English friendship soccer

Of soccer and friends (two equally important parts of Spain’s national identity)

First, don’t call it soccer in front of Europeans. For us, it’s football. Fútbol. And Spain lost today. Luckily, I didn’t watch the game on my own, I had three nice guys with me, Little L included. It would have been worse to watch all alone. You have to understand that in Spain fútbol is more a religion than a sport. Even if you don’t like it, you will know a bit about it. It doesn’t matter where you come from, whether you are Catalonian, Basque or Castilian, you have watched your fair share of games. And when the Spanish team plays, you root for them, unless you are an extremely radical nationalist. So I did today, holding my red scarf, and smoking at ten in the morning. It was too early to drink, a shame considering how I needed a drink. But it says in page number 37 of the mommy rules that you don’t drink while watching your kid. At least not until lunchtime. That’s the other thing about seeing the game from far away, the time frame, even if you watch the game live, it’s very different. Fútbol goes well with beer and olives, not pound cake and coffee. But I watched, feeling even more Spanish from the other side of the Atlantic. And I suffered. And I got upset. But we still have two games to go. And hopefully more friends with whom we can watch them.
Which takes me to my second topic of the day. Friendship is extremely important to your average Spaniard. Again, it doesn’t matter which region we come from, we are gregarious people. Maybe the bond is deeper in the north, but all over we move in groups. We even mate in groups. There is nothing like American dating in Spain. There, you go out with your friends, and if you meet a guy you like, you will see him at the end of the night. If you really really like him, you’ll have coffee or watch a movie the day after. And if you are lucky, it may eventually evolve into a relationship.
Today I had the chance to spend time with a friend I hadn’t really talked to in a while. And boy, did I miss it. Some of the best moments of my life were enjoyed with friends. I ended up bonding with my husband thanks to one of them. And when my newborn was sent to the NICU, it was my friends who were there for me. Not to talk about the many long classes they made more enjoyable, the wild nights out, and all the cries of youth. I’ve lived with and through my friends. And today more than ever, I miss every single one of them. Most live abroad, and three of them are leaving Chicago this year. Which saddens me. Hopefully, I’ll meet some new ones, I’m not the quiet type. But today, while I look to the east into the sky over the lake, I’m reminded of how much I would like to be able to pick up the phone and call someone seven hours ahead of me. It’s this time of the day, too late for Chicago, too early for Europe, when I feel the loneliest. So from here, I make a toast for them. Os echo de menos.

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