To the people of China:
I want to tell you a little story.
My name is Bev Ohler and I live in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. I am 56 years old. When I was a little girl, I had a board game called "Wide World" and the idea was to travel the world. At that time, Beijing was called Peking. Ever since playing that game, I wanted to go to Peking, China.
I had never traveled outside of Canada except to go to Hawaii with my husband and daughter. In 2001, my daughter asked me to go to China with her and Nov. 11, 2001 she and I left home and went to Beijing.
I just watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics in Greece and have been crying with tears of sheer joy that the next Olympics will be in Beijing. It has brought back all the wonderful memories of my visit there.
Emily (my daughter) and I met some students who took us into the Hutongs. We had dinner with them in a wonderful little family run restaurant and I fell in love with the Chinese people. We could not speak Chinese but that didn't matter.
Another wonderful memory is when we went to the Ming Tombs and outside was a sculpture of a dragon. I was told it is good luck to pet the dragon. A little Chinese lady who looked very old was trying to reach over the fence but was too small to reach the dragon. I lifted her up so she could touch him. After, she held my hand and said something to me. I do not know what it was but she had such a wonderful smile that her face will stay with me forever.
I became very ill while I was there with a chest infection but would not let it stop me from visiting the Great Wall. I climbed not as far as I wanted to but a lot further than I thought I could. I stood on the steps in awe and cried that I was actually there. Tears came often as I visited different sites but it was the people who were so wonderful that brought the tears of joy.
There are three events in my life that have changed me forever. 1. Marrying my husband. 2. Giving birth to Emily. 3. My visit to China. Something I had always dreamed of since I was six years old. My dream is that I may someday return and somehow really get to know the people more.
Until then, I will be following your journey to the 2008 Olympics and when they arrive, I will be watching everything I can.
I wish you all health and happiness and I thank you more than words can say for a most wonderful time in my life.
(China.org.cn August 30, 2004)