I never thought that autumn day when I left Ohio would lead me to start over more than once—with my geography, my career, my friendships and interests. Though I can’t plan for the next logical step, I have certainly enjoyed the ride–from visits to Ambassadors’ residences or dining with former Honduran presidents. Yet, one of the added bonuses is that I’ve now traveled to more countries in six years than I had in my entire life before that.
Among some of my favorite travels have been to South Africa (2010) and Brazil (2014). As if going to one World Cup was not already a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I had the opportunity to go to two! There is nothing like attending something like this in person. I felt that rush just yesterday, as the Cubs won!! These trips not only highlighted the beautiful game of soccer but also included visits to local wineries, safaris, mountain trails and more. In Brazil, we squeezed into a local bar to watch the Brazil-Germany game, donning our German gear. Before the game started, Brazilian fans glared at us, the outcasts. They were not subtle with their finger-pointing and judgmental comments. Within 25 minutes, Germany had scored 4 goals. Silence and shock fell upon the bar. Our thrilled shouts diminished to quiet fist pumps. By the fifth goal at minute 29, the bartenders starting giving us free caipirinhas. By goal six and seven, the now drunk, to drown their disappointed sorrows, fans were asking for our photos. They must have assumed we were German. What started as a rivalry morphed into a shared celebration. It’s amazing to watch how something as simple as a game can unite people all over the world.
I eagerly await my next adventure!