It’s always a bit weird when you return home after a long absence. In my particular case it’s after having traveled to about 15 other countries. There’s a lot of truth in the saying that travel is a powerful educator. Not only have I broadened my cultural and religious horizons but I have experienced first hand, international media discrepancies, police policies, hospital procedures and a wide array of airport security measures. Not the sort of stuff you pick up in text books.
I was excited to be returning to Vancouver in time for the Olympic celebrations, but after having been home a while my excitement has dampened significantly. While the rest of the world views Vancouver as one of the most attractive cities in the world, the locals have obviously become too spoiled, demanding and picky.
I’m sick of hearing grumbling about traffic! Try commuting in Los Angeles on the 405… That’s traffic. People are bitching about all the construction; JOBS, people! Construction is good. It means growth and economic stimulus.
While the rest of the world has been suffering from a devastating economic downturn, Vancouverites have actually been spared most of the hardships. Sure, homeowners are paying taxes and the government is utilizing that money to build new facilities and to fund the Olympic Extravaganza, but stop and realize the potential this creates. Remember the Worlds Fair in 1986? I do, my house nearly tripled in value over an eight year period. The repercussions of that tax spending (which was bitched about too) has been proven positive beyond all projections.
Some Vancouver locals are like overindulged children. They have no idea of the hardships that are common in the rest of the world. Our quaint shops and tree-lined boulevards, with more parks and green space than any other city I have visited, are too easily taken for granted. Truth is that with all Vancouver has to offer, there’s no need to travel. Ask the people who are grumbling the loudest, where have you traveled in the past 20 years? I bet they haven’t. Everything you could ever want or dream of is available here. No need to go farther than your own backyard.
So when visitors start to arrive and they gasp and draw huge breaths of freshly oxygenated air… realize that the gasp is from the unmistakable beauty that surrounds us. While they’re sitting in traffic they have their foreheads pressed to the windows and are marveling at the sites. Listen to their comments… you’ll be proud to hear that it’s all praise and compliments.
Yes, but what about the homeless, the drug addicts and bums? Our idea of poverty is unrealistic in comparison to that of other regions. It doesn’t come close to the atrocities found in Asia, Africa or Eastern Europe. Many think that the pan-handlers downtown are a severe problem…No comparison to the pick-pockets and scammers that crowd you as you try to navigate through international markets or public places elsewhere.
Sometimes you have to lose something before you truly appreciate it. In this case I think a trip to Haiti or Indonesia would help to change the Bah Humbug attitude to the Olympic naysayers. I’m proud to be here. I’m proud of my city and will gladly offer a smile and kind word to visitors who arrive in the coming weeks.I was inspired to see on the BC News last night a group of school children who were lining the roadway to watch as the Olympic Torch passed by. They all booed a lone protester sending him off in shame. Let’s all adopt that childlike spirit.
It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of us to witness such an amazing event. I for one, will cherish every moment.
For more information and a great perspective from a truly exceptional Olympic Fan visit Andrea Kay’s blog 2010 Van Fan!