Guest post from YFU Alum AdrienneMy YFU roots played quite an important role in my decision and ability to attend a few World Cup games last month in Brazil. In fact, this summer marks the 20th anniversary of when I first went on exchange for a summer to Mexico with YFU USA. In 95-96, I went on exchange to Ecuador with YFU USA for a year and my senior year of high school, I became best friends with a Brazilian exchange student, Juliana, who we hosted.
My “Latin” exchange roots played such a strong important role in life, it wasn’t much of a surprise to my family and friends when I married a Colombian in 2007 and we moved to Colombia to live for more than six years. My Colombian husband is crazy about soccer and a few years ago when we found out that Brazil would be hosting the World Cup, I immediately contacted Juliana to reserve her couch for us to stay on so we could watch a game in Brasilia where she lived, knowing it wasn’t too far away from Colombia.
A lot of changes took place in the past few years since I reserved that couch!! Juliana had two kids, we had a daughter and an even bigger change was that we moved to Rio de Janeiro in February of this year so my husband could study for his PhD here.
As FIFA started to make the World Cup tickets available, we decided it was our chance to try to attend some games. All the tickets in Rio sold out too quickly for us to get any but luckily there were some tickets for a few games in Brasilia. I reached out once again to Juliana and reminded her about the reservation I made several years ago for her couch. She responded by saying her couch would be too small for our family and she would need us to stay in her guest room. Being my best friend and best little sister, she even offered to keep our daughter for us while we attended the games there.
The first game we saw was extra special due to my time on exchange. We cheered on Ecuador as they played Switzerland. Then we were able to watch Colombia play the Ivory Coast, which was absolutely amazing for us! Once Colombia reached the round of 16 we got even luckier, getting tickets for a game locally in Rio to see Colombia beat Uruguay.
Being in Brazil for the entire world cup was amazing! Cultures blended all over the country and every game was enjoyable to watch whether we were in the stadium, at a friend’s house, or at the FIFA Fan Fest in Copacabana.