As a child, my parents would ship me off to Argentina every summer break. They said it was so that I could connect with my family, heritage, etc., but all I heard was, “Go be awkward around some other people and soak up some Spanish while you’re at it”.
I didn’t mind. I loved being in Argentina – especially during the World Cup!
Although soccer (or futbol) in the United States has started to rise in popularity, nothing can rival the fanaticism of a Latin American country. During a game women cry, men rip off their shirts, dogs howl… it’s NUTS. Every time Argentina scored a goal, you could hear the entire neighborhood scream in unison along with the commentator:
One summer, my dad’s parents (selfishly) decided that they would come to visit us instead of me going to them. I was devastated.
I wanted to see my cousins and friends! More importantly, I wanted to see all of my neighborhood crushes. They had no idea I existed, but I still wanted to see them. Well… except for the Fish Vendor’s nephew who was painfully aware of my awkwardness following an incident in which I leaned in for a kiss, slipped, and face-planted in a patch of fish guts. Him, I didn’t want to see.
My grandparent’s trip also happened to fall during a World Cup. Unbeknownst to my parents, I took it upon myself to give the family the full Argentina World Cup experience. For me, it was all about the celebration.
I diligently practiced my post-goal runs and obligatory jersey waving/kisses. Now all that was left was perfecting the commentator’s goal announcement. For this, I would need a private area. Unfortunately, with 7 people crammed into a small house there weren’t too many places for me to hide. But I was small and resourceful.
I found a spot between the fridge and dining hutch in which I could squeeze myself into. “Yes”, I thought. “This’ll do nicely”. I then dropped my voice an octave and began:
Oh, hey guys!”
Hearing what sounds like a dying animal, my entire family frantically ran to the kitchen. Instead, they found me.
In my hidey-hole.
With my pet rabbit on my lap.
In a Spanish, man-like voice.
My grandfather frowned, my parents feared for my mental stability and my sisters burst out laughing. I tried to explain, but they just couldn’t understand what in the world would motivate me to do such a thing. And why was the rabbit there?
The answer was simple: Awkwardness made me do it!