Gold Medals, Posing and Outdoor Picnics

Trip Start Feb 14, 2010
Trip End Feb 21, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Thursday, March 18, 2010

Friday morning, 7 am - I'm up again after about 3 hours. Reason: get together with my FSU family for some SKATING! I actually made an effort to being my own skates to Vancouver as I had promised myself I'd never skate in rentals, ever!

Made it to Robson Square OK, it was a sunny yet slightly chilly day. My friends who were already there let me know that Michelle Kwan and Scott Hamilton were scheduled to appear at the Robson rink to do some media and skate with some contest winners. It was fun to see them there with the people thrilled to share the ice with the legends.

Since the session was dragging a little bit Claudia and I opted for a quick Starbucks run to warm up a little bit. When we're back, the ice was still taken and as it was getting close to lunchtime we decided to grab something to eat at the nearby Bread Garden recommended by Ali and have a picnic outside. It was such a blast and the food was fabulous. Best Mango Cheesecake I've ever had. The beef Samosa wasn't bad either (that's an understatement).

Back to the rink, we found out the line-up to the skate rental booth was over 2 hours long and we're not able to wait that long, the decision was made to skip the skating part and distribute the medals based on politics (meaning: everyone gets the GOLD). We took many pics (see the slideshow below) and moved on to the next position on the agenda: SHOPPING. Went to Sephora with Claudia, Kim and Midori. I got a gold Dior eyeshadow and lipgloss. Somehow I'm suddenly fond of that colour... Wonder why? ;)

Aftter we're all done there, the rest of the group joined us and we headed to the Coliseum for the Compulsory Dance. Technically, I didn't have a ticket but wanted to see what I could get. Larry joined me there and after the event had started we managed to buy very cheap scalped tickets. I was really glad we did as it was my last chance to see Delobel and Schoenfelder. That was fun!

Another amazing day in Vancouver...

The following morning I finally allowed myself to sleep in, in a major way; stayed in bed until 11 am. It was great to finally be able to spend some time with my lovely hosts. In the afternoon I headed back downtown to do some souvenir shopping. Since I knew I'd be moving into my new condo shortly I went crazy on shopping for home items, decorations, etc. Vancouver will definitely be the main theme of my place with all the things I bought, from blankets to coffee mugs and... you name it.

I wanted to walk to the cauldron again but as it turned out, it was almost impossible due to the numbers of people in that part of town. It was not possible to pass anybody in the street and foving forward en mass was the only option and something that I didn't feel like doing.

After the sunset I got together with Mel and Claudia and we took the sea bus to North Vancouver to a small cocktail party in North Vancouver hosted by our skating friend. Another perfect evening. Still can't believe how lucky I am to have all those wonderful experiences under my belt.

The Aftermath

Next day it was time to go home. Couldn't believe how fast the week flew by! On the plane from Vancouver to Edmonton and then to Toronto I was trying to process all the events that took place over the proceeding seven days, form some opinions... It wasn't easy as there were so many thoughts and memories galloping wildly in my head I wasn't getting anywhere with that.

Now, almost a month later, when I think back to Vancouver, there are a few things that stand out in my mind.

The Olympic Spirit - I've been hearing about it since I've been very little and could always feel it when the Olympic Games were taking place in the world. But nothing comes close to being there, in the host city, living it out, mingling with people from different countries, running around town in  your team's gear and looking at the Olympic flame that has been inspiration to so many over the centuries.

The pressure - As much as I'm used to having emotional investment in sport and anticipation that comes with it, nothing can match the levels it reached in Vancouver. It's so intense I can't even put it into words. As I mentioned in one of the previous entries, the feeling of wanting something to happen for somebody and yet having no influence on it whatsoever can be paralyzing. As for the athletes, I can't even imagine how they must be feeling. Yes, they do control their own destiny to certain extent (their own performances), but some things (competitors' performances, judging) are out of their control. And if you add carrying your fans and country's hopes on your shoulders... It's totally crazy and seeing Evan, one of the toughest competitors in men's figure skating in the last few years break down into tears (something I had never seen him do before) after a very successful SP was a tangible manifestation of how much pressure those athletes have to handle and overcome on their way to success.

And now a few shout outs to a few special people without them my Olympic experience wouldn't have been the same.

My friend patient travel companion Larry for dealing with me for seven days running (including sharing the basement at his brother house) and our lovely hosts for not minding our insane schedules and general craziness when it comes to sports.

Carley, Diane, Judy, Mary, Meredith and Mary a.k.a skating family. Thanks for being there and sharing all those fantastic memories with me.

Esta for always being a great mental support system, even when you're not there.

All my FSU friends (Allison, Claudia, Celine, Daphne, Helene, Jenny, Joanne, Lewis, Luke, Mel, Midori, Peter) for all the good times.

My long-time friend and one of the first 'guides to Canada' Lauren - love you and it was great to see you again.

To all my readers for putting up with my bad grammar, spelling and over the top biases. ;)

And last but not least to Mr. Lysacek for making my Olympic experience all the more special by not only by performing so well under immense pressure and winning the Olympic Gold Medal but also by being a humble in victory and always taking the 'high road'. Congratulations. And thank you.

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