Well, I have been in Spain for a month now, and I am long overdue sharing my experiences! I arrived in Madrid on July 11th, a day that Spain will now remember forever. Not because of my arrival, but it was the day Spain defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in extra time becoming the CAMPEONES DEL MUNDO (Champions of the World) in the 2010 Fifa World Cup. I boarded the plane with Spaniards decked out in red and yellow, and I arrived in Madrid to crowded streets filled with people bursting with excitement and passion celebrating not only the win, but their country. Singing, dancing, kissing, drinking, hugging, yelling, honking, swimming (in fountains), smiling… everyone was in pure state of happiness.
The celebration continued the following day upon the return of the team to Madrid. The streets were blocked off for the teams tour around the city on an open-topped bus stopping at a number of places including the Royal Palace to be recognized and honored. Red and yellow people everywhere, the party had not stopped, it only grew…people from all over Spain flew, drove, and took the train to Madrid to get in on the action. It was also interesting for me to see the news coverage which was 24/7 of the team, the celebrating country, the winning goal, and the inability for the Spain goalkeeper to stay “professional” amongst all the excitement during a routine interview (conducted by his girlfriend, a Spanish Sports Journalist) a video of the interview can be seen here.
My introduction to Spain was like no other. I was seeing Spain for the first time, and I was seeing the country completely united under celebration and pride. Fútbol (soccer) is the sport of the country, every single Spaniard was routing for their National team and sport. You can not find that sort of unity and community in America. It was something I will always remember, and is something I have been reminded of everyday since I arrived… I hear Shakira’s Waka Waka about 3-5 times a day at the request/pleading of the kids I am Au Pairing for…
However I don’t really mind, not just because the song is catchy, but because I know from experience what it means.