Today marks the 4th and 5th birthdays that I have missed since being out of the country, and that makes me super sad!!!! The beautiful Amber (also known as B. Davis) celebrated her birthday in Memphis today! SWEET!! Mrs. Angie (TJ’s mom) also started a new year of her life tooooo! Words cannot describe how much both of these ladies mean to me! I wish I could have been there with them both!!!
Before this morning, I had nearly forgotten how wonderful sleeping past 5 a.m. felt! Not waking up until 9:30 was exactly what I needed to give me the last bit of energy to get through this last full week of working. Tomorrow morning is the last time we have a 7 o’clock shift, so I am already looking forward to that!
Thirteen of us took a ride up to Whistler this morning to watch the Alpine skiing event. That ride up the mountain is one of the most breath-taking views I’ve ever seen in my life…mountain tops covered in snow with the Pacific Ocean at their feet. Only one phrase describes it: the whole earth is FILLED with HIS GLORY. Even when I tried to take pictures of them as we were passing by, the pictures didn’t even begin to do them justice. That’s when you know something is truly beautiful.
We got up to Creekside Village just in time to watch both the women and the men ski for the bronze, silver, and gold medals in slalom. It was AWESOME! Watching these men and women is so inspirational and humbling and really just incredible. Paralympic athletes have overcome and chosen to SEE good out of their circumstances and DO good so others may be inspired to do the same. At the beginning of one of our work sessions, the volunteer managers said this: “The Olympics change cities. The Paralympics change people.” Real talk. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
During the intermission between the women and men’s runs, John, Nicole, Bry, and I decided to go play on some of the equipment that was out! I sat in a sled (used for sledge hockey), the equipment used during cross-country races, and the tool used for downhill skiing. As if I didn’t already have SO much respect for these athletes, I now had the chance to experience what they experience (a very mild version, of course), and let me tell you…that was HARD! My arms were burning after just a few seconds. I even toppled out of the piece used for downhill skiing. Graceful, I know.
When we walked back up to the stands, one of the athletes wasn’t too far behind us. When we realized he was AMERICAN, we all jumped at the opportunity to meet him! Hello, Monte Meier, a four-time Paralympian who is also one of the best one-legged skiers in the whole world! He was super nice and was so excited that we were from the US!
After the event, we went into Whistler Village to eat a late lunch/early dinner. One of Skye’s friends from college, Muffy Davis, who was a Paralympian in previous games and now served as a Paralympic Ambassador, met us for dinner with her husband and son! She was SO nice and knew SO much about adapted sports. As a soon-to-be Recreation Therapist, I was eating up everything she said! Her husband (who could easily be mistaken as Will Ferrell) is a Recreation Therapist up in Utah, and he knew what he was talking about too! Talking to them made me wish I was already graduated and practicing TR somewhere! Who’s got two thumbs up and can’t wait to go to California this summer and work for three CTRSs for three months?! THIS GIRL!
After dinner, we headed back down the mountain and two hours later, we made it back to the hostel safe and sound. Wanna know how much Kerri, Christine, and I LOVE Skye? A LOT!!!! Wanna know why? Because he rescued our blankets and now we can actually stay warm while we sleep! YAY!! Well, of course that’s not the only reason…just the most recent reason we’ve come across. You know, there are just so many to count. I mean, he is Skye Arthur-Banning, for goodness sakes. What’s not to love?
” To all, to each, a fair goodnight, and pleasing dreams, and slumbers light.” -Walter Scott : )
p.s. I haven’t heard Teesh’s voice in more than 180 hours. Countdown to the most ULTIMATE tackle hug ever in the history of tackle hugs: approximately 168 hours. Halfway there and I can’t wait!