Our friend Zan from GW spent a few weeks in Buenos Aires after graduation this past summer, and he provided us with plenty of suggestions for interesting endeavors to explore. He directed almost all of his ideas to us both, but one in particular to just me: pick up basketball at the Club de Amigos in Palermo every Saturday at 5:00pm. Having played countless games of hoop at school, he knew that I would revel in the opportunity. I had dreams of several outdoor courts lined up side by side, the rhythm of sneakers and basketballs pounding the pavement, and Saturday afternoons spent playing the game that I love in my new home. But I've been here for six Saturdays, and I haven't spent a single one dribbling up a court or taking jump shots. Not because I don't want to, but because of the Cadillacs, our Frisbee team.
Honestly, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. When our friend Nick suggested one Friday night that we come out with him the next day and play Frisbee with his friends, we envisioned a leisurely afternoon spent throwing around the disc, maybe get some running in but nothing too strenuous. Shortly after arriving and meeting everyone, fifteen minutes of jogging around the field dashed those preconceptions. Drills and more running followed, after which we walked for what seemed like miles, only to do more drills and play a game. Nick had failed to tell us that we would be partaking in some ULTIMATE Ultimate Frisbee with many seasoned players from the United States, Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela. Julia and I were painfully out of shape (not to mention tired and hungover from staying out until 6:30 the previous night), and lacked basic Frisbee skills that could have compensated for our heaving chests. We hardly played in the game - I think I only went in once - and woke up the next morning feeling incredibly sore. But we got good vibes from the players, our new found Cadillac teammates, who generally welcomed us. Plus, Ultimate is a very fun game once you get into it and it obviously offered a great way to exercise and meet people, so we stuck with it and started going to practices.
Bit by bit, we started to become more a part of the team. Our play and confidence improved, largely due to the tutelage of other team members who remained (and still remain) patient and positive even when we would falter. It was at this point that we started to realize that we had come upon a really great group of people. Many of them are two years younger than us, while others are two years older than us or more, but it doesn't show. They are serious about their Frisbee, but much more serious about having a good time. And even though they had these preexisting friendships thanks to months of playing and hanging out together, they really embraced our presence and never made us feel like a liability. We went out for pizza after practices, got invited to Frisbee parties, and even received a Cadillacs jersey. Just last night, we hosted a small get together with some of our Frisbee friends, and it was a genuinely good time had by all. In addition, hanging out with our Frisbee friends has afforded Julia more opportunities to learn and speak Spanish, and everyone is very supportive of her and convinced that she will be proficient in no time since she's already improved so much.
Basically, after every Cadillacs function, Julia and I comment on how much fun we just had and how fortunate we are to have found these new friends. This past Sunday was no exception. In fact, it may have set the bar too high to be topped. First we arrived at someone's apartment that we had met very briefly the day before (we know her boyfriend a bit better, but he was not in), and she cheerfully welcomed us into her apartment as if we were old friends. Soon after, more Cadillacs arrived and we followed our friend Felipe's misguided sense of direction to our other friend Diego's house for his birthday party, an asado, or Argentinian barbecue. Diego informed us that this would not be a traditional asado since he would not be grilling every part of the cow worth eating, but more of a make shift asado with chorizo (sausage, for CHORIPAN!), some bandiola (a cut of pork), and lomitos (small steaks). Regardless, we were all very excited to take part in Diego's birthday celebration, which took place on the roof of his house. We all settled in at the table set below a large umbrella. Some went inside to help cut up fruit for our crude Sangria (the Colombians called it clérico), while others, including myself, simply sat outside and enjoyed each others company in the cool evening breeze. I was talking with our friend Austin, and we began to appreciate our current situation. We talked about how great of an opportunity it was to be here in Buenos Aires, on this Frisbee team, on this rooftop with these people, immersing ourselves in this cultural and speaking a language not native to us, and he summed it up best with two words: "que suerte", how lucky. It's nice to know that this is a shared sentiment amongst all of the Cadillacs, not just Julia and myself. Felipe emphasized the fact that we have a good time on and off the field, and that we need to take advantage of these opportunities while everyone is still in Buenos Aires. And with that in mind, we will be hosting another get together at our place tonight! No breaks. The more Cadillacs, the better. Here is some photographic proof in case you thought we were lying.
Me and Austin
The Birthday Boy and Nick
Felipe, Paola, and Juan
Nick, Julia, and Nick
Annie, Paola, and Austin
Meat on bread is delicious
Big birthday candle for Diego.