Amigos, fútbol, tamales y agua de uva

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation at the bottom!

Carlos no es tímido, pero es algo antisocial. Uno no pensaría esto si uno lo encuentra porque él es un tipo simpático, agradable, pero la mera neta es que él prefiere pasar el tiempo con la familia y la gente que ya conoce muy bien.

Yo estoy lo contrario. Por naturaleza soy tímida pero me obligo a no actuar en el impulso de quedarme solita. Pasar tiempo alrededor de un montón de gente me agota, pero por iqual, me encanta vivir nuevas experiencias y tengo curiosidad por los demás.

Por eso, yo estaba sorprendida y feliz la semana pasada cuándo Carlos me dijo que unos de sus compañeros de trabajo nos invitaron a su apartamento y después a jugar fútbol. Bueno, ellos nos han invitaron un par de veces antes pero Carlos siempre no queria ir. Esta vez, (no sé por qué) él me preguntó si me gustaría aceptar la invitación. Mi repuesta fue, “Por supuesto! ¡Por fin!”

Así que fuimos viernes por la tarde al apartamento de su compañero, Mando. Ya conocia a él, su eposa e hijo porque fuimos una vez al cumple del niño, pero eso fue ya dos años pasados y ahora ellos están viviendo en un nuevo lugar.

Nos sentamos en las sillas del comedor y Mando abrió las ventanas para que la brisa entrara porque ellos no tienen aire acondicionado. Después, como buen anfitrión, Mando nos ofreció tamales; cuando aceptó con entusiasmo, él desapareció detrás de una cortina que divide la sala y comedor de la cocina.

Miré las paredes de la casa mientras yo esperaba. En una pared desnuda de otro modo había colgado un póster grande en un cuadro plastico. Era el tipo de póster que pueden verse en el pasillo de una escuela. El póster mostraba un águila con una bandera americana ondeando en el fondo – en la parte de abajo en una fuente blanca y con letras mayúsculas, decia: “COURAGE” (coraje) … Me pregunté si sabían lo que significa, ya que no hablan mucho inglés. De cualquier manera, me tocó ver ese póster en su apartamento – Me pareció simbólico.

Mando regresó con un plato de poliestireno lleno de tamales envueltas en papel aluminio. Él puso un vaso en la mesa. “¿Agua?” preguntó, sosteniendo una jarra de líquido morado. Le permití que me sirve un vaso de “agua” morada, aunque yo no tenía idea de lo que era. Resulto ser “agua de uva”, pero Mando y los otros compañeros se refieren a la bebida simplemente como “agua”.

Después de comer, fuimos a la cancha. Allí me senté en la banca con las otras mujeres y niños, mientras que los hombres jugaban. “¿Las mujeres nunca juegan?” le pregunté a la esposa de Mando. Ella me miró como si yo fuera un poco rara, pero con una sonrisa amable ella negó con la cabeza. Me molesto un poco que no podía jugar fútbol también pero lo acepté para no avergonzar a Carlos o hacer incómodos nuestros nuevos amigos.

En vez de jugar, saqué fotos, (lo cual era, probablemente, también una extraña cosa gringa que hacer.)

¡Qué hermosa es la cancha? ¿No están de acuerdo que parece a El Salvador o de algún país lejano? Esto en realidad es Pensilvania.

Pasé la tarde y la noche hablando con las mujeres y jugando con los niños. La esposa de Mando está embarazada y hablamos sobre nombres de bebé entre otras cosas personales. Ella me habló sobre su familia en México y se ofreció a enseñarme cómo hacer una salsa especial que hace. Se sentía bien hacer una amiga, observar cosas nuevas y experimentar la bondad de los demás pero salió la luna y todos los hombres proclamarón que estaban agotados, así que nos regresamos a casa.

Lo mejor? Carlos dice que podemos hacer esto todos los viernes.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Carlos isn’t shy, but he’s kind of antisocial. You wouldn’t think that if you met him because he’s a nice, likeable guy, but the simple truth is that he prefers spending time with family and people he already knows very well.

I’m kind of the opposite. By nature I’m shy but I force myself not to act on the urge to stay to myself. Spending time around a lot of people exhausts me, but just as much, I love new experiences and I’m curious about others.

So I was surprised and happy last week when Carlos told me that one of his co-workers invited us to their apartment and then to play soccer. Well, they have invited us a couple of times before but Carlos has always refused to go. This time, (I don’t know why) Carlos asked me if I wanted to accept the invitation. My response was, “Of course! Finally!”

So Friday afternoon we went to the apartment of his friend, Mando. I had met him, his wife and son before because we went once to the child’s birthday party, but that was already two years ago and now they live in a different place.

We sat in mismatched chairs and Mando opened the windows so the breeze could come in because they don’t have air conditioning. Then, good host that he is, Mando asked if we’d like tamales; when I accepted with enthusiasm, he disappeared behind a curtain that divides the dining and living room from the kitchen.

I looked at the walls of the house while I waited. On an otherwise bare wall hung a large poster in a plastic frame. It was the kind of poster one might see in the hallway of a school. The poster showed an eagle with an American flag waving in the background – at the bottom in a white font and in capital letters, it said: “COURAGE” …I wondered if they know what is says since they don’t speak much English. Either way, it touched me to see that poster in their apartment – It seemed symbolic.

Mando returned with a styrofoam plate filled with foil-wrapped tamales. He put a glass on the table. “Agua?” he asked, holding a jug of purple liquid. I allowed him to serve me a glass of purple “water”, although I had no idea what it was. Turns out it was “agua de uva,” [a type of grape juice] but Mando and the others refer to the drink as simply “agua.”

After we ate, we went to the soccer field. There I sat on the sidelines with the other women and children while the men played. “Do women ever play?” I asked the wife of Mando. She looked at me like I was a bit odd, but with a friendly smile she shook her head. I got a little annoyed that I couldn’t play soccer as well but I accepted it, not wanting to embarrass Carlos or make our new friends uncomfortable.

Instead of playing, I took pictures, (which was probably also a strange gringa thing to do.)

How beautiful is the soccer field? Doesn’t it look like it could be El Salvador or some distant country? This is actually Pennsylvania.

I spent the afternoon and evening talking with the women and playing with the children. Mando’s wife is pregnant and so we talked about baby names and other personal things. She opened up to me about her family in Mexico and offered to teach me how to make a special salsa that she makes. It felt good to make friends, see new things and experience the kindness of others but soon the moon came out and the men proclaimed that they were exhausted, so we went home.

The best part? Carlos says we can do this every Friday.

Posted on May 11, 2012, in Corazón, Culture, en español, humor, kindness, Spanish Friday. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Me gusta cómo describes las diferencias entre Carlos y tú. Pienso que somos opuestos. Prefiero estar con personas que conozco y a mi esposo…pues, también. No salimos mucho. Pero por alguna razón, quiere ir a una fiesta de su trabajo en unas semanas, y por alguna razón aún más rara, yo dije OK. Así, veremos que pasará. (Aún peor, está en la piscina!)
    También, me gusta las descripciones de la casa. Tienes una manera con palabras que nos deja con el sentido de estar allí contigo. Ese refresco de ‘agua’ parece rico. Quiero empezar mezclar agua con frutas y ver como es.
    Y estoy de acuerda, las canchas de fútbol son hermosas.

  2. Heart In Hand

    Making new friends seems to get harder as you get older. I’m glad you found some new people to get to know, although I can hardly imagine you sitting on the sidelines for too long!

  3. Tracy, fijate que yo desde nina visito muchas canchas de futbol, thanks to my Dad. Every Sunday, agarravamos camino a la cancha. Now my Dad is about to hit 50 and feels worn out to continue playing but lives off of my 24 and 18 year old brothers games.

    Ever since i can remember, the moms/wives never played soccer. They would sit around talk/gossip while all the kids played around. they would all bring snacks and share with all the kids. Back then… like early 90′s to mid 90′s, i don’t recall seeing women leagues or even simply kicking the ball around; But now a days, there are women leagues….. as well as coed leagues. I don’t know about you playing on the same team as Carlos….. because if he’s anything like my Dad, he wouldn’t like for you to play with men… Como que dice que los hombres juegan “pesado”. No se… Suena como poquito como machismo…. hahahahaa… but its sort of like a boundary that a woman shouldn’t play sports with males (specially her husband)….hence all the women leagues for all sports.

    Have yo heard of AYSO? American Youth Soccer Association… League for kids of 5 years old to 19 i think. My brothers played when they were younger. Maybe if your kids want to join other kids their age. No se si AYSO existe por tu area. (We are in Los Angeles, and they are fairly big around this area) Its very cute! hahahaa specially when you see the little 6 and 7 year olds running around a miniature soccer field. LOL

    http://www.ayso.org/home.aspx

    • Tracy López

      LOL, thanks for sharing your memories from childhood about the culture of the cancha jajaja. I’ve known for a long time that women don’t play and that we’re expected to watch the kids from the sidelines and chismear but it still rubs me the wrong way.

      I find it hilarious that the excuse is that the men play hard and don’t want to hurt the women – I’ve heard this excuse before. I think they’re scared we’ll show them up! I’m not scared of getting kicked in the shins or stepped on with cleats. I’m not scared of getting elbowed or pushed around – not at all. I was a month away from earning my black belt in Tae Kwon Do when I had to quit (due to my first pregnancy) – and I used to fight full grown men all the time. I can take a beating and I won’t cry about a broken nail or something ridiculous like that. I’m not that kind of female. Men are the ones who should be scared with that vulnerable little area between their legs jajajaja.

      Anyway, yes, I’m sure we have women’s leagues and there are county teams but I’m not interested in being on an official team – I just like to play pickup games when I’m in the mood and don’t like all that commitment.

      I’m not going to impose myself on others and humiliate Carlos because I respect my husband and I understand the cultural circumstances of why he doesn’t want me to play – it isn’t because Carlos thinks I shouldn’t, but because of peer pressure from the other men.

      My plan for now, I’m going to show ‘em what I got on the off chance someone makes a joke about me playing and inviting me into the game some day. Last week we went again to the cancha and I helped Carlos and my 13 year old son warmup on the sidelines by kicking the ball around with them for about 15 minutes. I plan to play around with the ball on the sidelines each week, even if under the guise of playing with the children. Even if they’re too macho to admit I deserve a spot on the field, they will see that women can be active, women can play and women aren’t good for just sitting around gossiping and cheering them on.

      As for my boys, my 13 year old is playing with the grown men, (that’s right – a 13 year old is allowed to play because he has a penis, but his 33 year old mother can’t… Really stupid when you put it that way, isn’t it?) … Anyhow, my 13 year old plans to try out for the school team this summer. Our 10 year old is like me – he just likes to play but doesn’t necessarily want to be on a team right now.

      Anyway – I’ll keep you updated LOL. I joked around with my new friend that after she has the baby we should start a women’s team and play on the adjacent field. She just laughed me off and said “Chingao.” LOL… I guess not then.

      • Hahahahaha, pues si. Eso es. I agree, some women would love to play with men. They like that kind of contact sport. When men play soccer its much more exciting than when women play soccer. At least from what I’ve seen. haha. You are tough! I remember that one post about opening the jar issue. Kinda similar concept. Pues, si eso… me aseguro que Carlos no es que no quiere que jueges, es mas por los otros hombres. Como ves, tu respuesta fue “Chingao” LOL.

        Pick up games are usually much more fun because you play among people you know and winning feels that much better. LOL. unfair right?? Your 13 yr si lo meten a jugar, pero a ti no. jajajajajajajajajajaa. I know, my brothers have played on my dads teams since they were 15 yrs old (until recently que mi papa ya no juega) Que bueno que tu muchacho va jugar. Its good to get into sports.. I wished i did when i was in H.S. Believe it or not for my younger brother joining the school soccer team helped him keep up his grades. i guess to remain on the team you have have a minimum 2.5 GPA if not they kick you off so you can focus on the core subjects. He was doing ok before joining, but now because he doesn’t want to get thrown off the team, he maintains his GPA. On the flip side, he does take a lot of time in the afternoons after school because he has practice. Ya llega a la casa como a a las 630. Poco tiempo para hacer tarea, comer cena y banarse. Almenos no anda mal gastando el tiempo. Ojala que la haga. Those school games are verrrrry fun to watch! Estoy segura que Carlos no faltaria a un partido. hahahaa.

  4. Sometimes just getting out and doing something new is just the refresher you need to de-stress! I´m glad Carlos wants to do it again! :-) My husband and I tend to get stuck just staying around home / families as well, so I understand how you felt at this nice change of pace! We feel just the same way when we are able to go out with friends.

    Hoy escribí mi 100th post! http://ihabloespanglish.blogspot.com/2012/05/feliz-100.html

  5. When I traveled through Central America and Mexico to get back to the US many years ago I felt like every country had a different word for water, soda, and juice. Whenever I asked for agua I felt like I got something different. Have a good time with your new Friday night outings. Sounds like great fun. Here’s my Spanish Friday: http://rubireyes-lifeinthearmpit.blogspot.com/2012/05/customer-appreciation-day-05112012.html

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