So my easiest way to integrate in Belize has come via football. And it has been a blessing, for real! At first, I was just dying to get active and play a little.... But now, it's become my "thing" here in PG. I'm playing almost everyday!
First of all, it's fantastic to be in a country where everyone is watching the World Cup someway or another! It's the highlight of the summer! In PG we had a blackout for the opening match and people went CRAZY! Love FM, the infamous radio station, was BLOWING up! People were calling in really pissed at the power companies for scheduling this blackout on the same day as the most important thing in television. (It was a planned blackout from 6am-12pm one day-I don't think they realized it was the start of the WC when they scheduled it). Some lady even called saying that the WC was the most important thing in her life, she'd been waiting 4 yrs for it, the companies are so selfish, yada, yada, yada. The radio guy mocked her, saying it was more important than her family, religion, her job.....that's how she made it sound!!! Pure madness!
Needless to say, the WC has made football even bigger than it already is here in Belize..... which has been awesome for me!
So along with the World Cup, I was in search for a team to play with.... I already blogged a little about my team experience.... but I really got so lucky with football here! First, I played with the PC team against the women's Esperanza, Cayo team... (it's in the middle of the country, north of PG). This was back during training and I met a guy who asked me if I wanted to play with their team.... I was stoked and agreed, only to never hear from him for a LONG, long time! So then I moved down to PG and continued my search for a team. Samuel, my co-worker, happened to know the women's PG coach and set me up to play with them one weekend....I just blogged about that game in my last post. That weekend I scored and got on TV! (I was also interviewed and it was shown on tv! ahhh!) That was an awesome game, and now people have recognized me as the white girl who was on tv for it! haha The guys in the post office knew me when I stopped in, the people in my office saw me, some guy at the Ministry of Works recognized me, and some lady riding her bike past me said she saw me on tv! So it's definitely helped me integrate in PG....hahaha. BUT the team never practiced or had a game again! So it was a one weekend deal...... and I was bummed. Since that weekend I've been going to the field to try to find out their practice times and in my efforts met some of the Rasta guys who play for the PG team called the Jah Roots.... They told me they never see the girls play, but that I could play with them. So I've been going out and scrimmaging with them a few nights a week --even though they kick my butt! I can hold my own most of the time....but they are fast and big and really good!!! But they are great sports about letting me come out and kick around and it's definitely helping my game out! It's a great time and really fun... Plus, now I recognize them around town and it makes things a little easier! Maybe I'll get dreads so I can fit in with them....yea rite, hahahahaha!
Meanwhile, since I've been practicing with the Jah Roots and haven't heard from the PG women, I finally got in touch with the guy from Cayo! So now every weekend I've been traveling around the country playing with this Cayo team in this women's national tournament!! We just won this past weekend and are going to the semi-finals next weekend!!! The Cayo team is really good! And they are so fun! My first game with them, they started me in center-mid--- I didn't even know if they knew I could play or not! hahaha. Last weekend we were down 2-nil til about 70 minutes in and we came back with a 3-2 victory over Placencia! (We were like the US...except no bogus call! hahaha) It was AWESOME! The game was in Placencia, but we still had a bunch of fans and we partied after!! One guy brought some beer he got from over the Mexican border--non Belikin beer! (since that's all you can get in Belize!) It was amazing! Such a great experience! They taught me some Kriol and we danced and it was really just fantastic!
So basically, thank you soccer because you have helped me find my niche in Belize.... =) I'm so lucky for this experience!