Going to the World Cup 2014 has always been a goal for me. On June 12, 2014, I reached Rio de Janeiro, just in time for the opening of the World Cup. Brazil, as the world knows, is a football addicted nation. They even have the ball in their flag! Coming from a country who plays basketball as a national sport (we got it from our American influence), I was very happy to be in an environment where everyone breathes my favorite sport.
During the World Cup, my friends and I had a routine. Every morning, if we are not hung over from the previous night’s games, we hang out at the beach in Copacabana or Ipanema. The beach was always full of Argentines, Germans, and Brazilians who came from all over the world to witness a great sporting event. Beaches in Rio are beautiful and is part of the carioca culture. Even if it was full, we always found a place to lay our beach towels. It never stopped us from going to the beach. I believe part of the Rio beaches culture is being full of people all the time, and that it represents the city’s chill out vibe – I kept wondering if these people even go to work as the beaches are loaded even on a Monday afternoon.
For most of my teenage years, I played football. It was my means of getting into good schools in my country. In the Philippines, sports scholarships are very common in schools so if you have are a sports monster as a kid (especially our well-funded basketball), you will have the edge to go to school for free.