Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Happy almost Autumn/keeping track of my shopping list

The most random shopping list I've ever had:

1. Tide pen (stain removal)
2. Luden's cough drops (the others just don't taste as good!)
3. Time magazine
4. Baby shampoo (I did not have a baby; I need to clean makeup brushes)
5. Printer ink
6. China voltage adapter
7. Plane ticket to France (I can get one for spring break for less than $600! Must jump on this)
8. Replacement mouthwash
9. Replacement hand sanitizer for keychain
10. i had something written but i crossed it out. it must've not been important.
11. Voice recorder (I'm sick of writing quickly everything a professor says in lectures. Plus I'll use it to interview next August because the ONS has a limited number of their own)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Becoming an Olympic News Service volunteer!

Here I am in the Media Seats of the Center Court at the Olympic Tennis Green in Beijing. Exciting, eh? The guy warming up on the court that you can see is Amir Weintraub of Israel--he was my favorite player to interview, but unfortunately, he probably will not appear in the Olympic Games despite being 4th seed at this "Good luck Beijing" tournament/test event.
The facility is absolutely gorgeous.

The Flight that Almost Wasn't...

Our adventure began as early as the plane's take off! United's 851 from Chicago to Beijing had to actually UNload passengers after recently boarding due to some "mechanical issues"; five minutes later, all said UNloaded passengers were once again loaded because...? well, I don't know why, exactly. But we were.

THEN the fun began :) We sat next to an adorable five year old boy who has all of his states and capitols memorized. Ready for this, ready for this?--said five year old boy can also SPELL each state and capitol. Dude. I couldn't spell "Des Moines" confidently until at least second grade! So he was pretty exciting.

THEN the lights flickered on and off, and on, and off. Eventually we lost lights all together and the stewards were running around with flashlights, sometimes tripping no themselves in the plane's turbulence. The sound system went kaput.

2 hours and 45 minutes later, our pilot finally announced our turn around. We were over the North Pole when we said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, given the mechanical difficulties we are experiencing, we do not think it is prudent to go on to Beijing..."

So, Beth, Sandra and I had a night at Crowne Plaza Chicago and jumped start our trip the next day. Phew!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Adam and Sarah's China trip

This picture was taken by my brother in law, Adam, when he and Sarah went to Beijing last year.

Funny story: While I am in Beijing, Sarah and Adam will be in Shanghai; of course, China is so huge it's like being in Chicago and Los Angeles at the same time, so we won't see each other.

Until now, I have been living vicariously through their travels--but I look at this picture and realize that very soon I will see something similar. Wow. I am told I have 1 day off to explore downtown Beijing--but if my surrounding area is anything like this, I will sacrifice sleep just to see it in the dark.

Countdown to China: 1 day

I leave The Eastern Iowa Airport at 8:05 Thursday morning for Beijing. There, I will reside for 11 days at Tsinghua University ("the MIT of China", as it is called) and volunteer in the Media Room during an International tennis match, in which male, female, single and doubles will be played.

Here is a list of advice that I am taking with me:

I am so excited for you! And by excited, I mean jealous. Have fun! Who cares that you have no idea what you're doing and you feel completely under qualified? You're spending 2 weeks in a foreign country and you are going to be lost--it doesn't get any better than that! I mean, GEEZ!--Atila P.
Write in your journal every day--Judy P.
Bring me back a cheap knock off of Gucci--Karess G.
Oooh, don't be scared, be excited!--Ashley H.
Your trip is so soon! Have fun! TRY THE PEKING DUCK!--Flo @ BFD earlier today
I am going to pack you peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Just in case. --My mom
I am going to buy you an air mattress for your bed in China. Do you want rain gear? --My dad
Are you going to behave over there? No? GOOD.--My amazing grandpa
Go to Tiennaman Square--Marcus S.
Be safe; don't mention politics too much. Try spicy food and that stinky tofu we saw on the Discovery channel--my boyfriend, Jacob.
There is a Starbucks by the Forbidden City.--my sister, Sarah

My main goal in China is to discover what the rest of the group will do in June, July, and August; most likely we will be gathering flash quotes--I will ask English-speaking athletes, and perhaps Spanish-speakers if I have the opportunity, how their matches went, what they need to improve, what went well, what didn't, etc. Not gonna lie; I'm really pumped to say that I am an Olympic Media Volunteer, gathering flash quotes is a small link in the large chain that is the Olympic News Service. I'm sure it will be stressful, based on my conversations with Marcus, Nate, and Mike, but I'm determined to have an amazing time.

And I am going to try the stinky tofu. At least once. Maybe. If it's convenient. And if I run out of peanut butter and jelly ;)