Happy 4th of July!
It's not quite the 4th in America yet, but start celebrating our wonderful country's birthday! This is the first time in my life that I've spent the 4th of July outside of America...it's strange. I haven't heard any fireworks here in Spain...seen any crazy outfits combining different shades of red, white, and blue...or heard any patriotic songs. Missing the U.S.A!
I was there!!!
However, I was able to celebrate a very special occasion here in Spain - Spain winning the Euro 2012! Spain's futbol (soccer) team beat Italy 4-0 in the championship game on Sunday night and it was a HUGE deal here. Sunday night was quite a celebration with people cheering, running, dancing, screaming, and hugging in the streets of Madrid. But Monday night was the real spectacle. The soccer players took a bus tour through Madrid as thousands of fans filled the streets. I've never seen anything like it. People of all ages covered the streets of Madrid from about 3pm until at least midnight.
I went out to see the madness with a few other students around 8:45pm and we walked out onto Madrid's main street just in time to see the players' bus pass by. We also moved closer to the city plaza where the celebration and presentation would later take place. People were packed in the street like sardines, but could not complain because their soccer team had just won the championship. They too were champions.
As I tried to breathe and secure my purse, I soaked in everything happening around me...so much pride for a nation. Spain is currently facing one of the worst economic crises that they have ever seen, yet everyone around me was beaming with happiness and pride as they screamed in unison, "YO SOY ESPANOL, ESPANOL, ESPANOL" (I am from Spain/I am Spanish). The people of Spain have already taught me so much, including that money does not buy happiness nor pride in oneself or one's country.
I am proud to be an American and proud to represent our country while I am here in Spain.