It is a profound thing to be in the presence of greatness in a unique and compelling moment in history. It was amazing to see the head of the Beijing Olympic Committee and the head of the IOC and the Mayor of London there on stage for the transfer of the Olympic flag from Beijing to London. It was more than exciting to see the fireworks and Olympic flame through the top skin of the Bird's Nest. It was cool to see David Beckham and Jackie Chan and all the Athletes in one place. But. what made me literally not be able to close my mouth for a full five minutes and bring tears to my eyes? It was seeing Placido Domingo sing- IN PERSON- sharing the same stadium as myself. I fell in love with him in college, when I had to do a paper on "La Traviata", which is when I really fell in love with Opera for real. it was just almost too much. You know those moments when your heart beats so hard with everything you thought you wanted as a kid and yet also with extreme love for what you actually got? Just listen to the Encore of "The Three Tenors Concert" when they do "Nessum Dorma", and it feels like that. :) you'll see.
then I went to where our clients were (as it was winding down) and had the best seats ever for the final fireworks extravaganza. Amazing just doesn't cover it. Yet it's tempered with the knowledge of how much money was put into this three hour spectacle (gosh, not to even mention the Opening Ceremony), and what resources might not be there for people in other parts of China who might need it. that's an age-old question I suppose, and one I'll never answer.
It's so weird not being at the hotel today- and you don't realize how fast a month can go by (that might be the no day off in 7 weeks part). I'm going to miss all the guys and girls at the hotel. What a learning curve. I'm sure they were just as frustrated with us as we were with them sometimes, with the language barriers. AUGH. You know when you need something to happen exactly as you ask, and immediately...and then you are met with a totally blank stare? AAAAUUUUGH. forget India or a Buddhist monastery. just come to China. but I feel like i also made some really good friends. a whole wealth of communication just with smiles and laughing. that can't be bad. :) My two favourite guys, Jason and Joseph, are on my right as you look at the picture.
And another ridiculously cool thing happened that last night, when I thought I couldn't get any happier: I ran into Peter Ho-Sun Chan, a big Hong Kong director who just did "The Warlords" with Jet Li and Takeshi Kaneshiro. the extra cool part being that he was a judge in Hawaii, when I worked there for the film festival. He walked by and before I could think I said, "Peter?"...and he turned around, got this astonished look on his face and said, "KATIE!!!" - Wheeeeeee! I love the random moments that happen outside of elevators in other countries!!!! He's coming back up from HK in a few weeks and I'm gonna take him out on the town. Life is full-on here. I LOVE IT!
but everyone is going home now and the teams are breaking up. we had our farewell party last night (at a place called "The Secret Garden", which was so secret that no one could find it: our directions-once we called, lost- were, "It's just past the Rickshaw (a local bar) with the cockatoo out front". They neglected to tell us that the restaurant name was in Chinese...). :) but it was fun once we got there- even though my team leader made me sing to everyone (which was fun, of course, but always slightly awkward for me. i suppose i should just get over that. o.k.). then it was thundering and lightening and raining and we ran to Nan Jie (the local watering hole open 24/7 with cocktails for 20 kuai- $3). i guess it was then i realized this mad month was really over. the DJ mixed a crazy version of "Summer of 69" with a wicked bass line and we danced off into the night, content and more tired that should be allowed. and totally happy.