ni hao beijing! : the adventures of a USOC intern

Monday, August 18, 2008

volleyball-ing it

Me standing in the rain waiting for my first olympic event...Men's Volleyball

finally inside the stadium and only slightly damp
here we see exceedingly tall chinese men

ahh...the life of a grunt (volunteer, intern, etc). at least my duties don't entail mopping. well, maybe once

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

being welcomed to the olympic village and feeling special about it

Me posing with a random volunteer who wanted his picture taken with him. Evidently he is a music teacher, who wanted my picture to show to his students. Odd don't you think?

Yesterday evening, i was lucky enough to attend the welcoming ceremony for the US delegation. All in all, it was pretty darn awesome. Some Chinese schoolchildren sang, gifts were exchanged, and a speech was given. Unbeknownst to me, or at least until very recently, my picture was even published on the BOCOG website. If you look closely in the 3rd picture below, i'm poking my head out from the second row. Gosh, i'm short.

living the olympic life

Since my last update, much has happened in the United States Olympic operations center. On Sunday we finally got a working TV. As you can see, we've already started watching sports. Unfortunately we have no sound; the sound that does come out is pretty fuzzy. I only hope that we will be able to actually watch the olympics on the TV.

I've also successfully washed my clothes in a chinese laundry machine. Comparatively speaking, Chinese laundy machines are significantly smaller. Sad to say, we do not have a dryer here at the operations center, so air drying is the one and only option. But as Beijing, China is a fairly humid location, air drying takes a considerably longer time here than it does is Colorado Springs.
Consequently, my clothes are wrinkly and crisp.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

counting the tickets, over and over and over again...

Since i started my internship in Colorado Springs, I've been working with the tickets. The US Olympic Committee order tickets for theNational Organizing Bodies for each sport, as well as provides 2 tickets to athletes for every event they compete in. That comes out to be a lot of tickets.
What you see below has been my life for the past 2 months, 4 days, and counting. I cannot tell you all at home how many times i've counted these tickets. What you see below is not everything, rather, it is a fraction of our full order.
currently the bane of my existence, tickets.

As you've probably seen in the news, tickets for the Beijing Olympic Games are selling out. From my understanding, Chinese people have had to raffle for a place in the ticket line. Least to say, these tickets are pretty priceless.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

sweating on the Great Wall...

Two days ago (Friday to be exact), I was fortunate enough to have the afternoon off. With an afternoon to spare, we were off to the Great Wall (with the US Men’s water polo team). And what better way is there to spend the afternoon?

If I were to use a single word to encapsulate the Great Wall experience, it might have to be “sweaty.” And I even went on a day that more mild than what we’ve seen in the past 2 weeks. For everyone who would like to know, especially my Colorado friends, Beijing and its surrounding area is a pretty sweaty place. To be out and about IS to be sweaty, that’s just a fact of life.

To consider the magnitude of the Great Wall (in terms of length, height, construction time, etc) is one thing, to actually walk on an architectural icon of Chinese culture is wholly different experience. What struck me most about walking on the Wall was the international quality of all its visitors. Here I was traveling with the US water polo team, with Germans in front and Canadians behind us. I wholeheartedly believe that this is just a taste of what is to come, when people from around the world come into Beijing for the Olympic Games. One can only ponder the implications of having the Olympic Games in China….

Thursday, July 31, 2008

the olympic village, usa house, and pirates

the official slogan of the Beijing Olympic Games
Again, I apologize for not keeping up with the blog.

In the past few days, work has eased up considerably. But I feel as though this lull in activity is the calm before the storm. There is no daily routine, so everyday is a new experience filled with different challenges. One obstacle I’ve encountered pretty much every day is giving people directions to the operation center. If you know anything about me, you would know that I’m slightly directionally challenged. Being in China makes finding places significantly harder. Sometimes I feel as though some people look at me, see that I’m Chinese, and then think that I have an innate sense of where everything is. Sad to say, I’m usually as lost as they are. Despite navigational dilemmas, we’ve thankfully only gotten lost once (we were dropped off at the South gate of BNU, rather than the East gate).

Since the last time I posted, much has happened: I’ve visited the village, seen the outside of the USA house, and talked to a lot of Chinese drivers.

Our (Kelley and my) adventure into the village was quite exhilarating, though shorter than I would’ve liked. The complex itself is massive, and I mean HUGE. I doubt that I even came close to seeing the village in its entirety. Luckily enough, we were escorted into the residential area of the village, and so we got to see the athlete quarters. On my run with the courier I visited USA house, but sadly stood outside translating.

USA House, at least the outside because i didn't get to go inside

me in the coach's lounge at the olympic village, just checking emails

Language remains a constant barrier, despite the fact that I’m mostly fluent. I will admit that I will never stop being a student of the Chinese language. Nevertheless, I’m thankful for the opportunity to practice my Chinese in a more real-world setting and dabble in the art of translating. Recently, I feel as though my English ability has been slipping. Everything I attempt to express in English doesn’t sound quite right, especially when writing. What is most difficult and strange is when multiple people speak to me at the same time, trying to get their point across to the person that is standing right next to them. Of the many Beijingers I’ve encountered since coming to China, I’m coming to realize that the arghh (kind of like a pirate) is more pronounced in some individuals than others. Though I hate to generalize, argh’s are much more noticeable in the taxi drivers; whereas, the concierge girls at the Hilton speak less like Captain Blackbeard. One of my goals for Beijing is to start sounding like a pirate…

Sunday, July 27, 2008

ta da! the blog is operational

we're counting down to the beginning of the Olympic Games
~ 15 days, 4 hours, 41 minutes, and 25 seconds ~

standing in front of the spiffy BOCOG car with Mr. Liu

giant fuwa, perfect for taking pictures with

For all those individuals who would like to know how I am doing, I can say that I have successfully and safely made it to Beijing. I’ve already been in China for the past week and a half, so…I sincerely apologize for not having my blog site up and running earlier. Once we hit the ground, life has been go go go. As of yet there hasn’t been a dull moment. Every night, as soon as my head hits the pillow I conk out. On average, I’ve been working 15-hr days and logging in 80-hr weeks. Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done before the Beijing Olympic Games begin.

As it it’s Sunday night, I thought it would be an opportune time to finally have a functional blog. But because it’s late on Sunday night, I feel that a top 8 list of exciting events, scintillating social encounters, and random occurrences will have to suffice. Please direct you eyes below, for the latest on my adventures in Beijing:

Staying at the Beijing Hilton for the first two nights after I arrived
7. Learning to say trash can, air conditioning, and diet coke the Beijing-er way
6. Riding in the BOCOG car and all its traffic privileges
5. Going to BOCOG to pick up tickets, and taking pictures with the giant fuwa
4. Getting my luggage back after the airline company lost it
3. Sleep. And definitely recovering after the major change in time difference
2. Finding out that despite my Taiwanese/American accent and vocabulary, I can still navigate Beijing and order food
1. Being allowed into the country, despite not having the right numbers on my passport

Much love everyone, I hope to better about blogging from here on out and anticipate keeping in touch with all of you.