When I tell people that I went to the Olympics, they instantly get supremely excited and start some version of 20 questions. How was it? What was it like? Were you at opening/closing ceremonies? My answers are usually generic to a tune of something like this: “It was really cool. I had so much fun. It was a once in a lifetime experience.” But the one answer that I give that throws some people off is to the question, “what was your favorite part?”
The majority of people would think that my favorite part would have something to do with the Olympics. Possibly watching the United States women’s soccer team at Old Trafford, attending beach volleyball matches or getting the chance to interview both the men’s and women’s USA basketball teams. Nope. Not my favorite part. Don’t get me wrong, those experiences were unbelievable, but they weren’t NO. 1 on my list.
My favorite thing about my trip to London was meeting new friends from a wide variety of countries. If you know me personally, you know that I am an incredibly sociable and outgoing guy. With that said, it was easy for me to talk to random people that I found myself surrounded with.
Italians, Irish, Greeks, Aussies, Germans, Brazilians and of course, Brits — I met a wide variety of people in London. Learning about our differences in cultures and how to say small phrases in my new friend’s native language are memories that I will never forget.
My Italian friend taught me that “fettuccine alfredo” does not exist in Italy; rather it is called something completely different. My German friends answered my question that had long been on my mind: do Germans pronounce the social media site, tVeeter? (They pronounced it tweeter, and had no idea what I was talking about when I said that they pronounce their W’s as V’s, such as bratVurst.) My English friends taught me about “slimin’ a bird,” which you’ll have to go to England and figure out the meaning for yourself.
One of my favorite experiences (even though it lasted under a minute) was speaking French to the woman standing behind me in line at a haunted house that we went to. I jokingly asked her if she was scared, but she didn’t understand me. I asked her if she spoke English, and she muttered that she did not know what I was saying. I had heard her daughter speaking a few minutes prior and recognized the language since I have taken French classes throughout high school and a bit at university (that’s what the Brits call college!) In French, I asked the woman again if she was scared and proceeded on with the conversation for about a minute or so. I have always wanted to speak French with a native of the land, so for me that was an awesome experience.
I could go on for days about all of the international cultural details that I learned while in London, but that’s for another day. In short, the Olympics were awesome, but it is the people that you meet that make the experience exceptional.