Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vancouver hosts the world ... again

Only a mere few days from now the 2010 Winter Olympic Games will kick off in Vancouver and Whistler (and surrounding, less well-known areas). Yesterday the torch was passed through my old hometown. Today on Facebook friends who still live there posted about it. Some lamented about the beauty. Others shared euphoria having touched it, and fears they may have dropped it. Sounds like the city is a-buzz! I have my Olympic gear ready and tickets to two hockey games. Now that I live in San Diego it will require a 4-hour plane trip and week's vacation to the old 'hood to experience it.

Totally fine with me. I remember the day, not long ago, when Vanoc won the bid for these games, and 2010 seemed waaaaaaaay far away.

Now, a somewhat ex-pat who by chance has had a cadre of Canadian visitors down the last 3 weekends is watching the moment unfold from two different perspectives. Canuck friends tell me anything "Canadiana" is flying off the shelves. Like the Cowichan sweaters we wore 20 years ago, and probably the famous striped Hudson's Bay blankets too. Anything First Nations. Anything red and white. Probably the odd Mountie or two as well. This just makes me think (yet again) how crazy it is that stereotypes take so long to change. There's so much more to my old country than that (like, no one actually really wears those Cowichan sweaters anymore) - but when the world is watching it seems to get reduced to the traditional signs and symbols.

Oh well, I hope the old town puts on a great show (with or without snow for the snowboarders) and maybe, just maybe, there will be some meanings and memories visitors from around the world take with them back to their hometowns. And I'm not talking steroid use Ben Johnson!

Go Canada. Go world. Go Vancouver!