My name is Elizabeth Arany Petofi (A/N Pronounced, Pa-ta-fee) and I'm from Hungary. I'm about to fly to America to play fútbal at a college I previously took classes for online my freshman year.
Today is the first day of my sophomore year in college and it's also the first day of "soccer", as America calls it, practice. Since I'm flying, I won't be at practice the first day but I'm kind of glad because I'm nervous.
"Ugh I have no idea what to pack other than my school stuff of course" I thought out loud. I pulled my suitcase up from under my bed and grabbed my essential items.
I'm a simple girl who wears simple clothes. If you put me in jeans and a hoodie I'm perfectly comfortable. I packet up some T-shirts, soccer shorts, soccer sweats, a few pairs of shoes, and tons of socks.
"Do you have enough socks?" my mom asked sarcastically as she came into my room holding a glass of water.
"Definitely not" I grinned at her. She doesn't understand my love of socks, I think socks are fun. "What's up mom?" I asked as she set the glass on my night table.
"oh nothing I just came to bring you this water and see if you needed me to help you pack or anything, you're going to be gone for a whole year in another country without me" she kind of choked at the end, holding back a sob. I knew she wasn't thrilled with me leaving because I'm the baby of the family and she isn't ready for me to leave. I know that she wants what's best for me though so she'll be okay. I mean I'm 19 for goodness sakes!
"don't worry mom I'll be back, I'll talk to you as much as you want and I will tell you about all of my soccer games and my experience at the school, I can't stay here forever you know"
"Yeah, yeah I know" she ruffled my hair. "Just don't forget about us here okay?"
I knew it wasn't a real question, how could I forget? "You worry too much momma"
"No, I'm a mom, I don't worry nearly enough"
"Sure you do mom"
"Well, if you say so boo. You're brother is here actually, he wanted to bring you something before you left." as if on cue, I heard a quiet rapping on my bedroom door.
"Hey sis," my brother poked his head in my room. "Mom crying yet?"
"Nah not yet," my mom sighed and we both chuckled at her
"Well I brought you something, here" he handed me a black gift bag with a plastic bag sticking out of it; he never was good at wrapping presents. The bag was kind of heavy and I had no idea what it could be. When I peaked inside noticed an Academy label meaning he ordered this stuff online. Eagerly, I took it out. It was clothes, a new pair of soccer sweats with blue stripes going down the side and a shirt with my last name on the back and the number 8 in the upper right corner on the front of the shirt. It was black and soft, easily my new favorite shirt.
"Thank you so much!" I exclaimed with tears threatening to run down my cheeks but I held it back so my brother wouldn't see me cry, I didn't want him to think I was his weak little sister.
"Wait, there's more." I peaked inside the bag but nothing was in it, he stepped out of my room for one second and came back with two small shoe sized boxes. My mom smiled at me, I knew she must have seen the excitement on my face when he handed me the boxes. I opened the first one and there in my lap was a pair of custom made Nike cleats. They were a vibrant baby blue that faded into black with white lettering on the inside that said "Nike" and a White Check on the top and black laces. On the other side of the Cleats My initials were stitched in along with the number "8" for my jersey number. As I was staring at the most beautiful cleats I had ever seen, my brother told me, "Open the other box". Unwilling to let go of my new cleats I put them down and picked up the other box. What could be in it? I took the lid off slowly, feeling the excitement bubble up. There in the box laid a pair of indoor cleats that looked exactly the same as my new cleats. I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear. I've always wanted a pair of indoors that matched my cleats. I stood up and jumped into my brothers arms.
"Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!" I squeezed him tight.
"your welcome sis, it's the least I can do with my little sister going off to play fútbal in college, remember everything I've taught you and don't let anyone push you around"
"I won't," I promised him. "I'm very grateful for the cleats you got me but, why Nike? Do you finally realize that Nike is just as good as Puma?" I teased.
"Uhm, no."He stated matter of factly. "I just know that you like Nike"
"pft, I sure do," I couldn't stop smiling. This was the best gift I've ever received other than the retired jersey of my grandfather who played professionally for a team in Hungary.
"Well come on, let's let Elizabeth get everything together," she said to my brother. She then tuned to me, "Finish packing and be down in 30 minutes, we don't want to miss the flight."
They both left my room and I was left alone, my shoes still in my hands. I set them down and packed up my play station and some more clothes. I grabbed another suitcase and threw in all of my soccer equipment including my new cleats and all of my other soccer gear. I checked all of my stuff to make sure I had everything I needed at least and then headed downstairs.
"Okay I'm done packing now!!" I hollered from the living room.
My mom answered me from the kitchen. "Okay honey; get your brother to help you load everything into the car"
I looked around the living room and I couldn't find him, I decided to go upstairs and check his old room. I cracked the door open a little and looked inside. There he was admiring all of his old trophies and medals and other awards he received during his years of playing soccer. He looked deep in thought, almost like he was going to cry. His head snapped up when he heard me walk in.
"Hey" he sighed as I walked into his room now that he's seen me.
"Are you okay?" I asked him.
"Yeah I'm fine," he gave me a half smile. "Can I ask you something?"
"Sure," I replied in a curious tone.
"Do you love your sport?"
"Of course I do," I stated without hesitation. Why is he asking me if I love my sport? Why else would I play? Why did he ever quit anyway? I need to remember to ask him about that later.
"Promise me something, promise me that you won't give up on yourself, and keep playing no matter what. If you love it then stay with it and prove yourself, don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't. You can and you've proved that already."
His words almost made me cry, but I simply told him "don't worry, I promise"
"Do you need help carrying your stuff down?"
"Yeah if you don't mind" now I was the one shooting him half a smile.
We walked into my room and took my bags downstairs. When we were nearly finished, a car pulled up into the driveway and someone stepped out."Elizabeth! Why on earth haven't you answered any of my phone calls!! I've been calling and texting for hours now!!! What's your problem!!?" I heard a familiar voice yelling at me in Hungarian. Sarah. My best friend.
I felt around in my pockets, "oh gosh Sarah I'm so sorry I've been packing and my phone is up-" I tried to explain but she cut me off giving me a life threatening hug. She started sobbing on my shoulder and I pushed her off so I could see her.
"I thought you were gone already, you weren't going to say goodbye to me?" she managed to get out between sobs.
"Of course I wouldn't have left without saying goodbye silly!!I was going to stop by on the way to the airport!" she started crying again. "Oh Sarah, I'll see you again," I laughed. "and we will talk all the time, we have this stuff called technology, and you can even write me a letter if you want to be old fashioned" she nodded her head and hugged me again.
Just then mom walked out of the house greeting Sarah and telling me " come on Elizabeth it's time to go we don't want you to miss your flight. Get your shoes on and don't forget to grab your wallet off the kitchen counter".
I went inside the house and put my new shoes on, they were so comfortable. I went up stairs and grabbed my phone and my teddy bear. I couldn't go anywhere without that little fella'. I went back down into the kitchen and grabbed my wallet, "can't leave without this," I thought to myself. I looked up and around at the house. "I'll be back house don't worry," I said aloud as if the house was going to miss me. With my stuff in hand I headed out the door and locked it behind me. I gave Sarah one last goodbye and got into the car with my mom and brother. My brother, seated in the back, is mostly here for my mom so he can drive her back home incase she's too upset to drive. Even so, I was glad my brother was coming. My brother leaned forward and turned the music up and we were off on our way to the airport singing and laughing and dancing together for what seemed like it would be the last time.