Hmm. Would you say “de septembre”? Any French speakers out there?
Anyway, Mini Road Trip September 2013!!
Okay, readers. This is the entry that is going to test whether my blog experiment is going to work, because this is the first one in which I bring in one of my divergent loves: football. Take a deep breath. I promise, it will be okay. There will be things to redeem it. I promise you. Photos will prove it.
Anyway, months and months ago, I bought tickets to see the international friendly match between the Portuguese and Brazilian national football teams, two of the best teams in the world. Also, two countries from which a few of the players on “my” team originate from. Cue excitement at the rare chance to see them play on American soil, even if it did mean I had to trek up to Foxborough, Massachusetts from New York to do it. Also, cue disappointment when two of my favorite players got injured before the match and had to pull out.
Actually, that shouldn’t have really mattered, since due to monetary difficulties (I’m currently unemployed), I thought we were selling the tickets. One deadbeat eBay buyer later, it was the day before the match, and a different friend (with a car!!) stepped up and the most spontaneous mini road trip ever was spawned.
Even though it’s not quite autumn yet, it is always a special thing to see autumn in New England, so I was quite excited. When I was younger, my family and I spent many a Thanksgiving up in Boston, and I have a dear friend in Worcester, so I was very glad to get back in the neighborhood. My friend, Rose, also went to university nearby, so we were going to stop off at her college town on our way back.
The match was a lot of fun, no surprise. I was rooting for Portugal, but alas, they lost. Here is why football is nothing to fear:
Here I am, missing one of our players who was injured, Cristiano Ronaldo. (He also happens to be one of the best players in the world, nbd.) I scavenged this wondrous thing after the Real Madrid v Chelsea match in Miami in August during the ICC tournament. Can you believe someone left this on the floor after the match?! Thank you very much to the several guys who felt the need to tell me that he wasn’t with the team that night, because I’m a girl and I obviously know nothing about sports or the players. And to the guy who offered me a whole dollar for my Cris head: Dream on!
See, football is okay, it has cute kids!
Cute kids holding flags questioning their life choices. (I’m talking to you, mister Righthand Corner.)
They are judging you for your skepticism. Yes, you. (Fábio Coentrão and Pepe)
Football has scenarios that play out like a Shakespearean tragedy. On the left, staring at a body on the floor. In the middle, praying to the heavens. On the right, well, I don’t think they looked like that in Shakespeare’s time, but you get my drift. Also, the guy between number 17 (Nani) and the abs, I adore your expression.
Football has handsome, well-dressed managers (Paul Bento) who suffer in the heat for style.
Football has some of the best hair you could ever want to see. On the right, beautifully full (Nélson Oliveira. In the middle, curls out of control (David Luiz). On the right, mohawk (Raul Meireles). There is something for everyone!
It also has players that travel faster than the speed of…my camera. :p (Hélder Postiga)
“Damn, she caught me.”
And football is nothing if not based on tradition.
And that’s without the exciting play! (That’s a lot harder to photograph. That’s all it is. Really.)
With the sport part of the trip under our belt, we set off the next morning for Amherst, Massachusetts to revisit some of Rose’s old university haunts.
But not before saying goodbye to Oliver. Who was having none of it.
Now, if you’re an American like me, you absolutely adored the film Amélie. (The French are amused at our mass infatuation with it.) Many years ago, I won a rubber duckie playing skeeball in Coney Island, and he became my travel companion, à la the garden gnome in Amélie.
Sadly, I seem to have lost Dirk somewhere in Paris when I was there in July. 🙁
I have been trying out a replacement for him, which you will see below. I’m still undecided. On the one hand, it’s a plastic cutout of my favorite player’s face (Xabi Alonso), and, so, naturally adorable. Still, he’s no Dirk. And he needs to be propped up. He can’t just sit places on his own like my Dirk. (Oh, Dirk, I hope you are happy in Paris, I miss you so!)
Anyway, back to the trip. As one must, we pulled over to the side of the road for some natural splendor.
That’s Quabbin Reservoir in the distance.
Our first stop in Amherst was at the Lone Wolf, where Rose has fond memories of chowing down.
Xabi needed a cold glass of water.
Next stop was at Rao’s Coffee, for a really fantastic cup of Joe. We may not be university students anymore, but we still need our coffee!
Street art along the way. Can you tell it’s a university town? 😉
Xava Alonso, ladies and gentlemen. (Get it? Xabi? Java? Coffee?)
Amherst was quaint. And cute.
Our last stop was at UMASS Amherst itself, so we could go into the student shop for Rose.
After that, we stopped off for some yummy ice cream, and that was it. Time to hit the road for good. It was really fun for me to relive Rose’s nostalgia with her, because I stayed home for college, and so I never had this experience.
I always get sad when fun things are over. I had thought it was because of the anticipation involved, but this trip had no anticipation, ha. But we had a great time on the trip home, listening to music and being dorks.
Hey, Rose, I’m ready for the next one! 😉 C’est parti!
(Please note: All photos are mine. Please do not use without permission.)