Saturday, February 13, 2010

With Glowing Hearts

With Glowing Hearts...that phrase is everywhere here in Vancouver.  And Canada's heart should glow.  They've done a fabulous job preparing for this Olympics and are gracious hosts as well.  I've seen glowing faces, glowing lights, glowing athletes, glowing fireworks and yes, lots of glowing hearts.  My face and heart, too, have been glowing like mad since I arrived on Wed.  

On Thursday Cody-Anne and I made a trek to The Bay to pick up some Olympic wear and even the air was glowing with palpable anticipation.  We picked up my sister, Mar, at the airport and then suddenly it was real!! I was going to the freaking OLYMPICS!!!   A long held dream finally coming true.  

Friday around noon Cody-Anne dropped us off at the bus stop and after almost getting on the wrong bus we crossed the street to the correct bus stop bench and soon we hopped aboard.  We met 2 couples who were less familiar with the city that us so we took them under our wing and got them to the SkyTrain station.  The SkyTrain whisked us across town in record time and dumped us in wet, drizzly downtown Vancouver.  The "Blue Coated" volunteers helped us find the BC Place ticket outlet and the CoSport ticket place, too.  Tickets in hand we were ready to rock.  A quick bite at Subway 

- which by the way was filled with a multitude  (well 2 or 3 anyway) of folks from all over the world and we made our way back to BC Place.  

The press of bodies all headed through security was a bit daunting but everyone was in such a good mood and dressed so partioticaly it was just another chapter in the whole story.

  Security went quite quickly and there we were looking for our gate!  As we walked around the perimeter of the stadium we saw more- many, many more - countries represented by people all around us.  

When we got in we hit the pee room ( we are girls after all), filled our water bottles from the fountain and made our way to our seats.  

The next hour was spent discovering the contents of our audience participation boxes, rehearsing our parts and being entertained by the pre-show festivities.

To try and describe, in words, the next few hours would  never really tell you how I felt. I'll try and hit some highlights, however.  

If you remember the audience participatory countdown right at the beginning well, Mar and I were number ones!  We held up our cardboard drum boxes and yelled with the best of them.  The snowboarder shot onto the stage and we were off!  Then the RCMP made their appearance with the Canadian flag and my chest and eyes filled up and I had to struggle to see through the tears.  Something about those scarlet coats and what they represent  gets me every time.  There is no greater Canadian icon. 

The spontaneous show of support, grief and respect the audience showed when the Georgian athletes entered the stadium showed me once again the true spirit of the games and filled me with sorrow and heartbreak for that boys mother.  

Then the  US athletes entered and I was stunned by the warm, loud, encouraging response they received from the mostly Canadian audience.  I couldn't see who was carrying the flag and no one around me seemed to know but I was proud of my second country in that moment as well. 

The Canadian team took my breath away and we waved our full sized Canadian flag like maniacs.

And I think this.  This says it all.  This made goose bumps erupt all over my body, my nose tingle and heart swell with the honour of being a citizen of this great country. 

We Are More
by Shane Koyczan
When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lake
you might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie
might even mention the fact that we've got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we made these crazy things
like zippers

electric cars
and washing machines
when defining Canada
it seems the world's anthem has been
" been there done that"
and maybe that's where we used to be at
it's true
we've done and we've been
we've seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada
don't forget to mention that we have set sparks
we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away
we do more than sit around and say "eh?"
and yes
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we're more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you're welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history
we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy
we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer
we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be
we can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like "someday"
someday we'll be great
someday we'll be this
or that
someday we'll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday
we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation 
of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails
we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those 
who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do
we live to get past what we go through
and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don't have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more
we don't all know what it is in life we're looking for
so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you've been through hell and high water
and you went deep
keep exploring
because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate
we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety
because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
" keep exploring... we are more"
we are the surprise the world has in store for you
it's true

Canada is the "what" in "what's new?"
so don't say "been there done that"
unless you've sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don't say you've been there done that
unless you've been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you'll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn't pack for the first time
but don't let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry
we are the true north
strong and free
and what's more
is that we didn't just say it
we made it be.

The tap-dancing-fiddle-playing-lumberjacks filled the theatrical part of me.  Made me wish I'd directed that segment!  Made me feel proud of our Maritime families for the heritage they've contributed to the tapestry of the Canadian fabric.  

And Rick Hansen wheeling into the stadium with his torch made me burst into tears once more and with the tears streaming down my face I watched  those great Canadian Olympians (was so tickled to see Steve Nash) light the torch(es).  I haven't lived in Canada for 30 years but that did nothing to dampen my patriotism or dilute the fact that I am Canadian through and through.

After the ceremony we made our way- through the cold and rain, reveling beer sodden Canadians, bustling tourists headed home and lots of wonderful art, music and festivities- to Robson Square where Kevin's band The Left was playing at GE Plaza.

  Cody-Anne met us there adorned with her red mittens and crocheted scarf I whipped up for her the night before.  Their show stated at 11:30 pm and we had a great time. With the skating rink behind them, a laser show over head (not to mention the skiers, snowboarders and skaters on the zipline ) and a cheering, crazed audience, Kevin said it was the best crowd they've ever performed for.

Then it was time to go home and after missing our stop on the Sky Train, wandering around in the parking lot looking for Cody-Anne's car and unwinding with a glass of wine when we got home, we crawled into bed at 4 am.  Truly one of the greatest days of my life!


  1. Wonderful recap of ourr day Mind if I share it with all my friends?

  2. Looks like you had a wonderful time! Hope the rest of your trip to the Olympics is as fun!

  3. Wish i was there Syl...well not really but i feel like i was, through your eyes! blessings on you and Mar so glad for you to live your dream. i remember when you were 14 you WERE going to the Olympics and now have/are! Hugs C