Today was our first day volunteering! YAY!!! I slept amazing last night, but I started waking up every hour at about 7 o’clock this morning because I was so excited! I hopped out of bed at 9:30, took a shower, got ready for the day in all my super cool Paralympic gear, and off we went! Christine and I left a little earlier than the rest of the group because we wanted to grab a bite to eat at Subway before our loooong day. Italian BMT on honey oat bread. Mmmm, makes my mouth water every time!
While we were paying for our food, the cashier (a 60ish year-old cute little Asian man) told me that he “liked my face” and that I was “beautiful, just absolutely beautiful.” He sure knew how to make a girl feel good…in a creepy sort of way. He proceeded to ask me what my name was and when I told him, he said, “Ahh, Anna. My new favorite name,” and gave me rather seductive look. Boys will be boys, I suppose.
We met up with the group and began our 25-minute walk through downtown to BC Place, where we were scheduled for the day. We checked in, got our assignments for the day, and Julia, Christine, Kerri, and I were all in the same group. SAWEET! Our team leader, Nikki, was super cool and really fun to work with! Our duties for the day included: directing people into security lines, eating way too many cookies, watching about 20 minutes of the ceremonies, freezing our bums off, and giving people directions from the arena. Honestly, most of us felt pretty useless for the majority of the day but sometimes that’s just part of the job.
I met and got to know a girl named Monica who was from Switzerland, and she was so much fun to hand out with! I learned a lot about her culture and how she ended up in Canada. Not to mention she was a total sweet heart! She doesn’t have a facebook, but she said that she was going to make one just for me so we could keep in touch. Friggin’ sweet! I was so pumped when she said that! Gotta love facebook. I really hope I see her again before both of us leave Vancouver.
The security group I worked with was awesome! They said I was the most southern person they had ever talked to and thought my name was “Ayna” for the first half of the day. They obviously didn’t speak redneck quite as well as I did. And would you believe that my security supervisor looked JUST LIKE Meryl Streep? Because she totally did and I couldn’t stop staring at her. I mean, who doesn’t love Meryl?
Christine’s security group was made up of a bunch of young boys who constantly acted a fool. Seriously. Out of all the people in the whole world that people have said I sound like, they came up with the most random person ever: the reporter girl from Mr. Deeds. That’s a first. And I still don’t see it, but it’s whatev. Like I said, they were crazy!
For dinner we had tortellini, broccoli soup, a roll, and our choice of Coke products. I was yummy AND free, which made it all the better! After dinner, we got to watch a few minutes of the actual ceremony, but then it was back to work in the chilly winter weather outside. All the other outside volunteers bailed so it was just us. All six of us directing 30,000 people out of the building. Chaos? Well, you’d think it would be, but it really wasn’t so terrible. Thanks to that task, I now know how to direct anyone to anywhere from BC Place. Pretty impressive, I know. Julia, Monica, and I beasted the instructions.
A man walked up to me and he was drinking from a coffee mug. He asked me how to get to the casino, and then proceeded to tell me that he was drunk and that it wasn’t coffee in his mug. Another man asked me if I liked poetry and when I said I did, he handed me two pages of poems he had written. They were titled: “Hockey for Global Peace,” “Canadian Food Guide (A Hip-Hop Song)” and “Canadian Food Guide (Nursery Rhyme).” Thank you, Shiraz Ramji, for making my night. He also told me to look him up online at www.sfu.ca/~swramji. If you want a good giggle, you should too.
Our shift ended at 10 o’clock, and we made it back to the hostel about half an hour later. Let it be known that I raced John Barwise back to the hostel, and beat him. WITH a bum knee. I only have one thing to say about that: Girls rule & boys drool!
In five hours, I have to wake up again for another day in the life of a Paralympic volunteer. So for now, au revoir!