(As a side note: The 2010 Winter Olympics haven't actually finished. There are still two weeks of the ParaOlympics to go and although they won't get the publicity, they SHOULD get the acknowledgement).
So what was it like actually living in Vancouver during the Winter Olympics? Amazing, bewildering, uneventful? Actually it was a LOT like Christmas. Let me explain..
As with every holiday season there is a pattern. On reflection today, I realised that this pattern had a parallel to the Vancouver Olympics.
Firstly you get the hype and publicity. Banners go up. Shops start selling related items. Everything starts getting tailored to the whole event. It builds slowly until you can't escape a mall visit without being bombarded. As usual this starts way before it should.
In response you ignore it. You don't pay attention until it is way upon you. People start asking you: where you are going? what are you doing? Planning anything special? To which you nod aimlessly and make some mumbled comments that you haven't really thought about it. It occurs to you, that if everyone is getting set-up then you should to. At this point the mad panic sets in. You start hunting down those 'must-have' items only to find out that they are all gone. You spend hours looking for 'THOSE' mittens, determined not to buy anything else, only to come back with 3 bags full of 'Stuff' you can't actually remember buying.
Then the logistics of the event set in. Transport, people, travel, expense and you begin entering the 'Humbug' phase. Everything set around the event sets your teeth on edge and you are flatly refuse to get involved, until...
after the first few days into the whole event. You realise that it's not as bad as it seems. All those things you dreaded happening... umm...haven't and actually, you can start to see some good things happening. People are smiling. They are decorating their houses. Stupid adverts on TV start to make you smile. People seem excited. Like a slow burning yule-log, (or Olympic cauldron), the warmth of the event seeps into your veins.
Then a few days before the whole event finishes, you 'get it'. You understand what all the fuss was about. You get caught up in it. You want to party and cheer and wear stupid costumes. You go around to your friends houses, drink beer, watch hockey and have a good time. You actually begin to enjoy yourself.
Then it's over. But, that's okay. People ask you if you went out? Did you have a good time? You smile, agree and the lingering warmth is still there. You pat yourself on the back because you got out there and DID something. You are still in that cheerful calm that keeps you happy a week after life has returned to normal...
That's where we are now. Post Party bliss! It's great. You still get a tingle when you remember all the things you saw and did. Trying to burn them into your memory as you firmly believe that THIS was the best ever. But of course, there comes the time..
You realise that you ate too much, you drank too much and you should really remember more of the 'holiday' than you do. The credit card statements come in. You realise that you spent more than you should; or in this case the whole of the BC province has the bill and VANOC spent more than they should. You realise that you will need to diet, both fiscally and ummm... literally. You brace yourself and you try to remember the joy you felt as reality sets in.
Usually at this point you start looking forward. If it is Christmas you usually only have another 10 months to wait. However, with the Olympics we know that we won't go through this again. Next time, it is someone else's turn. (It will be Sochi, Russia). I suppose despite everything that is yet to come, (the obligitory dieting, the fiscal pain the local government will put use through) that is a bit of a shame.