by Mary Altier, La Selva Beach, CA
In 1994, we stayed with Servas hosts all over Brazil. When we realized our planned trip was in the middle of the World Cup, we changed our itinerary to make sure we weren't flying between cities on game days. We wanted to be with Brazilian families when their team was playing so we could share the experience —and we weren't even sure the planes would fly on game days! We shared the World Cup experience in many ways. When we were in simple homes, we packed onto the roofs with our host families, friends, relatives and neighbors of all ages to drink icy cold beer and eat snacks while cheering the Brazilian team, viewed on small televisions. During the final game, however, we happened to be on the other end of the spectrum, accommodations-wise. Our hosts lived in a penthouse overlooking the glorious muggy skies of Rio de Janeiro.
That was the night the Brazilian team won the final. We watched indoors but when the match ended, all of the windows and doors were thrown open so we could hear the entire city cheering as fireworks exploded like a thousand Fourths of July!