Being an expat living in China is very different from daily life back home. How does that affect life during the Olympics? At home proud Canadians are watching and listening to the various events, interviews and reading about great wins and losses in the daily papers. Highlights are played and re-played in case you missed it. At work back home daily comments like “Did you see that winning goal?” or “Did you watch the game last night?” or “Wow we got another medal” could be heard in staff rooms and around the water cooler. Being an expat it is very different… we don’t get any of this. It goes without saying your home country TV is not available. Trying to watch the Olympic games can be difficult and if you can tune into it your host country will be playing events that that country is involved in. Some web hosts show TV programs and movies, rarely sporting events. Throw in living in China where access to home sites are blocked because it reads your local IP address. End result —no Olympic coverage. Watching events is not easy for expats. Trying to get information on medals, wins and stories becomes a quest of details on the internet trying to find access to local blogs and newspapers.
I am not a big sports fan and I never watch events, or care much about who won or lost. The Olympics, for me, are different. The Winter Olympics are my favourite. The opening and closing ceremonies dazzle the senses and the events with close calls, falls and medals are a true edge of your seat action that never disappoint. The feeling of pride comes through the glow of the television as you watch all the hard work of all the athletes involved. Canadian’s show more patriotism and wear their Olympic mittens with pride.
2010 Vancouver Olympics were on home turf. Energy and excitement was everywhere. This was just before we left for China, so we had our fill. Along comes 2014 and the Winter Olympics are here again. Our TV mostly comes from Hong Kong and the Philippines. Both countries who will not be sending teams to the Winter Olympics. We can watch CNN, but their reports are brief on the games. CNN comes from Hong Kong, but the Olympic information is from the American feed. It doesn’t fill the quest for our Canadian content. Local restaurants have been putting on the local Chinese channel, so we have been able to see a few things in action. Of course the sound is turned down, so it is a bit hard to follow. We seemed to always hit the curling events, which are not action packed excitement, but it was better than nothing.
Each morning I would turn on the computer and check the standings. A number of Canadians work at the same school as I, so our new morning ritual on the bus became a recap of medals, or what story they read about. It certainly isn’t the same to see live action or at least the highlight reel, but it will have to do. As the Olympics are winding down someone discovered a local bar/restaurant will host the final Gold medal hockey tonight. The place is owned by another expat Canadian. Tonight will be final game, so despite a late school night we plan to be there and cheer Canada on. No matter win or lose to be a part of the action with fellow Canadians will only add to the excitement. Being an expat in China and still able to watch the game for Gold, who would have thought it?
Good luck Canada….
GO CANADA GO !!!