some time there. Every single person I came across, whether it was taxi drivers, opponents in the tournament, or strangers on the street we encountered when in need of directions - everybody was incredibly friendly, helpful, and genuinely interested in what we were doing and how we were liking their country. The local fútbol club even befriended our team and made sure that the visitors from Ecuador enjoyed their time in Córdoba. After the final whistle blew in the game against them, they were no longer opponents but hosts. The camaraderie between the two teams made me wish that soccer competitions in the States could be more like that. Good, hard competition on the field, but afterwards it's all in good fun, and the sport brings people together. I know that club rugby in the States is like this, and I've always envied that aspect of the sport. So I'm glad I got to finally get a taste of it.
Our team (in white and red) with the girls from Racing, the local club (in blue)
There's so much more to be said about this trip of mine, but even as we speak, life is happening. The sun is shining outside, there's good food to be eating, there's more soccer to be played, flowers to smell, music to move to, and dreams to be dreamt. I will leave you with a few side observations of Argentina:
Eyebrow rings are more popular here than anywhere I've been (including the States). Mostly on guys, though.
Rat-tails... also a big trend. Not mullets, but tails - usually quite long, often dreaded.
The people here are much more western/ European-influenced than in Ecuador. There are actually blond people in Argentina!
Coke and bread rolls are staples of the diet. I think I drank more Coca Cola in 9 days in Argentina than I have in the past 2 years! And bread rolls come with every meal, in mass quantities (at least in Córdoba they did).