This is Plaza Maria Pita, the central square of La Coruña, the city I’m residing in this month.
When showing my teachers around the town today, we stopped in the plaza to marvel at the grandiose town hall, the colonnades and patrons the bars finishing their pulpo a la feira. A beautiful, open space that channels right out to the port on this seaside city.
But I remember it like this:
One year ago, I was with a crop of other teachers decked out in red and yellow, Spanish flags adorning our faces. I’ve always said that one thing I will do in my lifetime is see the Olympic Games in person (I shelled out 15 euros to see the Olympic Museum in Lausanne afterall!), but watching your resident country win the World Cup is an experience that can’t really be jotted down in a journal, pecked out on a blog. I got that feeling again today when visiting the square.
It’s amazing how sport brings people together. I spent hours in front of TVs in bar, watching matches and crossing my fingers that Pulpo Paul was right all along. My low expectations for America meant I was rooting for the other home team, along with the countries represented by the rest of the familia: Germany and Mexico. We all came together for something greater than ourselves, something that was a bright spot in a few dark years for Spain.
It’s been a whole year since Iker hoisted the trophy above his head. In that time, I’ve become an official resident of a country that now feels like home, so I feel that my bliss in Spain’s W was merited. I still think back on that night, one in which I jumped in the iceberg-cold Cantábrico just because I was so happy.
I like to think of Maria Pita just like that.