The following morning we climbed a waterfall. Yea, climbed. After hiking a vertical trek that would have killed me if I wasn’t so prepared from our trek up Machu Picchu Mountain we reached a waterfall, but the kids weren’t satisfied with just looking at it they wanted to keep going up. So up we went clinging to slippery rocks for dear life. The boys were really helpful offering hands to Cindy, Adele and I as we tried to follow them up a path seemingly only used by mountain goats. However, the constant state of panic paid off when we reached the top and were standing before an even larger waterfall. The kids proceeded to splash around and swim in the forty degree water and although I didn’t get in for fear of catching an even worse cold I did get a large wet huge from Justi that left me shivering for much of the hike back down. Regardless, it was quite the adventure and I couldn’t have asked for better guides.
Then the afternoon came…the final day of Olympic games…my teams last chance at a victory. I’d been so preoccupied with our little excursion that I forgot to dread it, but it turns out I didn’t need to because my team won a gold medal in the three legged race and a bronze in the egg in spoon race. And although we are still beyond dead last for the overall medals won, it was so much better than nothing because the kids in my team had something to raise their spirits.
On Monday, my team arrived clad in their new t-shirts, and I made them even more patriotic with ribbon and facepaint. As I lined them up for the parade in my cowboy costume, Pedro came up to me and whispered in my ear. “I’m nervous, Miss.” So I gave the team a pep talk before handing them their flags. As we marched around the neighborhood to Rocky and Shakira, my team chanted “USA, USA, USA.” And the other teams were just as cute and excited.
We all entered the school to our team’s national anthem and then gathered around the patio to watch each team present a dance. These dances were pretty much the cutest thing ever. From square dancing to traditional German and Scottish music to India’s dance to Jai’ho, to K-pop, each team was ADORABLE. And my team’s performance of Cotton Eyed Joe was also stellar. It was a great day, and no one could wait to start the games the following afternoon. I’m sure that the volunteers were every bit as excited as the kids, if not more so.
The first day of games were just as fun as I expected, but they were also extremely stressful. I didn’t realize that the kids would feel so much pressure to win. My team wasn’t too discouraged after losing the academic relay, but after a close loss in volleyball, they were getting upset. They were so cute as they played, apologizing to me every time they made a mistake and looking so serious and focused. I screamed and cheered with my team on the sidelines, looking like an idiot with my American flag facepaint, flag nails, and team shirt that was at least 5 sizes too small.
The day got better, though, once we started the soccer tournament. My team got the unlucky draw in our 5 team tournament bracket and would have to win 3 games to win the gold. The first game was very evenly matched and very stressful. After 3 five minutes sets with no goals, they went to penalty kicks. Brayan, my star player who had been stuck playing goalie would finally get a chance to shoot. But the poor kid was so nervous that he made a terrible shot that ended up hitting the crowd and not the goal. Alarmed, I hoped he could relax enough to successfully block the other teams shots. He pulled through and we ended up winning that game.
|Team USA with their shirts before the opening ceremony|
|Cody with Raquel and Rosio from Team Germany|
|With Elizabeth and Nikol before the opening ceremony|
|Cody with some girls from her team|
|Team USA after Day 2 of competitions|
|opening ceremony parade|
|Abel with the torch and the Olympic rings|
|Brayan preparing to block a penalty kick|
|Day one of competitions with Eli and Nikol|