As the time approached to single out the trainees whom would work with the international sports casting reporters and represent Argentina’s newest technology and services, our group was further divided. Some people were not capable of performing agreeably or under pressure and they were let go. Some candidates were sent directly to the stadiums, still being built, to assist both Argentine and Foreign correspondents. I was selected to work on Calle Corrientes (Corrientes Street) where the center of the International Telecommunications of the city of Buenos Aires was located. Buenos Aires is not only the capital of the province of Buenos Aires but also the country’s capital. The city was designed to be almost an exact replica of Paris and its streets and locales are like the arrondissements (administrative divisions) of the City of Lights.
My Tio Abel gave me directions and insisted on taking me there my first day even though my stubborn, naïve, embarrassed and unappreciative 18 year old self stomped and protested I already knew how to get myself there. For the first week, he waited outside until 9pm every evening and escorted me home safely until he assured himself, my parents and all my cousins that I was capable and well versed in my occupation as well as my hour and a half commute. Supposedly, he visited this or that colleague who was also retired and lived in the city during the day or sometimes met with an old friend at a café and chatted the hours away.
When my Tio Abel passed away, not too many years later while I sat in my dorm room at the State University of Stony Brook in my sophomore year and heard via telephone, I wailed inconsolably, losing my composure in heart wrenching anguish, so stricken, that I had to hang up on my mother and walked around in disbelief during finals week.
My cousin Lilia’s dad, Tio Abel, adopted me as his own daughter, just because. Her family had taken me in the year before so I could study and take my equivalency exams and we had become a close knit, tight family. I will always be indebted to them. They suffered through my cultural shock, homesickness and emotional meltdowns with love, love and more love. And Lilia is still like a soul sister to me.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama
So, every four years, about this time, I do not just watch the World Cup, I re-live that incredible historical time I was lucky enough to live through, during the worst upheaval in my personal life and be grateful for those influential, loving and beautiful people, I was meant to remember and pass and pay forward their teachings on to others while they protected and guided me like angels, whom I believe and feel are still watching over me.
“It’s astonishing in this world how things don’t turn out at all the way you expect them to.”
– Agatha Christie