I had no idea I would be so blindsided by the World Cup. I was excited before, and thrilled it would be in South Africa, the country of my birth. I was nervous that South Africa wouldn't be ready, that no one would go, that, that, that ---
I have a few countries to root for; South Africa, Argentina (my brother-in-law is Argentinean), the United States, and ... Mexico, (because I work with so many Mexican families.) I didn't think I would root for any team in particular. I told my families that for the first game, between South Africa and Mexico, I would paint my nails with the SA flag on one hand, and the Mexican flag on the other. Totally fair I thought I would be, just enjoying the game. That is what I thought. Then the opening night ceremonies began. I couldn't find on the English channel, so I watched them on the Spanish channel and got more and more excited. I cried, I loved watching the clips, I recognised places and did not recognise others. I was hit by waves of patriotic fervor, nostalgia, longing, memories. Sleep was out of the question. Friday morning I watched the game - a cousin came over. Simultaneously I was on the phone with my family in New Hampshire, Israel, South Africa. The TV, the internet, the phone, telepathic bandwaves. When Tshabalala scored that first goal we whooped, ululated, danced. The shrieks of delight flew over the air waves like the killer mosquito buzz of the vuvuzelas.
I am not sure I will survive the next few weeks, but it will be fun! Thank goodness the families I work with are equally besotted. Most of them took Friday off in order to watch the game. The first word of many of the children may just be "goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal" and that is a good way to begin to talk!
The event could not have come at a more opportune time, just as the world is going to hell in a handbasket, here is the joy of the game of soccer to buoy us up.
And now it is time to watch Italy and Paraguay.
VIVA BAFANA BAFANA