As official representatives of the USA, it is our duty to introduce Europeans to the American tradition of eating way too much and lounging around. This time, two friends and I tackled the Thanksgiving feast in preparation for a great autumn-into-winter transition. The feast (and I’m not exaggerating, it was a feast!) consisted of a monstrous turkey, stuffing, sweet potato pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, and pumpkin pie, meant to feed 7 hungry Americans, 2 Algerians, 3 Brits, an Israeli, and an Italian. Cooking began over 6 hours before dinnertime, and became one of the most exciting Thanksgivings I’ve ever been a part of. During the meal, we told stories and traditions of Thanksgivng in the States, including more personal family traditions (in our family, for example, my father usually puts on colored underwear and scares away any non-family members!).
Rewind to Wednesday, when we headed to an English Premier League (the best soccer league in Britain) game between Fulham and Blackburn, two mid-tier teams that were bound to be a good game. As a sports fan, I have been looking forward to going to a football game to get a glimpse of the fandom of the sport. The stadium was very different than any that I had seen before: it seated 40,000, the seats were literally field level, and there was one scoreboard (only about 10ft x 30 ft) that had nothing but the score and time clock – no Jumbotrons here. I think that the only time that the sound system was used was during introductions and halftime announcements, but other than that the atmosphere was entirely fan-generated. We were seated 4 rows behind one of the goals, and we barely dodged arrant balls flying into the stands during warmups. The atmosphere was certainly electric, with the fans singing their club songs and heckling the opposing players (my favorite, directed at the Blackburn goalie Robinson: “Hey Bobbie, nice knits, did your mother make them for you?”). Fulham won the game 3-0 off of 2 goals by American Clint Dempsey, but I think that the atmosphere was really worth seeing. The excitement that the sport created on a Wednesday night game between 2 mid-level teams was as intense as any NCAA bowl game I’ve seen.
I actually just got back from visiting a friend in Seville in southern Spain, so that update will be coming soon (along with some amazing photos). Check back later, and, as always, KLTD