Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympic-Sized Memories pt 1

Hello, World! *waving hi*

Well, seventeen days have come and gone and I'm left feeling quite empty and sad. It was a wonderful seventeen days and I don't want it to end! But it has.

I remember when Vancouver got the winning bid to host the Olympics all the way back in 2003. I cheered, I screamed, I even cried. (I blamed that on the hormones since I was pregnant with Kai then, but the truth is I'm an Emotional Gnome.) My sister and I talked about being Volunteers for the games and how much fun that would be! But then time passed, and years went by, and even though the building started and the plans were reveiled, the grumbling started. It was such a Long Way Off! And it was costing So Much! And I started to wonder if it was all even worth it. I mean, really? Would I see any of the promised revenue? Would I even be a part of it? And I'm sad to say this, but in January, I became "Anti-Olympic." The IOC were bullies with their threatened lawsuits to anyone using the term "Olympic" in any sales, etc. And normal people, with normal jobs, outside of metro Vancouver weren't going to have an increase in sales. How was this a Good Thing for all of BC???

But then it hit: the Wave; it came over me and the excitement started to grow. It's known as the Olympic Torch. It arrived in BC in February, after travelling from Greece in October 2009. This Torch Relay was the longest one, going 45,000 km, passing through over 1000 communities with over 12, 000 torchbearers. (My BFF's friend, Joy, carried it in their hometown on Belleville, Ontario. How exciting!) It was going to go down the main highway in my little town on Day 102 and suddenly I HAD to be there! Unfortunately, this also happened to be the time that I had to be picking up the Olders from school! What's a girl to do? I debated on taking them out of school for the day so they could see the flame as well, but then I hummed and hawed and decided in the end not to go. But oh how it pained me! (It turns out that maybe I should've gone with my first instinct of no school because 7 kids from Kai's class was missing that day as they went to different activities for the Torch Run! 11 were missing from another Gr 1 class and 5 from Abi's class. The parking lot was deserted when I went to pick them up!) They were running almost right by our house! (and when I say that, I really mean 10 blocks, but close enough!) My sister saved the day though when she offered we all come to her place and watch it go by. There was HUGE event happening at Holland Park, in Surrey, just blocks from her house, that night. Perfect!

So I packed up the kids, making sure we were all dressed in red and white! We ate dinner and our excitement started to grow. (Okay, mostly mine!) But then we noticed the time! Eek! They were going to be there soon! The run was going right past her street, and we had predicted the time they'd pass, and it was in 15 minutes...and did I mention we had to pack up 4 kids and race to the end of the street? (the condo is at the opposite end of the street they were passing!) And race we did!

We arrived JUST IN TIME! Seriously! We were within steps of the road, when I see this blur of a flame! I had just enough time to sneak my way in front of the line (I'm quick like that!), to have an official nearly push me back. Oops. How was I to know that they were doing the switch of torchbearers, literally, right in front of me? Oh, right. If we had arrived half an hour earlier (like we originally intended) we would've known! (we also would've received those awesome special-edition Coco-Cola glow drink cans too. Phooey. It still bugs me that we missed out on that. I definitely wished we'd arrived earlier. But we just lost track of time. Dang dinner had to be eaten first!)

IT'S COMING!!!!!! Do you see it? it's the bright thing in front of the yellow sign. (the other bright thing to the top left is a street lamp. don't get the two mixed up.)

don't you just love fuzzy photos?

do looking at fuzzy photos make your eyes water? just wondering.

I don't know who this Torchbearer is. I've been trying to find out, but haven't yet. If you know, please let me know. Thanks! I know who his wife is (you'd think that would make it easier, but really it's not) but more on that later!

Since we were there and missed the whole build up of the runner, but was now within the crowds, we decided to make the trek to Holland Park. I think it was only like 5 blocks, but it seemed a lot longer! I had the double stroller for the Youngers (which we all took turns pushing. I let Anne, a friend, take the longest turn because she doesn't have children and she's just newly engaged so she needs to prepare for these things. I'm nice like that.) but the Olders were forced to walk. Or rather, they were carried on backs or shoulders! (Andy is the Coolest Uncle!) Once we finally arrived (with 2,500 others or 25,000..I'm bad with numbers and can't recall where I saw the official amount written. Either way, it was a lot more than I thought!), we worked our way through the crowds til we could just see the large screens. Unfortunately, we couldn't hear a thing that was being said! In the local paper it was said that a special song was written for the Olympics that a Children's Choir was going to sing. We couldn't hear that either, which was disappointing. Needless to say, we didn't stay long. It was when we were leaving that we enjoyed it more!

We stopped in at the Best Buy to use the toilet before heading back home, and as we were leaving, the fireworks began! Yay! We weren't going to miss those after all!

you'd think Abi had never seen fireworks before! :)

a bit fuzzy, but I love how the skytrain is coming right past as the fireworks go off.

It was good time. It really set the excitement to come for the Olympics for me. Suddenly, it was no longer about cost or profit or regulations or distance, but about athletes and spirit and pride, and I couldn't wait to cheer on the Games!

to be continued.....


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