Week 1 in Vancouver has been truly amazing. I finally met one my aunts and some cousins, I am about to see another set of cousins after, oh, maybe 15 years? And I am surrounded by the natural beauty of the Fraser Valley.
Oh, and did I mention I'm volunteering at the Olympics?
It's been a wonderful experience so far, from figuring out transit from Mission, BC to Canada Place (as opposed to Canada Hockey Place), to picking up my bright blue volunteer uniform and getting along so well with my family. I've only done a couple of shifts at the Main Press Centre and things have been slow due to the Games not starting for another week or so, but I'm going to be working with a great team, and I am now a master of the news system ;)
I will admit I was a bit bummed at not getting Main Media Centre accreditation, which would have allowed me to visit friends and to network at the International Broadcast Centre next door. However, limiting credentials to essential venues only is probably a good move by VANOC and I would assume that it severely reduces potential security threats. So I can't hold that against them. Still, IBC buddies, as you have access to the MPC with your accreditation, I look forward to you stopping in for a chat in my little neck of the woods.
Speaking of the woods, the scenery in Vancouver is absolutely stunning. Everywhere you turn, you can see mountains and tall trees. Whether you're downtown, on the SkyTrain, or in the suburbs, this wise, ancient environment surrounds you. Some of the mountains are lit at night, being ski hills. Others are best viewed during the day, with their snowy tops reflecting in the sun, which we've been having a lot of, thankfully. It's also consistently been between 9 degrees Celsius and 12C during the day, which is great for me but not so great for Cypress Mountain.
The bridges here are amazing as well. They are beautiful architectural structures and overlook the most entrancing landscapes. I imagine it might get boring after a while, but I keep feeling blessed by these mountains you just want to hug and lakes you can't wait to paddle. What else could I ask for? I have breakfast on the sunny deck looking out to the mountains, wait for the bus looking at other mountains, ride public transit on these gorgeous bridges and over the logging, cabin-sitting rivers, and all the while, the air is crisp and fresh and warm.
Vancouver seems like a great place for me. I haven't even reacted to the dog!
After a week, I've gotten used to the time change and actually went to sleep at 3am voluntarily last night, which is a good sign considering that once I really start my Olympic shifts, I'll only be able to get to bed around 2:30am. The only thing that's not so good about Pacific Time is, though I kept claiming to be living in that timezone when in Montreal, that it's hard to stay in touch with people. Not just friends and family, but my whole online system, my Twitter buddies and news streams... they're all based in Eastern Time, and I'm having trouble keeping up! Still, these kinds of busy trips help me eliminate some of the clutter in my life, from websites I realize I'm not really interested in catching up on or Facebook friends whose updates aren't really relevant to my everyday life anymore. Usually, these trips help me re-focus my energies on what's truly important, and I'm looking forward to figuring it all out once this journey is over.
Meanwhile, I can't wait until all my broadcast buddies settle in Vancouver later this week. It's going to be nice to hang out and explore together and who knows? Maybe I'll even have a hot tub, hot dog, house party! Since we're in Vancouver, everyone will be super polite (I love that people here yell out "thank you" even when exiting the bus by the rear doors) and you'll all be wearing track suits (I heard that Vancouver was casual, but I was expecting lululemons and Pumas, not sweats and Converse), so it'll be a grand time! (That's right, I've picked up some Irish lingo from my Irish family).
And on that note... Slainte!
12 hours ago