I am invested in the World Cup. I am originally from Chicago, but am staying up past 2 a.m. every night to catch all the World Cup games from The Netherlands. I was not always a fanatic; Puerto Rico and Poland, my cultural homelands, never really qualify.
It wasn’t until 2004, when my friend’s husband sat me down in The Netherlands and taught me the basics while watching his team Feyenoord that I fell in love with football. Fast forward to 2009.
At this point I had the 2006 World Cup under my belt (eight weeks in Munich!) and thought that I was ready to live in Europe (namely The Netherlands). Of course it would all be wonderful and glamorous and civilized and cultured, and suddenly my pinkie would be up even when drinking a soda. The problem? I remotely knew the culture and did not speak a lick of the language.
Grocery shopping became painful, as all I could do was point and nod my first three months. But in that time something wonderful happened — I learned to cook from scratch.