When I visited Vancouver last summer, I could see that the Olympic spirit had already started to set in. In summer of 2008, I saw a lot of Chinese national pride in this section of the world, the Olympics were on TV a lot, and I happened to transit through Hong Kong during the summer where all airport employees were wearing Olympic T-shirts. I got my Olympic gear in a care package from my friend Shelly, and a coworker who went home for Chinese New Year brought back Quatchi plushies for all.
Unfortunately, Taiwan wasn't as interested in the winter Olympics. Even as late as December when I asked students where the next Olympics would be held, most of them were guessing London or Shanghai... it's understandable since Taiwan doesn't really get much snow, and winter sports are almost nonexistent here.
My Olympic updates came mostly via Facebook, with people counting down medals, cheering for hockey teams, and then silence when we lost the first Canada/U.S. hockey game. I could tell my compatriots were pretty bummed about it.
So when I heard about some friends planning to get up at 3:30am and go to a local pub where they would be broadcasting the gold medal match, I figured - why not! If it's the only Olympic event I get to see, well it will certainly be the one to watch.
So we did it, we got there at four am to find the place already packed! It seemed like some of the people just hadn't gone home from the night before... but fortunately, they served coffee and breakfast. Everywhere we looked, we saw Canadians in red and white, hockey jerseys, and even saw some flags. It seemed like every Canadian in Taipei turned out! There were Americans there too, but for some reason, they were all just dressed in their regular clothes. I guess the Olympics really does bring out a patriotic spirit.
As most of my readers should know by now, it was a great game. There was cheering and singing of the national anthem when we won. There were hugs and pictures, and a general feeling of euphoria. What a great day. (BTW I drank at least 5 cups of coffee that day to get me through four hours of class in the afternoon).