Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Mini Tian is the type of woman who can do whatever she sets her mind to.
She wants to be a news reporter, so she went to America and took classes at Eastern New Mexico University. But on this night, she's the one doing the teaching.
"It's the most exciting thing for all the people here in China," smiled Tian.
Tian is from China, lives in Beijing, and has invited me to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies at her mother's home.
In order for an American to understand just how important these Olympic Games are to the people of China, she thinks, you have to spend time with them.
How else, can you break down barriers, and truly learn? "I think American people and Chinese people are getting more and more understanding about each other," Tian said.
She speaks English well. I'm sure she had lots of practice during her time at Eastern New Mexico. It also doesn't hurt her mother teaches English.
"As the saying goes, seeing is believing," said her mother, Lingna Liao. Lingna was raised at a time when China wasn't very open to the outside world, especially Westerners.
"We're very excited, and we also feel very proud," said Lingna, "Proud of our country, and proud of the spirit of the Olympic games spread all over the world."
Of course, China isn't forgetting its past.
Lingna and Mini told me the Opening Ceremonies were all about China's rich history, its ancient culture, and the way its residents used to live.
Lingna shared with me her hobby, which is drawing ancient Chinese character calligraphy.
She also collects stones and wants to make a fountain in her home. Mini represents the more modern China; having a grasp of Western culture, thinking globally, and wanting to learn more about how, and maybe more telling, why things are the way they are.
She, too, appreciates what the Beijing Olympic Games means to her country.
She also thinks it's bigger than words can explain.
"I guess it's the biggest event ever, perhaps," said Mini, "so for me, I feel it's really exciting for everybody to watch because it's such an absolutely gorgeous ceremony."
The normally busy streets in downtown Beijing were empty. It seems everyone was inside watching the opening ceremonies.
"I would say it's probably the only day you don't see anybody in the streets in Beijing," laughed Mini.
It just shows the ordinary, everyday Chinese citizen knows this is a big deal, not only for their country, but for the world.
"It's a dream. Today, we realize our dream. We make our dream come true," said Lingna.
It's also the Beijing slogan for these Games.
One World, One Dream.