I can't believe I am writing this right now, but Josh and I went to our first despedida (going away party). I mean, we've been to tons of despedidas. There have been despedidas since we got here. But the time has finally come for our despedida, and it began with a Cadillacs send off at Diego's house on Friday night. Sadly, many people who have played with us have left, but the core of the team and the most important people were all present. Felipe, Antonio, Diego, Paola, Milagros, Big Boy (Nick), Gabriel, and some newer Cadillacs were all there to celebrate our time spent sweating, drinking, eating, and of course playing with the Cadillacs.
We started playing with the Cadillacs our second week in Argentina, so some of the people at the party were our very first friends here. They taught me Spanish, they taught me how to throw a disc, how to cut, and how to drink Quilmes. They taught me how to live like an Argentine, give like an Argentine, and how to play like a Cadillac which involves a mixture of amazing spirit, drunken practices and bellies that end up full of choripan. They helped me to put down roots in a way that made me feel like I was entering the new world of Narnia. They took me in without questions, made me a part of them, and helped me to grow into this Spanish speaking, frisbee throwing, Argentine loving person I am today.
The party was great. Diego made choripan, lomito, bondiola, and all the sauces that go with them. There was wine and beer from Argentina and rum that Antonio brought from Venezuela and I finally figured out how to strike a balance between beverages and food that left my stomach feeling comfortably full and me head mostly clear but happy.
After the food was mostly gone the speeches began. Diego started, and he spoke about the footprint we leave behind and how it will never be erased. How he had a dream with Felipe about starting a new team that would change Ultimate and how we helped him realize that dream. Nick made me cry with his words. The three of us don't know Argentina without each other, and I can't help but feel a sense of guilt as we leave Nick behind. However, as he said he is our best friend here and regardless of where we go he will always be one of the best people we know. With out him we might have had nothing. Gabi started to cry when he talked about us leaving, and Felipe thanked us for helping him not only realize the dream of the Cadillacs but for being his family in a place where we all were foreigners. Antonio's speech was short, but for me it said what I've been feeling in the most simple way. He said that we are his friends, always have been and always will be, and that he just can't imagine next Thursday without us. And that's exactly what I'm feeling. I just can't imagine next Thursday anywhere but at Cadillacs practice with the Cadillacs. And when I try to imagine it I shudder and feel like my heart is beginning the painful process of slowly tearing off a piece of itself that I will be forced to leave behind.
So by this point I was in tears, and The boys presented us with two photo collages that have photos of our whole time here. They are amazing, and if anyone wanted to see it all summed up they'll have to check them out one day. And then Josh and I said a few words. Josh started and said that Frisbee could chupar sus huevos. Another words, Frisbee as a sport can go to hell, he did it for the people. It was crude but touching. Maybe if he ever decided to post again he could tell you about it in more detail.
I talked about how fitting it was to have one of our last asados here seeing as our first asado was at Diegos house a little more than a year ago. I told everyone that while I thanked them for telling us how special we were it was important that they understand how special they all are. How special it is that they took us in with no questions because not everyone would be willing to do that. Not everyone would take the time to teach some gringa how to speak a language and play a sport, and not everyone would invite almost strangers into their home three weeks after meeting them. I told everyone that I have a debt to them all that I hope I am one day able to repay it (and I used the subjunctive!!!). It was really emotional, and guess I'm putting it on the blog because I think it shows what people who haven't come to visit might not be able to understand. The Cadillacs in one way represents how we've made a life here and that we are not just leaving behind a few friends. We are leaving behind everything. I anticipate many more tears.
(the following is unedited by Josh and probably has mistakes)
Por ahora, un brindis a los Cadillacs por todo que me dia y porque yo tambien te dia todo que tenia. No puedo esperar para siguir mi carera de Ultimate, pero nuca va a ser egual y nuca voy a tener otro equipo como ustedes.
Until then, a toast to the Cadillacs for everything you've all given to me and because I gave all I had to you guys. I can't wait to keep playing Ultimate in the States, but it will never be the same and I'll never have another team like you guys.