My husband has been a professional soccer player for many years. Currently he plays for the legendary New York Cosmos. But for the past two years he played for the San Antonio Scorpions, based out of Texas.
We’ve travelled to many places and have met great people all over the world. We’ve grown up by falling many times but always come out stronger.
We decided 5 years ago to “think outside the box” and it brought us to some of the nicest places.
17 February 2012 my husband and I left the Netherlands with our teeny tiny 3 week old preemie baby and arrived in the USA to follow a dream.
Craziness, if I think back to that time! Not the way I thought I’d be starting as a first time mom. No family, a strange country and no friends.
Luckily my parents raised me well to be social, so I never thought I would be unhappy.
I came on this journey with a vision; I would build my own “American” family and friends for myself and baby Sophia! And what a good set of friends I have now after living in Texas for 2 years! I am sure I will do the same in New York meeting a new group of friends, but at the moment I am still working on that. I am even learning Spanish intensively so I can communicate with some of the wives of my husband’s new teammates.
That’s why I am writing this blog. I’ve met so many special people and I know I will still meet many more in life. I’ve experienced so many adventures that I just want to share this with everybody. I hope my stories and adventures can inspire people to live their dreams as well.
How our journey began;
The moment I said “let’s do this”… I knew everything would change!
SA Scorpions is the first professional soccer team in the world who started in 2012 , where all the profits go to a good cause. Morgan’s Wonderland.
“Morgan’s Wonderland is a 25 acres (10 ha) accessible amusement park in San Antonio Texas, USA for children and adults with special cognitive and physical needs. The park, which opened in April, 2010, was developed by Gordon Hartman, a former real estate developer from San Antonio. He said that his daughter Morgan, who has a severe cognitive delay, inspired the creation of the park”.(Wikipedia)
This club is such a very special club. So special that we literally were willing to give up everything at home and come to Texas to bring this club to another level. We wanted to put it on the Map and give something back to the community. A community we will now cherish for all of our lives, and had brought us such great things.
Both of us were a little bit lost in the Netherlands and wanted more in life, so when the opportunity came that we could move to the USA and play for this unique organization, we said YES right away! There was one small detail that was on my mind…… I was 7 months pregnant. Baby Sophia was born on 14 January 2012 and 3 weeks later we are all on the airplane to start a new life! We were all in the airport three bags packed ready to start our trip to our new home.
Well… not all… our cat Edgar wasn’t on the list because of a small human mistake, and it wasn’t mine. This cat is a big part of our lives, all our friends and family know how much he means to us!. . I will not go in details, because almost everyone wishes he would never come near them or at least within 5 feet of them due to his outrageous personality! But they love him, I think… I hope.
But anyway, I will tell you, never mess with a full hormonal woman who just had a baby, especially at the Airport check in front desk telling her that her cat (which is like family) cannot travel.
So there was a hormonal scene my husband and dad couldn’t hide their laughs from. (Always nice when you know you have a good back up).
Luckily I have the most patient and problem solving dad in the world, so he took Edgar our cat to a pet hotel (read a few lines back and you will understand why he couldn’t take Edgar home with him) and would put him on a plane three days later.
Because all of this happened and I almost….. well I did throw a hormonal scene at the airport the people working in Amsterdam felt so sorry for me, they gave us some ‘extra’s’ so our travel would be easier. It sure was, so I’m still thankful for that.
Inside the plane, our first adventure would start. Do you know how many people stare at you and give the “oh no look” ? When you come in with a baby?! Disrespectful I have to say. Luckily Sophia didn’t cry or make a single peep. She was actually the attraction of the flight. So little did we know what happiness and joy this baby would bring to not only us but also to others around us right now.
There was one lady in particular who was so friendly to me on the plane, I for some time referred to her as the airplane lady. She sat at the other side of the aisle and gave plenty of eye contact and friendly smiles throughout the flight.
I remember how much I was struggling to get some privacy to breastfeed our little Sophia when we were close to landing in Houston, TX.
She stood up and held a blanket around me so nobody could see or even notice what I was doing. My husband and the airplane lady were chit chatting a little bit and all I can remember was, that’s she was married to a Dutch man and really loved Douwe Egberts coffee.
Once the flight landed we said goodbyes and that was it… well at least that’s what I thought! It was the beginning of a warm friendship.
After two weeks suddenly my husband got an e-mail from the President of the soccer club that the airplane lady made contact with him. She googled the information and remembered my husband’s first name. She wanted to give her contact information so if we ever needed help or anything we could always call her or visit in Houston, TX. They send it to us and of course I responded.
Kind of creepy if you think about it, not nearly as creepy as how my other friendships came in a later status of our journey, but those are for later!
A total stranger, but the love and warmth that I felt reading her e-mail made me curious. We communicated through calls, texts, and emailing a few times. She was always a supporter of our journey.
After a year we needed to go to Houston and took the opportunity to go and visit our ‘airplane friend’ and her family. We took a road trip with our real Texas car and drove for 3 hours to their house. We got such a warm welcome, still surprised about that. We loved speaking Dutch with her husband and we had so much fun. A nice dinner in the evening with the family and a good night sleep, and we said our goodbyes again.
Still to this day she is a big supporter of our adventures and we love her very much! To think it all started just with a friendly helping hand and a warm smile.
But to come back at the flight story, we arrived after a total of 21 hours in San Antonio, Texas. The moment we are at the “taxi stand” we looked at each other, then down at our three suitcases, and preemie baby with a car seat realizing our new journey had officially begun! A journey, with new opportunities, dreams, friends and family.
The first person I met in San Antonio, is now one of my best friends in the USA. So more about that next time.