Canada House at Sochi

Canada House at Sochi

The past two days at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia have been jam packed. And for the first time since last Sunday I actually had something go wrong and found myself being a little disappointed in people. It wasn’t with the Russian people though, or with my traveling companions; they’ve all been great. My disappointment was with a Canadian.

Those of you who have been following my posts from Sochi will remember that Canada House serves as a home away from home for the families and friends of Canadian Olympians. You can’t get in and utilize the facility unless you are a family member or a friend of a Canadian Olympian.

It has been great having access to Canada House as there really is nowhere else to go when you have time before, after or between events. In addition to the opportunity to meet many of the Canadian Olympians and their friends and family, there is free wifi and plenty of places to plug-in and recharge.

And that’s where my first disappointment of this incredible trip happened.

On Wednesday, Team Canada’s women’s curling team had an afternoon game at 2 pm. Part of our daily routine has included a stop at Canada House either before or after our games. It is a place where we can recharge both our phones and our bodies. Before heading to the curling cube – the facility where both the men’s and women’s curling games are played – I was charging my iPad and decided, “Heh, it’s Canada House. I am sure I can leave my iPad here and it will be fine until I come back from the game.” (Monsanto admission: it’s my work iPad and I know I violated policy by leaving it unintended and that was wrong).

I know many of you are now jumping ahead and thinking the iPad is gone, but that is not the case. When I returned to Canada House, my iPad was exactly where I had left it, along with my cord. But what was missing (stolen or borrowed and not returned) was something more valuable – my European power adapter. Without an adapter, you are not able to access any power outlets in this country and that means your batteries on the iPhone and the iPads cannot be recharged. Me without connectivity and the ability to write and communicate via email, text or social media avenues such as Twitter and Facebook is not a good thing.

I know this is just a little thing, but why would someone take something that is not theirs, particularly in Canada House which is supposed to be your home, filled with your friends and family? I would have been fine with anyone borrowing the charger while I was away, but to have someone out-and-out abscond with it really disappointed me.

I am fortunate to have room-mates with chargers so I am managing, plus a kind volunteer at Canada House also found me a passable, but lower quality, replacement that is working here and there.

I felt it was important to share this story to show that no matter where you travel, sometimes bad things can happen where you least expect them. I won’t let this one situation ruin my otherwise euphoric mood with my trip to Sochi. Thankfully, there are so many more positive and inspiring stories happening all around me, I have rebounded well.

Photo on left: Trish and Canadian gold medalist Alex Bilodeau

It helped that there have been some great experiences coming out of Canada House as well. Over the last couple of days, I have run into more amazing Canadians, including freestyle skiing moguls gold medal winner Alex Bilodeau and his brother Frederic. For those who don’t know Alex’s story, he is now a two-time gold medal winner in consecutive Olympics. But he isn’t just an incredible Olympian. He is also an incredible and compassionate person. It was an honour to meet him and congratulate him on his success.

I also met Denny Morrison who won a silver medal in the men’s 1000-metre speed skating event. It was the first chance I have had to actually see the medals that are being given to the athletes. They are unique and beautiful, regardless of colour. Morrison’s story is another unbelievable Olympic moment since he hadn’t actually earned his spot in the race, having fallen in his Olympic qualifier back home in Canada. So how did he get to race and secure a silver for Canada? His teammate – Gilmore Junio – gave up his spot so Morrison could race. How cool is that?

Photo on right: Hot and tired Canadians on the shuttle bus

Outside of Canada House, my Sochi adventures continued as well. I laughed at our Wednesday morning bus-ride when we were bundled up for the rink and the temperature in the bus hit 27 degrees C. And I “bucked up” and tackled the line-up for the official Olympic souvenir store on Thursday where it takes about an hour to get into the store and almost as much time to check out! But I did it, despite my disdain for shopping, and happily added these experiences to my list of Sochi adventures.

I am now two long days of travel and four full days of Olympic events into this experience and I guess I am having pretty much the time of my life. The performance of Canadian athletes and Team Jennifer Jones in curling (the team was undefeated through five games as of Thursday night) is certainly helping.

Since it’s the Olympics and people keep score, I would say the score for me so far is: disappointment = 1; happiness = 10 +.