I have the "Confiscation Opportunity" suitcase packed. This is the one that's full of: Wet and Dris, Deet, suntan lotion, breakfast bars, first aid kits, toilet paper, kleenex, saline nasal spray, face masks, etc. Oh, and the coffee of course. Margot called and had her camera hooked up so we had a chance to talk face-to-face and her face lit up knowing that coffee was on its way.
I've heard that there is a Starbucks on every corner, but she is not in Beijing. So the only coffee she has access to is what is served at meals. Of course, the tea is probably awesome, but not a substitute to a real coffee addict.
They have had really good practices in the last couple of days, so she is feeling very good about the way they are rowing. They are still rather sequestered by country. There are athletes from Canada, Greece, and RATS, I hate always forgetting the third thing! Let's say Germany. Anyway, there are athletes from several other countries staying at her hotel, but no mingling going on right now. They are all pretty focused on doing the job.
Margot was also aggravated by the way the press focused on the athletes who wore masks when they arrived today. She is very aware of how the Chinese people have put a tremendous amount of work and sacrificed a great deal to make the event spectacular for the athletes and the world. I'm pretty sick of some of the radio I listen to on my way back and forth from work. Talk about cynics, not to mention a lot of ignorance about what this event means and how much it means to our athletes to know that they are supported.
Margot said that she and her teammates are treated like celebrities everywhere they go and that athletes in China are routinely treated that way. They are acknowledged for their dedication and excellence.
Nathan is hopefully getting some rest. He and Judy took the kids out for a leisurely dinner and I know they will all miss each other. At least they can see each other with the computer.
Also talked to Tom who was doing one of his "gourmet" meals for Stephanie. I wish he could be there with us, although being with Stephanie is a very pleasant alternative. I've posted a couple of pictures of them. Tom lives in Columbus and is an Instructional Designer for Huntington Bank. He's currently filling in for his manager who is on maternity leave. He's very creative and terrific with people management as well (he's a great teacher too, but doesn't get as much opportunity to do that now).
Well, I have hopefully not left a bunch of things undone at work. I have no doubt that our department will do just fine without me! However, the packing is not quite done. Our flight leaves at 10:35 tomorrow morning, so I'll have some time for the last minute details.
Margot is looking forward to us sneaking over to her hotel for a hug and we can't wait to see her.
We'll meet Nate in Chicago and then fly on the same flight together although currently our seats aren't together. The flight will be about 13 hours -- sleepy time. I told Margot I needed a good book title and she recommended Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (for my book loving friends).
Next message from CHINA!