Sunday, June 27, 2010

Last soccer post... maybe

Mosey asked if I was into soccer before I met hubs.

Part of that answer is no. I didn't grow up playing soccer. I didn't grow up playing any sport or doing any activity that required fees or special shoes, or a ride anywhere. It's ok, that's just what life is like in a family of seven kids and no money. I don't even remember playing it at school during P.E. class. I also didn't grow up with a TV, so we didn't watch any sports at home. I only remember watching sports a few times-- college basketball games.

It is unfortunate I didn't play. I think I could have been good. The few times I have played for fun with friends and my husband, people comment on my unmined talent. I can run and I am tenacious as all hell.

So I don't think I even knew what soccer was until maybe high school... definitely college. Part of this, of course, was that I wasn't very interested in sports in general, or jocks.

Living in Chile was my first introduction to soccer as a world-wide phenomenon. I was there in 98, the last time Chile went to the World Cup. I had watched a few games with my husband, but I was stunned to see how the whole country shut down, in the middle of the day, gathering around TVs in department stores and bars to watch their team. I loved that sense of excitement.

Another part of the answer to that question, though, is that I am not all that into watching soccer. I am not that interested in watching sports period, especially on TV, and soccer is actually the only one I can watch for more than five minutes. Football bores me to tears; baseball too; golf is not even a sport and I'd rather eat glass--(I told my husband if he ever starts playing golf I will leave him, and I am only partly kidding); tennis is for cats-- watching the ball go back and forth. I made a very clear statement about basketball when I was four years old and unhappily attending a game--I said that Jesus didn't like basketball, and as proof, I looked around and said he wasn't even there-- apparently the fact that I didn't like it did not carry much weight, so I thought I'd use Jesus to get my way. It didn't work, naturally.

But I do like the World Cup (and I am clearly bossy and judgemental when it comes to sports, but I'll work on that later).

Of course, I also cheer for the US in the World Cup and I was disappointed that they lost yesterday. But in my heart of hearts, I secretly want Chile to do well. Part of it is because most of my history with soccer has to do with this second country of mine and my favorite Chilean. The other part of it is that there is a part of my essence that cheers for the underdog, that is just who I am.

I asked a facebook friend whether he was going to cheer for Spain or Chile in the last game, a part of his comment was rooting for the underdog. One of his Spanish friends claimed that Chile was NOT the underdog. Chile is not the only underdog in the World Cup, but Chile is always an underdog when it comes to international soccer.

First, Chile is a small country, with about 15 million inhabitants. That is like trying to find a competetive US team, but limited to the state of Florida. They just have a smaller population to choose from. If extremely talented athletes are one in a million, Chile doesn't stand a chance against many countries. (My husband and I always joke that if the US ever takes soccer seriously, the rest of the world should watch out--we have a very large, very genetically diverse selection base.)

Second, as a country, they don't have the sports infrastructure to attract, endorse, and raise star players. In the US we have the money and the best technology to train and pay players. We pay athletes (for sports we care about) an insane amount of money.

Finally, because of how teams qualify and who they have to play to do so, there are countries that play in every World Cup (Germany, Brazil, even the US). Chile has to play against Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and probably a few more that I am forgetting. The competition is fierce and only five teams advance. Brazil and Argentina almost always advance; they are soccer powerhouses (though Argentina fought to classify this time). The other spots are won through a series of intense games. Chile does not play in every Cup, the last time they played was 98, 12 years ago (look! math!), where they did not make it out of the first round.

So, given what it takes to get a decent team together and the effort it takes just to classify...yes, Chile is the underdog. Chile also has a bit of an inferiority complex, so they will have to overcome the psychological challenge of playing a team like Brazil--World Cup winner on numerous occasions.

So tomorrow, I will be cheering for Chile, against a soccer giant. It's David and Goliath and who doesn't love when the little guy wins?

***On a side note, have you noticed how many games there were where the colonized played the colonizer?

Brazil : Portugal
US : England
Chile : Spain
Mexico : France (ok, this one is not perfect, but France did invade Mexico and Cinco de mayo commemorates a battle that France lost to Mexico)

Is that rigged? or deliciously random?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hit fast-forward, please

Time feels like it has stopped. Do you ever feel that way?

I have been focused on what lies in the future, our move to Chile, for so long that I just can’t stand the present. The longer it takes, the more anxious I am to just get it over with, to get there already. I thought we would be gone by now and the boredom and insanity is settling in. Plus, summer heat has turned on full blast and I really didn’t want to experience another Texas summer—they suck! I know, I know, much of this is just the mind-set I am in and that if I were to look at this in a more positive light, as a special time with the kids, I might feel better about it. But mostly, I just feel irritable.

What I would like is to just sleep until this big move is over and I am in Chile complaining about the cold. But it has been interminable waiting. I just want to fast-forward. Where is that button for real life?

Our first contract on the house, after several extensions out of the goodness of our hearts, has fallen through. Fortunately, we have a back-up offer, which we will sign tonight, and surely there is no way we can have as many problems with this one—it is just not mathematically possible (but knock on wood). But it means more waiting.

Interestingly, I may have a job opportunity that fits my profile quite well. It is only part-time, with the potential for full-time starting in March. I don’t want to pass up the opportunity, though the pay for part-time is not superb by any stretch of the imagination. But it would mean leaving the hubs here to finish up with the house and taking the kids to Chile in the next few weeks—BY MYSELF!!!!!—a prospect that terrifies me to no end. Though I know we’ll have lots of support there, it would be a lot of stress and work. But even thinking of the flight with the two kids gives me the shivers. It’s ok, you can say it, I already know—I am a major wimp. Well, not wimp really, I can DO anything I put my mind to, it just causes great panic beforehand.

Oh, I may also have need for a rewind button and a replay option for some of my “taking care of children while irritated” behavior lately… if you happen to find a remote control with those features.

and just a reminder... tomorrow Chile plays Spain at 1:30 central time (2:30 Eastern/11:30 pacific). It is the colonized versus the colonizer... Even though Chile is leading the group, passing on to the next round depends on this game (and what happens in the Switzerland-Honduras game).

(remember that guy?)


Of course, when they pass on, they will play either Brazil or Portugal, at which time it will be appropriate to genuflect and raise your eyes to heaven, mumbling in prayer.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Viva Chile mierrrrr... coles!

Chi-chi-chi-le-le-le (where "le" is pronounced "lay")

Chile plays Switzerland in their second World Cup game Monday at 9 (CT)/ 8 (ET)!

So wake up, grab a cup of coffee, and cheer for my hubby's country.

(You can still cheer for your other favorites without being disloyal.)

Now, I am going to go for a run and try to lose the ten pounds I gained at dinner last night (seafood boil), where I ate like a little piggy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Everything's bigger in Texas...

especially the bugs.

That's a cicada.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Elusive states

I have been thinking about happiness lately. What is it? Do you know? Is it constant elation? Absence of misery? The feeling that you have everything you need?

I have been happily (or unhappily?) musing, in part, because of some of the blogs I frequent where happiness is a struggle. It is also on my mind because my mother recently accused (if that is the right word) me of being unhappy. I told her she was projecting, which I am convinced is true, regardless of my own state. Yet, I weighed it in my mind: Am I unhappy?

Talking with my husband once about depression, I mentioned that I did not think I was depressed, at least not in the clinical sense. He kind of cocked his head and looked at me skeptically. I insisted that I was not prone to depressive states, and he pointed out that some of my morose periods are quite lengthy and pronounced.

Some of my periods of distress are hormone driven, a fact which irks me a little because it makes emotions seem illusory, which, of course, they are.

Generally speaking, I am not unhappy. I am fully content, in many ways, with my life. I have done things that as a child I would never have dreamed possible. I have a great husband, perhaps one of the safest men I have ever met. I have fabulous kids. I have had the satisfaction of fulfilling major life goals. I have it good, seriously, I am very fortunate. In fact, I feel guilty when I do feel unhappy.

There are things I am unhappy about, some chronic, some acute. I won’t list them here, some are perhaps too silly and some are perhaps too heavy to share.

Perhaps the most important consideration is that I grew up immersed in pain and worry and my relationship models are marked by emotional turmoil. I can, of course, see the larger picture of human suffering: what I have experienced is much less than some and some degree more than others. Yet, it is difficult for me to reconcile what I know is negative about the world with what I know is positive. Perhaps there are certain kinds of childhoods that are just not conducive to adult-state happiness.

I like to consider myself at least mildly entertaining, though my humor is sarcastic in nature, from birth. But I am not at all what you would ever call a jovial person, I am not happy-go-lucky. I am pensive, intense, and opinionated in a way that can come across as critical. To make matters more complicated, I can be very hard to read, so even when I am in a state of bliss, it is very internal.

So, although I am not unhappy, I don’t think I would call myself happy either. Can that be? Is happy the true opposite of unhappy? Or are they two totally different scales? Am I neurotic?

Your musings?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Stoic Maxim

I am reading a novel by Norman Rush. It is slow and cerebral and is written in a way that I have never encountered. It was hard to read at first, but has grown on me. I came across a line, what the protagonist/narrator calls a Stoic Maxim: Of all things in existence some things are in our power and some are not. It is defended as "different from the pop variant" which is chanted at AA meetings. Nothing against AA meetings, or the idea behind the serenity prayer, but I like this one more... less trite, somehow.

"some things are in our power and some are not." Yes, I am feeling that.

The contract on our house fell through. I suppose in the grand scheme of things it is not to be considered a tragedy. I am disappointed though, and it definitely means a delay, which will seem trivial, I am sure, years from now.

I was chatting with a Chilean friend the other day who gave me some advice: when you trumpet things, sometimes they do not work out in your favor.

Apparently, I trumpeted my success selling the house too early on the infamous facebook status update and now I am paying for it. It is not the first time I have tempted fate, at any rate.

I told him to suck it, because I am mean and was in a foul mood. Plus, he harbors some resentment towards me and it seeps out sometimes in his commentary, and really, that is not a very sympathetic thing to say.

My perspective is a little less romantic, perhaps. I am more of the mind that things may or may not work out regardless of whether or not you share the news, but occasionally you feel a little sheepish (I don't) sharing seemingly-good news precipitously.

It has been a frustrating few days. After several fits of rage, including several aimed at our realtor (mostly deserved), there is nothing left to do but accept that some outcomes are out of my control and move on.

Also premature, perhaps, has been my preparation for a winter arrival in Santiago. I have searched high and low for winter clothes (in Texas, no less) for the kids, sweaters for me (who wears them here?) I even bought two of these cute little kiddie hot water bottles... (guatero con cola!)* or (guatero con patas?)

Don't you just want to cuddle up with one of those at night?

At this rate we will be filling them with ice cubes at the beach.

*Guatero is the Chilean word for hot water bottle. They have a term "guatero con uñas" (water-bottle with fingernails--referring to your significant other who keeps you warm at night. I am officially coining (don't really know if I am the first) the term "guatero con cola" water-bottle with a tail (or with feet (patas))