I remember finding out we got the Olympics way back in 2002, or was it 2003? Anyways, it's been a long time. And I thought, 'wow, 2010 is soooo long away - I will totally be married with kids by then and watching all the events because I will be famous'.
Plans have clearly changed.
My apartment is situated right in the mix of things too - so it's extra exciting! This is the view of athlete's village from my house:
And this is my house from the sky:
Clearly I stole this photo from Sports Illustrated. And clearly I don't know how to use photo shop to draw a circle around my house - but I can tell you that right of BC Place (that white thing, home of the opening ceremonies), is a smaller white thing (the hockey place), and right of that is a clump of five high rise condo buildings. I am in the middle/front of that clump. Good location right?
Anyhoo, they are finally here and this city is swarming with people from all over the world.
I was lucky enough to go to the dress rehearsal of the opening ceremonies, which put me in the mood for the games. And it was just as amazing watching it on Friday with my friends and family (albeit without the falling snow or leaves). We were asked not to spill the beans about what we had witnessed so that no secrets could be revealed. So of course I immediately called my mum to tell her about Sarah Mchlachlan. The Engineer hung up on me because I kept saying, 'and then' 'and then' 'and then'.
Lesson here? Don't ask the worst ever secret keeper to keep a huge world secret!
The Olympics leave me an emotional wreck. Refer to a post back in the time of Bejing. When men's hockey won gold WAY back in 2002, I hid under a table for most of the night because I can't handle the excitement/suspense. It's as if I prefer to watch the games after I know we have won/lost. That way, when a Canadian Cowboy falls in front of the grandfather that taught him how to ski, I won't fall to my knees and cry for him.
Am I a freak?
I emailed David Atkins after the opening ceremony 'glitch' to let him know that I hoped he wasn't sad because it was an amazing show.
Yup, I'm a freak.
When I was studying my acting degree, our teachers said time and again, artists and athletes are the same. We both need to train, practise, focus, sacrifice normal lives, etc. So maybe when I see an athlete fall and ruin their chances I recall a particularly bad audition. Or when they win, I know that feeling when your agent calls to tell you that you booked the part. Granted, not a gold medal part. But receiving something to show for all your hard work is all one and the same right?
I watched us win our first gold in a crowd of people on Robson Street. I like how I say 'our', when it was Alexandre Bilodeau who actually worked hard to get it. Being around hundreds of screaming Canadians made me feel like I come from the best country ever.
Oh god, and with his brother in the stands? I was a ball of mush.
Back to the opening ceremonies, I know not everyone enjoyed it, yes you L.L., but I was so extremely proud to be a Canadian. W.O. Mitchell combined with Donald Sutherland's voice? Ummm, yes. That quote, I can't find it, but it's really what it feels like to be from the prairies. K.D. Lang? AAAAAAAAAAH Chills! Orcas swimming across the floor, complete with blowholes? Totem poles growing from the ground?
When Wayne Gretzky jumped in the back of a pick-up to drive through the streets of Vancouver, you knew you were really in Canada. I loved the waiters running out of restaurants to catch a glimpse of the Great One. That is a dream, for anyone who was a kid in the eighties.
I am from this amazing country. This amazing province. It has orcas, and totem poles, and fields of blowing wheat.
And that no matter where in the world I might end up, I will never lose my maple leaf pride. Just ask my American friends who went to RADA with me, I think I told everyone I was Canadian everyday. Especially when the profs would try to correct my 'American' ways.
I am Canadian. And proud of it. Except for that rendition of 'Oh Canada'. I was not proud of that.
Of course, the ceremonies gave a lovely moment of recognition to the tragedy that happened earlier that day. Nadar Khokhobashvili. I truly hope all the athletes take on John Furlong's message to carry his memory and inspiration through the games. I know us spectators will.
I will leave you with one of my most favorite moments of the night.