El Mundial wrap up

27 07 2010

The real religion of Spain – is futbol. Over the last month, we have lived and breathed every moment of the World Cup. I was just as sucked in as the next person – robed in red every game, earrings, decked out in headband, earrings, flag tattoos, a bangle and even painted my nails with the Spanish flag, but I’m tiring of it now…

If the Spanish religion is futbol – the World Cup celebration looked an awful lot like worship as the whole nation pulled of the Sabbath with La Roja enjoying the ultimate achievement.

The Israelites also new how to party… I’ve been reading through Leviticus this month and one of the striking things is the way the whole calendar is marked with celebrations. The year is carved up into parties – and the whole nation was to stop and celebrate. While each holiday is slightly different, every time, the Israelites paused in God’s presence to celebrate their God who made them His, redeeming them, who provides for them and acknowledging that He is Lord over their everything. And each time they partied, they were reminded that the God who they celebrated in feasts and festivals is Lord over every day of their lives, every moment.

Over the last few weeks Spain really came together – showing what rules, what motivates, what consumes – Pray for a day when Spain’s celebrations don’t mark the consuming passions of football, family, food or fun; but the Awesome God who provides it all.

Someone challenged me – you’re not even Spanish! Well, unlike some who are Spanish by some unintended pace of birth, I’m Spanish by election – and I reckon that warrants the red.

While you have all moved on, the news still has spots on different people visiting the cup, how the players are resting, what it means for this years league…

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Make it End!

12 07 2010

OK – I’m right there with the celebration and the excitement of the world cup – but seriously, we are moving into our 10th straight hour of the television of the celebrations and parade of the players, on every single channel. There is no other item on the television. I’ve been dying for a news break even to hear the horrors of the day just to have a break. And what do you think is the first item – possibly the only item on the news? The parade of ‘La Roja’. The main reporter has no voice, he can hardly speak and he’s still reporting. I’ve listened to the King’s speech twice, the President twice and watched the crowds gather, the buses pass and the goals of the cup replayed over and over until they are seared in my brain. Why, you may ask, am I still watching? No idea. But I can’t tear myself away…

I wonder what would happen it the San Andreas fault had separated California from the states Lex Luther style if we would even have heard about it…

Last night a few people told me I wasn’t really Spanish. But I have to say, low blow. From the beginning, I was heaps more engaged in the World Cup than most of my Spanish girlfriends. So I might not be getting my 100 euroes, but they are Spanish by something that happened to them. They weren’t queuing in the ‘to be born in Spain’ line. I’m not Spanish birth; I’m Spanish by choice – and in the Mundial, that counts millions!!!

We Won!!!

12 07 2010

Each game as we got closer and closer to the final, the celebrations got more and more manic. During each of the games, the streets were completely empty. Taxi drivers didn’t bother working because no-one went anywhere. But afterwards… for hours after each game, the streets were filled fans decked in flags, cars tooting their horns, people chanting to each other.

Then last night was the final. The whole country shut down. My friend on an emergency hotline received a call asking if was OK to phone in an emergency during the game.

We watched the final on the big screen in the basement o the church – we were going to watch it on the roof but at 8:30 it was still nearly 40degrees, so downstairs was a slightly more comfortable plan. After the game, like all the lunatics, we headed into the city centre to fin the plaza packed with people wearing red, painted with yellow, blowing horns, waving flags, chanting and partying on. The statue in the middle of the plaza had people hanging off every centimetre and papermáche octopuses floated across the crowd. Total madness. We hit the biggest traffic jam that I have seen since I arrived here in Spain on the way home at 2 in the morning. And everyone so jovial dancing between cars slapping hands with people they’ve never met… reminded me of the night they announced that Sydney won the chance to host the Games.

Call centres (part 2)

3 07 2010

Along the theme of call centres:

My friend was telling me the other day that she works in a call centre and that when people ring they have the option of choosing what language they’d like, Castellano or Catalan, and one guy had been accidentally transferred to the wrong section and refused point blank to speak Castellano even to ask to be transferred. And as I listened I realised that Spanish people never get to chat to Indian call centres, they might get outsourced to south America, but I’m not sure whether a South american accent in a native Castellano speaker can really rate with the sometimes unintelligible English I have encountered on a service call. I tried to explain how funny it is but it’s hard to o an Indian accented English, in Spanish… And when you use the word Indian – people’s first assumption is native American, from either of the Americas. You don’t even get mileage doing the little head wobble because they don’t even have a stereotype in mind. I know that shouldn’t be a disappointing thing…

El Mundial continues

3 07 2010

Keeping my head up after each Aussie game as a challenge, not – as you’d expect – from having lost , drawn or even won (leaving), or because it’s exhausting trying to remember to cheer, heckle and ask for chips in Spanish all while concentrating on the game.

After each game someone tried to lift my spirits, supposing I was down because of the outcome; which I’d all but forgotten within seconds. But after focussed attention on one understandable thing all of I sudden I find myself in a room of animated people speaking about all manner of things in small groups with enthusiasm and volume. And it’s just easier to tune out.

It doesn’t make it easier that the games starting at 8:30 finish close to 10:30 so it’s close to 1 by the time people think about going home, an I leave at 8 in the morning. Not the only workers…

We watched the second and third games in the local pub, and the Spanish games in pubs and pisos around Córdoba. The second game we sat in the pub, emptied for siesta. In South Africa the crowd was dominated by yellow but we managed to make our own little puddle of green here in Fatima.

The third game, I arrive to an all but empty pub showing the Germany/Ghana which was also showing on free to air TV (while the Oz game only appeared on cable game. After a little begging and given the only other people were leaving – they changed the tele for me. So I started the game alone in the pub, watching the OZ game. The next guy that came in scoffed at the game and expectantly asked for the channel change. The barmen looked at me – I stared him down – and hesitantly he asked the other guy if he was German, knowing full well he’s lived within a block all his life, then shrugged and looked my way. <<Yes! A win for Australia and the game has only just begun!>>

Within minutes Australia had it’s first goal. My friends (typically Latino) turned up through the first half. By the second half we had quite a crowd as well as the locals who’d filled out the bar, a great atmosphere, and a barmen who tooted the horn for Australia and kept our table full of tapas. Most people were smiling – except for the non-German who kept looking at me sideways. Everyone cheered with us, and understood our groans, and generally loosely became Aussie fans if only for the hour.

The Spanish wasn’t that hot through the 8s, but I made it faithfully to each game with my red top, yellow earrings and flag on my face. That won me no friends with the Honduran crew who supported OZ so faithfully and lamented my obvious partisanship in the Honduras/Spain game.

I had been painting my nails for each game – a bit of an effort having to swap between green and gold, and then the Spanish flag. And they drew a lot of attention in the street – I’d go to pay for something and find the attendant grabbing outstretched hand awaiting change, to show them to the others in the shop. I don’t know how that’s out there when people flag out their cars and carry Spanish team horns that they blow the whole day and night of the game.

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