Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Add Oil!

I never had any aspirations to go to the Olympics. I don't know why it just wasn't something that ever occurred to me as a possibility. But now that I'm here in Beijing, and getting to see five very different competitions, I'm not complaining. Nope. I'm yelling "Jiayou!" (that's Chinese for "add oil") just like everybody else. Even if I didn't have any event tickets it would be hard to be in Beijing and not get pulled in by the spirit of the event. Riding on the bus and on the subway, and even visiting the idyllic outdoor summer palace, people are all gathered about together completely rapt by whatever sporting event is going on on the ubiquitous TV screens (and in the case of the summer palace, all with their backs to the gorgeous scenery) and everywhere you look people from all over the world are roaming the streets decked out in their country flair. China is multicultural all of a sudden; it's truly a sight to behold.

I've been thinking that in many ways the Olympics are a weirdly fitting end to a year spent abroad. I've never felt more American than I have this year living in Guatemala and China. We spend a lot of time in class and with friends talking about American politics and apologizing for our government, as well as discussing American culture. Here at the Olympics I'm getting the opportunity to express some positive patriotism. Last night I wore the American flag and sported China's flag in face paint. We rooted for China's women as they defeated Russia in volleyball, and then got the same support from the Chinese fans sitting around us as the US underdogs battled it out with Italy. Ethan led everyone in a chant of: "Mei Guo! Jaiyou!" (America! Add oil!) The cliches are all true: One world, one dream and all of that.

I've put together a little slide show medley of our time in Beijing so far. We've seen three events: Soccer (Belgium vs. Italy), Gymnastics (men's and women's floor, women's vault and men's pommel horse), and Women's Volleyball (China vs. Russia and USA vs. Italy). They were all fun and exciting in their own way, and especially fun of course because we got to see two of our women gymnasts win silver and bronze, as well as the USA women volleyball players pull out a win against Italy in an exciting 5 set game. In our event down time we've been visiting with some ex-pat friends in the area, eating great food (including an Imperial-style meal of venison, lotus seeds, lilies, and other unusual goodies) and seeing the sights we missed our first time around in April. Today we took a beautiful (and hot!) hike on the Great Wall at Simatai and yesterday we went to the Summer Palace. We have two events left: Diving and Athletics (hurdles and sprints) before we make our long pilgrimage home via San Francisco and then Vermont. At some point in there I'm hoping to get pictures up of our amazing travels in Cambodia and Thailand. But until then: Beijing and the Olympics!


4 comments:

Nancy said...

Amazing photos, Lacey. Can't wait to see you and hear the stories!

Zhang Rui said...

Hihi~~Lacey & Ethan! Admire you guys sooo much!! I love it when you jiayou for Chinese volleyball and then Chinese fans jiayou for Americans. :-D There are many impressive warm stories during this summer Olympics, and yours is one of them! You were in almost all events we like! And I really enjoyed reading your article and seeing your amazing pictures! Miss you... Julie

オテモヤン said...

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Anonymous said...

Apologize for your government? You suck. Bootlicking liberal scumbag.