Hey Travelers! One thing that I love about the Foreign Service is that you have the chance to experience moments that will go down in history quite often. This was the case for me during my first tour in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I got to have the unique experience of being in Brazil during the World Cup. Being in Brazil during the World Cup was electric. It was an experience that I will never forget.
For me, I’m not really a soccer or football fan. Well…I’m an American Football fan, but not the kind of football fan where you dribble the white ball with black stripes with your feet. You get what mean. For many U.S. citizens who live and grew up in the United States, we tend to call it soccer; for the rest of the world it’s called football. I mainly think I am not a die-hard soccer fan because soccer it is not as big as other sports in the United States. Growing up, my family did not watch it.
Despite not being a soccer fan, when the 2022 World Cup was happening, I surely became a bandwagon fan. Every game the United States and Brazil was apart of, I definitely watched. I cheered on the United States because it’s my home country and whenever we play on an international stage, you better believe I’m rooting for us. Similarly, I also cheered on Brazil because it was my host country. I cheered on both teams until the very end…until they were sadly eliminated from their respective rounds.
It was so fire to be in Brazil during the World Cup because in Brazil, soccer is not just a sport, it is life. I say this because EVERYTHING shut down once the games started playing…at least it did in Rio. I was so surprised because even the U.S. Consulate operated on half days when Brazil played in the World Cup.
It was amazing to leave work and be with the Brazilians in the streets cheering on our teams. It was a party with excitement. People were dressed in green, yellow, and blue, Brazil’s colors. There was laughter and cheers. Everyone was glued attentively to the T.V. screens in a good mood. It was one of the first times I saw Rio alive since the pandemic shut everything down.
I remember one day after work closed early, I went to Copacabana beach and watched the game with thousands of others under the scorching sun. It was epic to be on the beach, watching one of the biggest games of the year…eating, drinking, and being merry.
Being in Brazil during the World Cup is an experience I will always cherish. This experience has also converted me into a semi soccer/football fan.
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