Friday, August 08, 2008
She bowed slightly, then held out her hand.
"I'm Mary", she said. "I'm from Bejing."
She took the seat next to me and we began to talk. I learned that she'd only been here ("in America", as she said) for twenty days, having come with her husband on a job transfer. She came to Toastmasters because it was a familiar place. She showed me a photo of her Bejing Toastmasters group. So similar, yet so different.
Later in the evening she got up and shared briefly about herself and her country. Her words rolled and bumped in a lovely accent. She gestured gracefully as she described some of the traditions in her country. I was mesmerized.
That was last night. Today marks the beginning of the 2008 Olympics in Bejing, China. For the next few weeks, our eyes, our attention will be on Bejing. We'll be watching not only the athletes and their competitions, but also the people and culture of the host country. I imagine we'll all be mesmerized. For a while it will seem as though Bejing is not over six thousand miles away, but rather, in the seat beside us.