Beijing 2022 certainly did go by quickly! We can never dedicate as much time to the Winter Olympics as we can to the Summer Games, either in school, or just watching for fun. We did try to fit in as much Olympics as possible though, which always begins with trying new recipes that reflect the cuisine of the host nation, starting with our dinner for the Opening Ceremony and continuing through the events with special meals here and there:
Sticky ginger shrimp with scallion rice
Congee with mustard greens
Xiao long bao
Chinese snowflake cake (raspberry and coconut)
Chinese noodle soup
Nai Wong Bao
We also managed to fit in a few crafts…Chinese plum blossoms, unique medals for the Winter Olympics, and an adorable dragon made out of cupcake liners:
Here’s a look at our completed medal chart…I was really hoping that by some miracle, Jamaica would win one medal, but no such luck! At least every other country we were following made it to the podium.
This was a complicated Olympics, and I’m left with a feeling of ennui about the whole thing, but I think we still managed to enjoy ourselves, and I know we liked trying new foods! I will say that I hope this is the last Olympics I see competed in front of empty arenas…here’s hoping for better from Paris 2024!
There have been many great and memorable moments from Beijing 2022. John Shuster, a curler, carrying in the US flag at the Opening Ceremony. Erin Jackson’s history-making skate. Keegan Messing waving the Canadian flag everywhere he went. Shaun White’s final ride. Iivo Niskanen waiting for every skier to cross the finish line after winning the 15km Classic. Nathan Chen’s coronation as quad king when he won gold in men’s figuring skating. The bagpipers at the Ice Cube. Germany sweeping the podium of the two-man bobsleigh. Matt Hamilton’s hair. The home couple winning gold in pairs figure skating with a beautiful and redemptive routine. Any moment involving Bing Dwen Dwen.
The images I will remember most, however, are the ones surrounding the controversial women’s figure skating event:
Kamila Valiyeva, the child…yes, child…at the center of the doping controversy will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Watching her fall to pieces in an event she never should have been permitted to compete in was bad enough, but watching her crumble further following her disastrous routine, and receive no support or concern from the people who should have been protecting her will be indelibly etched into the minds of all who were watching. While I truly believe she should have been barred from competition, she is not the villain in this story…that distinction goes to every adult involved in her training, who should all be subsequently banned from the sport for life.
Aleksandra Trusova will most likely be remembered for throwing a fit upon learning that her teammate won gold, which left her to settle for silver, instead of for her repertoire of quad jumps. This unsportmanslike temper tantrum was unlike almost anything I’ve seen at the Olympics, and while it was appalling, I still felt badly for her, because she was competing under extreme pressure in very unusual circumstances, with little support, and with the same terrible coaches Valiyeva depended upon.
Anna Shcherbakova should be remembered simply as the gold medalist of one of the favorite events of Beijing 2022. But she had no one to celebrate her victory with her…no teammates screaming with her, no coaches cheering her on, no one hugging her and sharing her excitement. It should have been the highlight of her young life, instead, in her own words, she felt “empty inside” as she sat alone and downcast following the competition.
Kaori Sakamoto, the one bright spot in the competition, will possibly remembered more for being completely overcome with emotion at the realization that she made it to the podium, which she was not expecting, instead of for winning bronze in a highly contested event. Her tears of joy may have looked similar to the emotions expressed by the athletes representing the Russian Olympic Committee, but it was a relief knowing at least one of the medalists was thrilled with the outcome of her performance.
I had reservations about Beijing 2022 before the Winter Games began, not just because of COVID-19, but also because of issues surrounding the host country. I’m left with even more reservations about how international sports are handled, especially when minors are involved. I hope that the powers that be will take a long, hard look at how the athletes are being treated, and come up with more stringent regulations about training and new, higher minimum age requirements, in an effort to stop using these young people as commodities that can simply be discarded after a single season of competition.
We’re over halfway through February! Since this is always the month of the school year that is the biggest struggle, I consider that a victory!!!
Ladybug worked with 30-60-90 triangles in geometry. She started learning about scientific classification in biology, beginning with bacteria, and learned how to use a biological key. We discussed the Salvation Army in her study of denominations. She read about Ashurbanipal in history. Her astronomy study took her to the moon. We finished Sir Gawain and the Green Knight…Henry V is up next!
Chickadee reviewed fractions in math, and learned how to find the greatest common factor of a pair of numbers. We finished the chapter on crustaceans in science, reading about shrimp, horseshoe crabs, and trilobites. We continued our trip through the midwest in geography. She got to read one of my favorite Bible studies…Jonah’s misadventures. We finished Greek mythology, and next week we’ll start reading The Blue Fairy Book.
We also completed a few Olympics crafts this week. We reimagined the medals for the Winter Olympics, starting with the shape, and also made cupcake liner dragons, which are just too adorable!
Ladybug has been working on some oil paintings in her free time…I’m very impressed with her work!
I imagine next week we’ll feel the full impact of the February blahs because we won’t have the Olympics to distract us, but maybe we can arrange a field trip soon!
It’s so hard to fit school in when the Olympics are on!
We did still have a busy week of school, though. Ladybug did more work with the Pythagorean Theorem in geometry, this time with 45-45-90 triangles. The first subject of the school year has been finished, as she completed the last lesson in vocabulary. We talked about Darwin and the difference between macroevolution and microevolution in biology. She read about Sargon II in history. We started fit four of SirGawain and the Green Knight.
Chickadee learned how to calculate perimeter, area, and volume in math. We read about crustaceans in science. She started her study of US geography…we began close to home, with a few midwestern states. She is almost done with her study of Greek mythology…this week, we read the stories of Theseus and Oedipus.
While we don’t have as much time to dedicate to the Winter Olympics as I would like, we have managed to work a few things into our school days. Taking a cue from the Opening Ceremony, which focused on the coming of spring, we did a fun plum blossom craft. In addition to our Opening Ceremony dinner, today we also tried a recipe for congee, a rice porridge, topped with mustard greens…it was surprisingly popular!
We also took some time to recognize the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II this week. In addition to the tea party we had on Sunday, we started working on a fun yarn craft, which will hopefully turn into a bunting we can hang up in the school room:
I have a few more Olympics-themed activities planned to go with our school days next, too!
Do I feel good about the 2022 Olympics? Not especially. Am I going to watch, anyway? Of course. Can I still use this as a good opportunity for us to learn about another culture? Without a doubt!
I never do as much for the Winter Olympics as I do for the Summer Games, because it’s just so difficult to try to fit it in with everything else we’re doing at this time of year. But I did make a special dinner for the night of the Opening Ceremonies, starting with scallion pancakes served with a tasty rice vinegar-soy dipping sauce, which were definitely the hit of the evening!
We also had sticky ginger shrimp with scallion jasmine rice and bok choy with oyster sauce:
For dessert, I made don tot, which are egg custard tarts, and mango pudding:
I’m hoping to try a few new recipes before the end of Beijing 2022, and keep an eye out for a few fun craft projects, too!
I’m not going to lie…I’m a little reluctant to even try to put this list together, because the one and only other time I came up with a list of things I was looking forward to in the new year, it was 2020, and I think we all know how that turned out (one of the five was cancelled outright, and one was postponed a full year). I do have some things I’m really excited about this year, though, things that I’m praying will all happen as expected, so let’s take a look at what I’m most anticipating!
Family Vacation–We were supposed to take a big family vacation in 2021…it was kind of going to be a celebration of Turkey and Bunny graduating from high school, and we were going to visit Disney World and especially Galaxy’s Edge, among other things. We realized pretty quickly that we would need to postpone the trip, so now we’re planning on going this summer, and I’m really praying it all works out, because we’ve added some destinations, and I’m really excited about it!
Alison Weir’s New Book–For six years in a row, Alison Weir had a new fiction book published in May, each focusing on the life of one of the wives of Henry VIII. I was pretty sad when the last book came out in 2021, because I didn’t know what I’d look forward to reading at the beginning of our summer vacation, but then I found out that this year, she’s publishing a book about Elizabeth of York…I can’t wait to read it!
Beijing 2022–I have mixed feelings about even looking forward to this, partly because, like the Summer Olympics last year, I feel like it should probably be postponed/cancelled, and partly because I think a diplomatic boycott is a coward’s boycott, and we really shouldn’t be participating on principle. Despite my misgivings, though, I know I’m going to watch, and I really love the Olympics…
The Platinum Jubilee–I have been looking forward to Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee for 10 years, ever since, during the Diamond Jubilee, a quite-young Turkey asked me what the next celebration would be called, and I guessed “Platinum.” It seemed so far away then, and Her Majesty was already quite elderly at that time, but here we are, about six weeks away from the anniversary of her accession to the throne, and I’m looking forward to celebrating her extensive reign!
“2”sday–I can’t believe our good fortune that 2/22/22 falls on a Tuesday! This is exactly the kind of thing that amuses me, and I’m so excited about it, I think this year Bobunk will fall on that date! It’s the little things in life…
I can already see how up to three of these things could go south very quickly, but I’m going to hold out hope that there will be no major hiccups this year, because that’s all we have…hope and a nectarine.
It seemed like the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics would never get here, and now they’ve already come and gone. Here’s a look back at our Japan-themed summer school.
We visited Origami in the Garden at the Missouri Botanical several times over the summer. The large-scale art installation was the perfect field trip to coincide with Tokyo 2020 (and was also postponed from last summer).
We also visited the Olympic Spectacular in St. Louis at Francis Field, home of the 1904 Summer Games:
I made a few fun treats for the Olympics…Olympics torches (white chocolate covered pretzels) and Team USA CHEERios treats.
We did a lot of cooking and tried a lot of Japanese foods. I worked really hard to find things we hadn’t had before, and used a variety of cooking methods and unfamiliar ingredients. We tried:
Matcha Mochi Cake
Fluffy Japanese Cheesecake
Kani Cream Korokke
Chicken Katsu Sandwich
Matcha Green Tea Cookies
We were supposed to go out to a Japanese restaurant this summer, but COVID-19, so we got a party platter of sushi instead:
I’ve been holding on to the Lego Architecture Tokyo skyline since last year, and we finally got to build it!
Our American Girl dolls got into the Olympic spirit:
In between watching as much of the Olympics as we could, we also did some more traditional school work. We learned about Japanese history and culture, as well as the history of the Olympics. We read a lot of books…some I read out loud, and some were book basket choices. We also watched a selection of Olympic documentaries:
The Everlasting Flame—Beijing 2008
Atlanta’s Olympic Glory—Atlanta 1996
16 Days of Glory—Los Angeles 1984
Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory
And we also did several crafts, including origami, paper lanterns, Koinobori (Japanese carp windsocks), pipe cleaner and tissue paper cherry blossom branches, and medals (of course!):
I’ve been holding on to Ticket to Ride: Japan since last year, and we finally had a chance to play! I really enjoyed the new game mechanics introduced in this edition, and it was fun to get to know the geography of the area a little bit better.
We updated our medal chart every evening…here’s a look at the final results…we were very excited that the US won the gold medal race and had the most medals overall!
And, better late than never, our Family Olympics, which was delayed due to heat. We only had four events this year (frisbee throw, broad jump, soccer kicks, and a running race), thanks to time constraints and a lack of basketball hoops on the backboards we normally use. Technically, Turkey came in first, but since we participate as a family, we all won gold!
This summer school was a long time coming. I think we all still have mixed feelings about the fact that the Olympics were held at this time, but we had to just accept that that was out of our control, and embrace the Olympics as we usually do. It’s always hard to say goodbye when they extinguish the flame, but the Winter Olympics are less than six months away, and we only have to wait three more years for Paris 2024!