Last night we played our third match in 6 days. We have not had much rest in between because, despite it being a "recovery day" or a "game day" we still have two things every day. If it is a game day we have a two hour morning practice, if it is a recovery day the people who played have a 30 minute jog and then an hour of punting and then everyone has a second practice as well. Needless to say our legs are a bit shot. It showed in our performance last night. We played a team from Turkey and we were the better side by far but we ended in a tie 1-1... disappointing result. We opened up the scoring about 5 minutes into the game and it seemed like it was going to be a really easy match. We created and had a lot of opportunities but didnt capitalize on any of them. With about 3 minutes left they scored a sloppy goal and the game unfortunately ended that way. It was freezing and I think the cold weather added to our tired bodies and pretty much minimized all movement.... not good for a game.
Having said that, the team is beginning to look and function more like a team. We are getting used to playing with different styles and our bodies are adjusting to the training. Today we get the day to rest! Finally! I think everyone is going to take it by sitting on the beach, reading, sleeping and what ever else our bodies need.
I have made some great friends already despite the communication barriers. I have become closest with the Swedish and the Brasilian (Ximel and Simone, respectively) and the two girls from Cameroon (Njoya and Augustine). They are all such positive people and have helped make me feel comfortable in some very uncomfortable situations. Njoya and Augustine will be playing in the Olympics for the country in a few months and I hope to be able to go watch them play!
I give you their backgrounds because I have picked up on some funny cultural differences that I felt I should share with you.... I want to note here that the things I say are not complaints nor are they faults I am pointing out... I am simply stating what I have noticed and have learned to appreciate about our cultures.
First I will share with you what I have learned they think about Americans...
1) We cant play soccer, we actually play soccer like a sprinting horse with blinders
2) We are however, advanced with our physical training and fitness routines
3) We dont know any other languages
4) We miss America if we go anywhere else
5) We like to buy expensive things all the time
6) We like salads
1) They love rice and chicken (breakfast, lunch or dinner)
2) They LOVE apple juice (a glass at breakfast, a couple glasses at lunch and a gallon at dinner)
3) They dont see the need to say please and thank you
4) If you are standing in front of them in an elevator it is best to step to the side and let them out first, other wise, expect a shove in the back forcing you out as soon as you can fit out the doors.
5) "I speak you" means "I am telling you", "I told you", "I tell you", "he said to me", "he said to you", "they are telling you", or "they told you".... you must take it in the context of the words that were prior to or follow "I speak you".
6) They love taking pictures of themselves
1) They talk like they are holding a gum ball in the back of their tongues
2) They love sandwiches
3) They love appetizer foods
4) They are very happy, social people
5) They love desserts
6) They think sitting in the sun is a good idea... just like you do Brittany Kerridge... let me give a hint to fair skinned people here... sitting in the sun will do two things for you... 1) Probably give you skin cancer and 2) Make you red but not tan.
1) They all personally know Marta, Ronaldinho, and Roberto Carlos
2) They love bread
3) They say their R's and X's like SH's... My favorite is when Simone says Ximel... We would pronounce it like Simel... but she says it like Shmell. That makes me think of my fellow Shms every time! (By the way... hi guys! Shm, shm, shm!)
4) They too, are very happy people and ALL of them are good at soccer!
5) They love desserts
6) They love to sit in the sun as well... but it makes them tan
1) They do what they want
2) They like loud music
3) They love rice and chicken and fish
4) They are cold if it is less than 30 degrees C which is about 90 degrees F
5) They love Fruit Punch... no one in any other countries besides the US and Jamaica has Fruit Punch... so pineapple or cherry juice suffices.
1) They dont like colorful foods
2) When you speak the Russian language you must frown your face to correctly pronounce the words... this makes it a very dreary language to attempt to speak
3) They like to think you can understand what they are saying, so the carry out full conversations with you and then say "pon-ee-mite?" Which means understand? I have never once said yes.
3) After a few successful games of charades they begin to warm up to you
4) They like routines
5) They like designated spots in lines
1) Traffic signals are more like guidelines
-You know the scene in Blue Crush where the girls are driving on the opposite side of the road
as there is an oncoming car and it is made out like they are a bunch of crazies and being so
dangerous...? That is a regular occurrence here.
2) They like to honk their car horns (in two short beeps) at anything: to say hello to a stranger, to signal they are not stopping at the upcoming red light, to signal they are merging into the wrong side of the road, to signal they have made up a parking space, or just to hear the sound of their own horn.
3) They like to attempt to speak English with anyone who knows how
4) They are very generous, kind people.
5) They LOVE tea and coffee
6) Turkish delights are the most delicious dessert in the world.
So, the next time you find yourself in a group with people from many different cultures, realize that just because you get shoved out of an elevator doesnt mean that you were in the way, it just means get out of the way next time...
Nastarovia (Russian), Sauge (Portugese), Skal (Swedish), Sante (French), Cheers!