Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Watching the Olympics

I am sure a million people are blogging about the Olympics. So, I will just be one of the sheep in the flock.

Ever since the opening ceremonies last Friday, our evenings have changed. Every dinner is eaten in front of the TV. We root. We yell. We jump and down, encouraging our favorite athletes. Last night's men's gymnastics was outstanding. And, no matter what you may think about Michael Phelps, he is amazing. He makes it look so effortless.

Watching the Olympics with my husband brings back so many sweet summer memories from my childhood. Sitting indian-style on the living room floor, popsicle in hand as drips of purple or red liquid fall languidly on my leg while I look on in suspense. Who doesn't remember Mary Lou Retton winning the gold? I can instantly smell the corn on the cob and hot dogs in the background. Hear my mother squelch out a scream of encouragement with her hands up to her mouth. The Olympics were always a family affair and they continue to be.

I have noticed that this Olympics has been a little more emotional for me. I know that many people have been critical of China and how they treat their own people. They are very much aware of this criticism, but while all of this whirls around, they still opened up their country to people from all over the world, making them vulnerable. I have been listening to NPR for the last couple of weeks and it has made me have a soft spot for the Chinese. They know this can change how the world perceives them. Maybe they will see what it is like to be in the positive limelight and they will change their perspective on Tibet? Can't goodwill beget goodwill?

We have always wanted to visit China, not just because it is part of my husbands ancestry, but the culture, people and places of the country look so beautiful. And, although there has been much to criticize, it hasn't deterred me from wanting to go. And, now, watching the Olympics, I have an even stronger urge to visit. Someday we will get to visit and I know we will love it.

p.s. Can't help but think that it's a sign -- the next Olympics just happens to be held in my favorite city -- London. Maybe we will start saving now for that trip?

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