Into the Paralaralympics!
Trip Start Sep 08, 2009
61Trip End Jun 07, 2010
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1. We saw 3 wild moose right by the side of the road soon after leaving Caronport. The Canadian emblem!
2. We stopped at Starbucks for a group coffee courtesy of a donation made by someone in the church
3. The scenery was, of course, spectacular- made even more impressive by the heavy snow that had fallen the afternoon before...
We arrived into Banff early afternoon, giving us a few hours to explore/sit in a coffee shop (guess which I did?) Well, given the amount of coffee I now drink, you'd be forgiven for thinking the latter, but this was my first time in a new town, so of course had to check it out
Now generally, people in Alberta will have winter tyres or chains during the winter, for just such occassions. We, on the other hand, had rented a car from Vancouver, the land of rain and sleet. Said van had an 'anti-slip' override on the tyres, meaning that the car limited its speed if it felt the traction slipping. So it came to pass that the seven of us were sitting in this van, as it crawled up the hill, struggling and faltering until it finally came to a stop, refusing to go any further
After that, the evening consisted of little more than a hot tub, steam room, sauna, and a movie. Bliss.
After 9 1/2 hours of driving on Tuesday, we finally arrive back in Vancouver. Home, sweet home!
We were given the day off on Wednesday but (I blame the time difference), I awoke at 6:30am. After two days of idleness, I thought it would be a good idea to do some exercise, so I went to the local pool for a few laps, and relaxed in the library next door afterwards. In the afternoon, a group of us decided to visit Queen Elizabeth Park, that Taylor and Heidi had been to and raved about a few weeks back
Thursday was our briefing day for the Paralympic outreach. We met up at the Salvation Army centre for introductions (to the one extra volunteer we didn't know), briefing, worship and prayer. In small groups, we tried to come up with one word that represents our expectation/feelings towards this last part of our outreach. We came up with honour (both to be able to be the first ever Christian outreach at a paralympic games, and to honour the athletes), open, celebration, overlooked potential and relax. =)
After eating dinner together, I shot off to granville island for a Spiritual Training seminar with my church on How and Why we should study the Bible. While there wasn't particularly any new information, it was all scriptures and information I needed to be reminded of
Friday was the opening of the Paralympic Games, so we decided to go downtown and 'see what we could do'. As ever, such decisions are fairly frustrating, as we find ourselves doing very little, but my group of 4 at least were able to occupy ourselves making balloon animals (thanks mum), and spreading a little joy to the children of Vancouver! The team were also handing out pocket guides, welcome bags, prayer walking and doing prayer stations, so it wasn't really an unproductive afternoon, it just felt like it at times. I really liked the atmosphere downtown; it was still fairly busy, but much more relaxed, more families, and I sensed more locals too, who may have avoided that chaos/mob during the Olympics.
I went down to granville island again after we finished for a Film & Theology night, again with Westside, discussing Where the Wild Things Are. Now I've read the book several times, even studying it at university- but I wasn't quite sure how someone could take a 25-page picture book and turn it into a 90 minute film. I wasn't surprised, therefore, when it differed/expanded from the original, but it was a strange film. Discussing it afterwards, however, helped me make a bit more sense of it, and James, leading the discussion related it all back to the gospel in such a way I think I enjoyed and certainly got a lot more out of his analysis/thoughts than the film itself.
Saturday saw further training for new teams who had arrived from Mississippi, Texas and Washington for the paralympics. We were 'facilitating the training'- which turned out to mainly just being there. A few of us were on a panel answering questions about Vancouver (since now we're practically locals), and several did an amazing job of cooking for all 40 of us, but other than that, I read my book a bit and chatted to the new volunteers.
Today, Sunday has been relaxing. Gym, Church, Jacket Potato & Beans, Skype, Doze, Bathroom Cleaning, Dinner Cooking. And it's raining.