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16.5 hours to the Paralympics – A day in the life of the Salt Building

March 12, 2010

Well, I had left my last post ridiculously short, but it was with good reason.  It was quite the day.  I had originally been scheduled to volunteer in the Village from 3-11pm today, but a fellow volunteer couldn’t make her shift from 8:30am to 3pm today so I offered to take it as well.  Now, I know that it sounds a bit crazy but I was curious to see what a whole day working on the Plaza & Events team would be like.  Plus, I was sure that because it is generally quite quiet in these days leading up to the Opening Ceremonies that I would be able to leave early if I was tired.

The day started very quietly.  We have video game machines that have a trivia game on them.  These are the devil.  There is continuous competition amongst a few of us to have our name at the top of the leader board, and just as we think we’ve mastered it somehow someone gets a higher score.  Matt is our current reigning champion, but I’m not far behind… I’ll have to work on it some more.  I got myself to the second highest score this morning and will have to try some more soon.

We had some visitors from Team USA just before noon – Candace and John.  They have both competed in previous Paralympic Games as far as I know though both are here in more of administrative/mentor role this time around.  Candace has competed in 10 different Paralympic Games, both summer and winter!  They were both wonderful to talk to.  It was fascinating to hear Candace speak on the differences from all of her years in competition.  Her first Paralympic ‘village’ was in 1980 in Arnhem, Netherlands (the Games were not held in conjunction with the Olympics in Russia) where the athletes were housed in army barracks.  Today, the USA lounge faces north over False Creek towards the mountains, in one of the greenest building complexes in the world.  I hope to hear more of her stories.

A photo of Candace skiing in 2006 in the Torino Paralympic Winter Games.

After we had been talking awhile, my supervisor Matt (yes, the one with the high score) showed up with a bunch of plants for the Living Wall.  The Living Wall is a hanging of over 600 plants that act sort of as a screen between some of the video games and the rest of the space in the Salt Building.  When I first started volunteering it was lush and full of healthy green plants.  Most of them did not make it though the Olympics, though not for lack of trying on all of the volunteers part.  Anyhow, today we replaced the dead plants with new ones and it is gorgeous again!  Luckily, we did have help from some volunteers from the Welcoming Centre, and they were more than welcome!  It took us about two hours to remove all of the old plants and dirt, replant the new plants and clean up!  It was great!

The Living Wall in the Salt Building - refreshed and looking fabulous!

My next few hours were a bit quieter.  I was in the DVD lounge.  I watched some movies.  I cleaned the popcorn machine (we have the big cart style machine and someone had either added the butter/oil at the wrong time or didn’t put the lid on and it was a mess!).  After three hours by myself in the DVD lounge I moved back to the Salt Building and I’m sure glad I did!  I got to 1) play some pool with two of the members of the Great Britain Wheelchair Curling team, 2) compete in a Jenga tournament with several members of the Team Canada Ice Sledge Hockey Team, and 3) play bass drum on Beatles RockBand with some of the guys from the sledge hockey team too! (They did try to have me play other instruments but I’m barely coordinated enough for the bass pedal, let alone more buttons!).

This is Darren, one of the audio/visual guys for the Salt Building. Sorry, I'm not allowed to post photos of athletes, or even take them really. But Darren was having a good game here!

Did I leave early?  No.  Did I have an absolutely fantastic time today?  You betcha!  Do I want to go back and do it again?   Heck ya!  I am hoping to pick up a volunteer shift or two in the next few days, but with tickets and things like that, I guess I’ll have to wait and see.  But I’m going to keep my fingers and toes crossed.  I love being in the Paralympic Village and hope I can go back soon!

Oh, and the Paralympics start in just a few short hours!  Can you believe it’s here?!  I did manage to get myself one ticket, through a very kind fellow blogger that has access as media.  I can’t quite believe I’m getting to go, given how badly I botched up getting tickets.  But I am and I have to thank Vincent from Vancoulympics so much for the opportunity!  I really, really appreciate it!  Plus I’m looking forward to meeting him for the first time.  It still amazes me that I have so many people that I consider friends because of Vancouver 2010, and some of them I still haven’t met in person.  What a powerful force worldwide sport can be!

And speaking of tickets… I did buy wheelchair curling tickets today (I wasn’t too late for that)… but there were still no Closing Ceremony tickets… until I spoke with another blogger friend, Rachael, from Tinkerblue, who happened to have two available and was willing to have me take one.  Wow!!  I am pretty much the luckiest person in the world.  And I know it.  Thank you merci to everyone.  I feel grateful that you are all in my life, whether as a reader, a new friend, an old friend or family.  I don’t think life gets much better than this and it is all because of you.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. keith77cdn permalink
    March 12, 2010 1:34 am

    hey andrea what day is your curling games simce im going next week 17th at 1230 and i got ticket to watch sledge hockey at 16th when sweeden vs italy at 130pm and wish i could goto closing show since tommorrow be great show and you will enjoy it and if ya have time facebook me i be there by 5pm in bc place but i be in there sooner since i be cast member and would like see you agian.

  2. Dan permalink
    March 12, 2010 2:34 am

    That is the most epic game of Jenga ever, tell Darren that he’s a hero, although he probably knows it already.

  3. Tom permalink
    March 12, 2010 3:43 am

    Enjoy the OC – tell us all about it because we won’t be able to watch it in the UK. I’m particularly keen to see whether they light the cauldron the same or differently.

  4. March 12, 2010 7:08 am

    Glad to see you are going to the Opening Ceremonies and getting offers from other people with tickets. That is just a reward for all the hard work and good deeds you’ve been doing; enjoy yourself as always and thanks again for sharing with us.

  5. Jo-Anne permalink
    March 12, 2010 9:49 am

    Maybe everyone was being too kind to the plants & overwatered them. Friendly advice from a Horticulturist, check the soil’s moisture beforehand.

  6. March 12, 2010 10:32 pm

    Andrea,
    Once again sorry for the false hope regarding the ticket… Hope you manage to get one finaly.
    But VANOC ask me to choose between my Volunteer’s accreditation & my Press’ accreditation… And as you could suppose the choice has been easy… no way that i will not participate to the Games !!!
    Hope we could finaly met and talk about our experiences before i’ll return Europe !
    Regards
    Vincent

  7. robyn permalink
    March 13, 2010 10:33 pm

    Had a survey sent to me to do about my experience at the Olympics.And in one of the pictures by the open happiness pavilion there was a picture of you Andrea in your red Canada hoodie.

  8. April 3, 2010 4:48 pm

    What lessons have you learned from your relationships?

Trackbacks

  1. Writing update « 2010VanFan
  2. Day 5 – Wheelchair curling and sledge hockey! « 2010VanFan

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