The Olympics are on, guys.
I’ve never watched the Olympics before. Highlights, yes, of course. Tuning in for the synchronized diving (my favorite), groaning at the daily medal tallies when the US is dominating… and we all saw the Michael Phelps sovereignty in Beijing. But I never really watched the Olympic Games. I thought they were about competition, underdogs, record breaking and the love of playing sports and watching sports.
This year I found myself unusually thrilled about the upcoming Olympic Games and devastated that we were living without satellite during the greatest games since 2008. Maybe I was excited because it’s hosted in London this year and London-town is a favorite of mine. Maybe I was excited because it’s a historical set of games – the first time a female athlete can represent any country entered in the games (Kudos to you Saudi, Qatar and Brunei).
We watched the Opening Ceremony and I realized why I was so excited: yes, the Olympics is about sports, but the Olympics is also about The World. There were over 8,000 athletes that stood in the center of the Stadium during the Opening Ceremony, carrying different flags, wearing different colors, waving to different dignitaries, speaking different languages. But as I watched the crowd grow and I basked in the greatness of watching the world share a stage, I was impressed by how entirely the Same they all were. Calling their mothers, enjoying the view, laughing with their fellow teammates, excited, thrilled, nervous, proud.
To someone who has lived internationally for most of the last 12 years, Differences have become what the world is about. Language, Memory, Religion, Culture, Family, Geography, Society, Food… our Differences are what I love about the world. They are the reason I want to raise my kids internationally, the reason I get antsy after living in one place for a few months. I know there are more ways of living that I am not yet aware of and that I can learn from, appreciate, love, consider and experience.
But I get so caught up in the exciting Differences that sometimes I forget that in essence, we are all the Same.
China. USA. Belize. Saudi. UK. Qatar. Brunei. Kenya. We are the same. Thank you, London 2012, for reminding me that I have a family of 7 billion people.