On Saturday, Eric's firm had put together a team to volunteer for Hands On New York Day. We traveled to a community herbal garden in East New York (Brooklyn) to help the garden's caretaker, an adorable little 69-year-old woman named Miss Johanna, get the garden ready for spring planting. We worked hard from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. weeding, turning over soil in planter boxes, spreading top soil, and painting picnic tables and benches. I gave Eric a hard time the whole day because he spent most of his time painting in the shade, while I slaved away digging up planter boxes in the hot sun. But hey, I'm a stronger woman for it! And he did eventually join me in the hot sun for some digging action.
On Sunday we went to church, then headed down to Penn Station to meet up with some friends to take the train to Giants Stadium for a New York Red Bulls soccer game. When we got there, we first did some tailgating in the parking lot, which was really fun. There was music, beer, and even a tent with food prepared by a guy named Chef Leon. For $5 it was all-you-can-eat, and the menu included meatball sandwiches with zucchini and ricotta cheese, pasta salad, and all kinds of dessert including a tiramisu type thing, something with fruit, and S'mores bars. It was all delicious! I had been expecting maybe a hot dog, but this was gourmet.
The whole gang: Aaron, Rochelle, Camilo, Karen's co-worker who got us the tickets (I didn't catch his name!), Eric, Me, Karen and JoseAfter eating and drinking a bit, we went into the stadium for the game. It was my first Major League Soccer game, and it was quite an experience. The stadium was fairly empty and quiet, except for our section. Our section was filled with the die-hard fans, who stood the whole game and spent the entire time singing, chanting and cheering. There were trumpets, drums and air horns, and jumping and dancing. I can't repeat any of the cheers, partly because some of them were in Spanish and I didn't understand them (thanks a lot, high school Spanish!), and partly because the ones that I could understand contained vulgar and violent English language. (Although apparently the only Spanish that did stick with me since high school is the obscenities. That Spanish I understood. That sure is helpful.) But it was highly entertaining! Meanwhile, the rest of the stadium sat quietly. Very strange.
VIDEO: Our section cheering while the rest of the stadium sits. This was even taken from a little ways back behind the craziness, rather than in the middle of it.
The game was pretty entertaining. The Red Bulls were actually playing the D.C. United, so that was fun! In the first half, D.C. scored one goal. We spent the second half watching from a shady spot out of the craziness, and saw the Red Bulls score two goals to take the lead. However, in the last minute of the second half, D.C. scored again to tie it up, and right away in overtime they scored again to win the game 3-2. The New Yorkers were pretty bummed. I had a good time overall, so I was still happy.
All in all, it was a very fun weekend! It felt so nice to be outside, wearing sandals, even sweating a little bit and ending the day feeling "sun-kissed." Hmmm...maybe I'm more of a Florida girl than I always thought. Either way, I love this weather and I loved this weekend!