I’m not sure

28 Jun

For those of you unlucky enough to not have been brought up watching the glory that is football (you know.. the game where the foot makes contact with the ball 99% of the time? I think you Yanks call it soccer), I’ll remind you: the World Cup is on.

[cue vuvuzela iPhone app]

Unlike the baseball World Series event that features teams from all over the world of the United States of America, football features teams from all over the world of the world. And Brazil will win.

When I was a teenager, I had a Brazilian flag hanging in my bedroom – I know, super ghetto. I am positive that there are pictures in my parents’ home office of me standing in front of it, full-on red lipstick, long earrings, and some kind of too-tight frilly top, posing like the little slut I used to be. Just kidding, I wasn’t a slut, I just dressed like one. And danced like one. And kissed lots of boys like a slut might. Really, not a slut. What IS a slut?

The Brazilian flag came in handy during World Cups past; at house parties or restaurants, I’d wear a tight soccer jersey, some kind of too-tight bottoms in white or yellow, Brazilian flip flops, Brazil flag earrings… I’m surprised I didn’t dip my whole body in green paint. Now I… eh. It’s tiring. My excitement for the game is the same, but I don’t feel the need to be a physical embodiment of my country’s flag.

Maybe it’s because of my apathetic feelings when it comes to nationalism; I don’t feel a desperate fervor for Brazil or the United States. Since moving to the US, I’ve had to check many boxes for the purpose of ‘fitting’ into something. I am apparently NOT white, as I’ve been told (in Brazil I’m considered white), but I’m also not Hispanic. Being the obnoxious little  thing I am, I generally mark “other,” and if there’s room I write in “Latin American non-hispanic.” BECAUSE WE’RE NOT ALL THE SAME, ALL RIGHT?

For when I’m asked “where are you from?” I have two sets of answers:

“Boston” or “I was born in Brazil, but I live in Boston”

The first answer I supply to the creepo at bars and clubs, as I stick my butt out  and away from him, fingers interlaced, in prayer mode, blocking access to my crotch. “Boston,” I say with a firm nod. “I’m gonna go stand over there now. It was nice to meet you.”

The second response is my attempt to concisely convey: “hey, I’m not American, which makes me fabulous and exotic, able to whisper sexy things in your ear that you cannot understand, thus turning you on more,  and now that we’re on the subject – I may or may not moan a little different than a white girl would.  But yea, I live in Boston, and this is my home. Thank god for first world amenities.”

In essence, I’m confused. Brazilians don’t think I’m “Brazilian enough” – maybe because I choose clothing that allows for breathing, because I don’t tell everyone about my business, because I haven’t made out with every one of them, because I don’t go to church, because I don’t eat steak… I don’t know. There must be a long list of my inadequacies. Yet I don’t feel American either.

When driving with a friend who’s also as Brazilian as me (moved to the US at age 5), I spotted what I deem to be an iconic symbol of American life; a  modestly sized pale yellow ranch style home, with immaculately kept landscape, colorful flowers in window boxes, and an American flag displayed by the front door.

“Look at that house,” I said. “It’s so… friggin’ cute.”

Barbara laughed and said I sounded pissed and envious. I wasn’t. I was really in awe of the sight, as I had been at age 12. Homes without seven-foot gates, without yard walls of cement with broken pieces of glass atop, that impede thugs from invading the property; without bars in every window, without five locks in each door – the ranch style home will probably always look a little foreign to me. As will colloquial baseball references, turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, tailgate parties…

I don’t feel particularly Brazilian nor American. Except during the World Cup.

I have Cup memories from 1990, at age 7. 1994 was my favorite; our dream team included captain Dunga, and I tooted my green and yellow vuvuzela out the living room window like the pest I’ve always been. Painted sidewalks, flags, music, noise, laughter, insanity. I may not have the same environment now, but I’m still a fan of the sport. I am not ashamed to admit that I broke two plates when we embarrassingly lost the trophy to France in 1998, nor to admit I cried when we lost again to France in the quarter finals of the 2006 games. It’s more than a sport, it’s an extension of our lifeline. Reason goes out the window and I find myself defending Brazil in internet forums and harboring evil feelings towards anyone who disagrees.

I’m not quite sure what the point of this rambling is, but I do know I must go; the second half of Brasil x Chile is about to start. I need some water, as I’ve already abused my throat with enough screaming, and I need a fan to cool off my ungirly sweating. I’m ready for motherfucking Chilean tears. Sons of bitches.


17 Responses to “I’m not sure”

  1. Barbara June 28, 2010 at 14:19 #

    My boyfriend was born in America, but the rest of his family was born in Portugal. Needless to say, the World Cup is a HUGE deal to them.

    • Juliana June 28, 2010 at 14:22 #

      hahaaaaa! well, tell him “you’re welcome.”
      Portugal’s got 3 brazilians on their team, and they learned to play soccer with Felipão, a brazilian coach.

      • Barbara June 28, 2010 at 14:24 #

        Haha I will!

        He said he’s pretty sure that Brazil will win because “they’re awesome”. I know nothing about soccer, so I couldn’t tell you!

      • Juliana June 28, 2010 at 14:25 #

        oh, i like your boyfriend! not like THAT. you know.

  2. Barbara June 28, 2010 at 14:28 #

    You guys can talk to each other in Portuguese. I’ll pretend I know what you are saying 😉

  3. Tom June 28, 2010 at 15:43 #

    The World Cup is great for whipping whole countries into a patriotic craze – there have been England flags everywhere for the last month. Of course they’re all being taken down now *weep*. “England Fever” has been cured and we’re returning to the dull monotony of normality.

    However – you have well and trully out-performed France this time so no more repeats of 2006 or 1998. My money’s on Brazil to win.

    • Juliana June 28, 2010 at 17:23 #

      yea, tom, i dunno what to tell ya. pretty crappy performance. and france, good god! what a mess!

      brazil (and i now speak on behalf of an entire nation) appreciates the support. we have everything we need to win, i just hope the players find the right chemistry/rhythm on the field, which i think finally happened for the first time today against chile.

  4. Amanda June 28, 2010 at 16:34 #

    Oh I know exactly how you feel about not feeling Brazilian or American enough. I was born in Miami (which might as well be a Latin American country) but my parents were born in Cuba. Growing up I considered myself more in tune with my Cuban heritage, then I left for college and became the most white washed Latina ever.

    • Juliana June 28, 2010 at 17:19 #

      haha, you mutt.
      we’re like Selena; not mexican enough, not white enough.
      i just hope we don’t also get shot to death.

  5. ohhayitskk June 29, 2010 at 10:19 #

    I am this way about Italy. I wasn’t born there, but my mom was the first generation born in America. Sigh.

  6. TipsyGypsy June 29, 2010 at 11:00 #

    Brazil is definitely one of the teams that’s going to reach the top. And while, I am not saying anything, I have to say, I’m pretty stumped by Argentina too! Germany’s game is pretty awesome too! I’m 100% in the World Cup grip… most of the second games start at midnight here and end at 2 in the morning…and I have to get up at 6 AM to go to work. Basically, all through out, I’ve been *trying* surviving on 4 hours of sleep. No wonder everyone thinks I’ve been PMSing for almost 3 weeks now!

    PS: Brazil kicked Chile’s ass!

    • Juliana June 29, 2010 at 11:17 #

      that’s right, my friend, football will keep you awake!

      i cannot wait for argentina x germany coming up on saturday. it’s going to be one hell of a game.

  7. Matt June 29, 2010 at 12:59 #

    USA is out. Mexico is out. Now I must turn my back on soccer.

    Who is this Pele guy anyway?

    • Juliana June 30, 2010 at 14:26 #


      matt, you are… lost.

      • Matt June 30, 2010 at 20:01 #

        lost or Mexican…

        either way I guess.

  8. Mr. Apron June 30, 2010 at 09:53 #

    What is a slut?

    A slut, dear, is any female who engages in remotely sexual activities with any man to whom she is not married.

    A man who does the same is called “a playa” and/or “awesome.”

    I hope this has resolved some deep-seated issues for you.

    I like to help people, especially people who write well and have funny apps on their iPhones.

    • Juliana June 30, 2010 at 14:25 #

      mr. apron, you dirty little banshee of Truth: thanks.. and thanks!

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