But, there were about 6-8 of my fellow exchange students who had taken the 45 minute train ride from Mannheim to watch (more support than I was used to at home) - so, the pressure was on to not completely embarrass myself. The weather was on my side - it was in the 50's and about mid-way through the race started to gently rain. The course was pancake flat. And as the miles started to flow by, my knee didn't hurt, I started passing people and gained confidence. I did look at my watch - but, I was much more focused on how my body felt, my breathing, and going after runners in front of me. The result? A better than six minute PR which still stands today.
The next day we got on a plane for Milan. Most of my friends were Norwegian - and their Rosenberg team was playing Inter-Milano in a Champions League game. They all had a good laugh as I had to walk downstairs backwards - but, it was worth it to see one of the great stadiums in European football. I knew that European soccer fans were rabid - but, I didn't quite understand until I arrived in the visitors section at San Siro.
All the visitors were forced to sit behind one of the goals (pic above with my friend Kjetil - pronounced like it's spelled). On either side of us were 20 foot high fences - so that the Inter fans couldn't get at us should Rosenberg actually have the balls to attempt to win the game.
After Inter's first goal (luckily for us they scored a lot that day) I saw what looked like small fires breaking out in the stadium. Apparently the fans wave road flares in celebration. Also, as the game went on there was a growing presence of police dressed in riot gear in our section. I was ready to get out of there when the game ended. But, they forced us to stay in our seats for 30 minutes until the entire stadium was empty. They walked us back to the buses and we got a police escort back to our hotel. Yankees/Sox ain't nothin'.
As a reward for all those who read through my ramblings below is my family recipe for pumpkin bread, which was a success at Arjun, Melissa, and Brennan's Thanksgiving on Saturday.
3 cups white granulated sugar
2/3 c. water
3 1/3 c. flour
1 c. cooking oil
2 c. pumpkin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix as add ingredients. You'll need a fairly large mixing bowl.
Grease baking pans heavily. Makes enough for two loaves. Fill each pan about half way. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes until cooked through the center (use toothpicks to test for doneness).