Titchy Jo

all about me, my boys and my adventures in Canada

Olympic Fever

Like every other Brit I am currently totally obsessed with the Olympics.  Barely a minute goes by without my Facebook updating with a picture of yet another person I know enjoying the fun at Olympic Park making me feel extremely jealous and a long way from home.  We have been glued to the coverage, suddenly becoming experts in whatever sport we happen to be watching.  The boys have particularly enjoyed the Show Jumping and Diving with shouts of “woah he’s fallen in the water” every time someone takes a dive.  They were less impressed though with my celebratory ‘running man’ when Andy Murray won gold, I’ve clearly succumbed to the dreaded mum dancing.  I still haven’t quite recovered from the emotional rollarcoaster of the phenomenal opening ceremony, I was bawling my eyes out by about five minutes in.  I managed to keep the boys attention for most of it by offering various snacks and Casper enjoyed singing along to Emeli Sande’s beautiful version of Abide With Me with the lyrics of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  One slight blip in the warm fuzzy feeling that has hung over me for the past week and a half though is that I did the BBC website’s “which athlete are you most like” quiz in which they tell you exactly that, based on your height and weight.   Neil was matched with gold medal winning and easy on the eye triathlete Alistair Brownlee, I on the other hand apparently most resemble a South Korean weight lifter, a male one.

With Canada currently only having won one gold medal Olympics fever is far from an epidemic here.  The local beauty salon is running a half hearted Olympics themed offer on facials (I’m not sure what the connection is) but other than that you could easily forget they were happening.  I imagine it was a slightly different story when Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics two years ago, in fact I know that it was as a high percentage of the local population are still wearing “Vancouver 2010” merchandise with pride.  I’m not sure how long they can continue to do this without looking a bit manky, that’s the problem with wearing clothes with the year you bought them emblazoned on the front.  I’m still clinging on to plenty of items of clothing that are far older than I would like to admit but luckily I don’t have to broadcast it to the world every time I wear them (which is a lot).

Despite being thousands of miles away from London our lives haven’t been totally devoid of live sports action.  We took a trip to see the imaginatively named ‘Vancouver Canadians’ baseball team.  Sitting in the stadium felt as though we had been transported into an American film and whilst the game wasn’t quite as heart stoppingly action packed as some of the Olympic events, in fact in this particular match no-one scored anything for 6 innings, it was a great family day out.  It seems as though it’s North America’s version of Cricket, beer, sunshine and the occasional concussion from a ball being hit into the crowd.  The groundsmen performed choreographed dance routines, music blared out – “another one bites the dust” or “you had a bad day” etc when a batsman was out, a mascot in a bear suit scared Theo and rather more unpredictably three people dressed as sushi raced each other around the edge of the pitch.

In fact we have also been treated to some world class competition of our own.  The annual “Celebration of Light” pits international fireworks teams against one another.  Thousands of people line the waterfront for three nights to watch the displays that are set to music and conducted from a barge moored in English Bay.  I went down to the beach to watch the Vietnamese entry and whilst it was a lovely setting and the pretty fireworks appealed to the Disney princess in me I think I may have been a bit spoiled by watching on TV the fabulous displays in London this year – particularly the New Year celebrations.  However, having said that it was quite a novelty going to a fireworks display without putting on all the clothes I own first, I think when I was a child freak weather conditions must have always made November 5th the coldest night of the year.

The Khatsalano Music and Arts Festival took place recently which saw the main street near us closing for a day and hosting ten stages and over 40 bands. Despite a worrying amount of angsty North American rock we listened to some great music and soaked up the cheery atmosphere.  We also saw a sight we had only previously seen in films – the eating contest.  I can see why this particular tradition hasn’t quite made it across the Atlantic, I’m still not sure what the appeal is of watching a woman shoveling spicy chicken wings into her mouth whilst sweat drips off the end of her nose, I don’t think we’ll be seeing it in Rio 2016.

Despite currently living in a little patriotic Olympic obsessed bubble every so often something happens to remind us that we are in Canada.  The other day our neighbour went fishing and came back with six freshly caught sockeye salmon, he filleted one and gave us some to cook for our dinner, another thing to add to my ‘wouldn’t happen in Manchester’ list.  It was delicious, the freshest, tastiest salmon I have ever eaten, all four of us devoured it.

In other news, Theo has achieved another milestone – his first haircut.  When Casper’s look tipped over from surfer dude to Boris Johnson I realised it was time to give in and take the boys to the hairdressers.  Despite having a good example set by his big brother, novice Theo was rather wriggly so in order to avoid him ending up a bit Van Gogh I sat him on my lap whilst the hairdresser reached around me in a style reminiscent of Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in Ghost.  It was unorthodox but effective.

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