—Without them,I couldn’t have gone to the Olympics and seen peoples I think of as my friends from around the world in the performances of their lives! I’m lucky to have been born with a gift for languages as well as a love for them, and instead of photographs that I can’t get I’m dotting this with bits of languages for your pleasure.
During the opening parade I saw the kids of friends –I know them by their surnames-in #Palau, the #Marshalls, #Kiribati, the #Federated StatesofMicronesia, #Guam,the #NorthernMarianaIslands–island nations collectively known as of #Micronesian culture. I sat there calling out to them in their own languages like an idiot as each group passed by, giggling at my errors. Such rich memories and words and names learned during my 20 years creating a nonprofit 501-c-3, #TheMicronesiaInstitute; it was thrilling to see the kids brilliant in their traditional costumes. I yelled at the screen — ran a nim! hafadai! yokwei! kaselelia! alii alii!, m’sulang! — and realize suddenly that I’ve forgotten the Yappese, Kosraean and IKiribati versions of Hello! Greetings! Thanks! Please, my friends from those areas, spell out the words for me and send them to me; I feel part of myself is gone without them.
Then the #Hungarian athletes began winning in the swimming events and I yelled out to LaszloCsek “Nagyon jol! Jo napot kivanok!” — words I had learned as the wife of Hungarian architect #IstvanBotondAIA in NYC and DC. For the Kenyans, where my daughter Lila Luce and granddaughter Glenis are vacationing, I gave an especially warm Jambo!
Then Chinese acrobats began tumbling through the air and I hollered out “Ding hao! has! hao!” As I assumed they spoke Mandarin Chinese rather than my own #Shanghainese I yielded to progress and instead of zhia zhia noong I shouted out xie xie nin! in Mandarin.
Unable to leave the TV, I soon found a new hero–the boy from #Singapore who took the Gold in one competition. I thought of my friend #TinaKaragatnam of Singapore , watching in #Shanghai and of her parents the Ambassador and his wife from Singapore who were our guests in Washington, DC decades ago; and I was so glad that he took the gold.
Of course I also celebrated the victories of the Americans and French (bravo!) wondering if my daughter Tina Botond in France was also glued to the TV, cheering on the French athletes and also those of many other parts of the world. Have no idea what my two sons and three grandsons were doing or where.
And so–all of this pleasure was made possible by the brilliant and courageous inventors and investors who brought the world to us around the globe.
THANK YOU! IN A THOUSAND LANGUAGES!