June 15, 2010

USA v. England and . . . .      Germany v. Australia

Bring on the fußball! The excitement around the World Cup has been contagious - I've definitely become a fan! Aside from the amazing skills of the players, just being out with new friends and rooms full of strangers coming together for this worldwide sport has been amazing. Every bar, every cafe, everywhere has wheeled out big screens for watching the games. The Germany games are also being shown on the big screen at the Brita Stadium in town, which we plan to visit at least once.

The contrast between the games we watched, and specifically their fans, was surprising to me. The crowd for the USA game was much rowdier, but I suppose a lot of that had to do with the venue: we watched at a military sports bar, packed with probably all the US citizens and military in town. In contrast, the Germans can watch their own games just about any place, so just by sheer numbers, it was less intense. I also didn't notice a lot of Americans in our country's colors or wearing anything denoting national pride for our game. I think we were the only ones (I was sporting my red, white and blue I ♥ NY tee). The Germans on the other hand, show up, for the most part, with German flag tattoos, waving German flags and wearing black, gold and red flower leis. Saying they're a very prideful country would be an understatement.

I must say the Germans also keep the spirit going long after the game. After the Germany win on Sunday, the whole town was full of cheering people. Cars would honk and it's riders would hang out the window waving the German flag. The vuvuzelas (the long, annoying horns you hear throughout the game) were blaring well into the early morning hours. Perhaps after many wins, I will tire of the craziness, but for now it's nice to see an entire country come together in support of the same thing.

(when the national pride extends to food, count me in!)

While the World Cup spirit has infiltrated the town, unfortunately so has crummy early summer weather. Our SF term of "June gloom" doesn't even do it justice, especially when the gloom is accompanied by oppressive heat, rain, crazy lightening and some of the loudest thunder I've ever heard in my life. I'm counting down the days until June 21 and if it's not summer weather by the first official day, I'm boycotting.

I'm super excited about the rest of the week - starting German class, more new-friend get-togethers, more fußball, more fresh banana and melon ice cream, and I'm hoping, some sunshine! More soon ...

*Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische