I am sans accreditation pass, sans italia mobile phone, sans stress, sans work… ahhh… breathing calmly and feeling great. (“calmE”). I am sitting in an artsy, funky cafe bar (Jitters-esque) in the centro of town, shooting my first espresso of the day. It will be tough to ween myself off of this drug.
Going back to Saturday night:
Dad and I sat centre, about 30 rows back from the stage and podium, and watched our St. John’s Curling Club team with pride and joy. This was truly the highlight of these games. I stood up from our seats and raised my Newfoundland bright orange curling sweater – the boys saw it, saw dad and I, pointed and waved from the podium as we proudly cheered for them. It was a wonderful moment and an incredible way to end it all; being there, with dad, watching our flag being raised, listening to our anthem play. I have goose bumps reliving it right now. On the world stage, it was that team and our nation that won a gold medal, and I could not have felt more proud to be Canadian and so inspired for Newfoundland.
Going back to Sunday night, I really should know myself better. On what was to be my last official night of the games, I inteneded to get a “good night sleep” due to the ungodly hour I was to awake to escort folks to Milano. Well, this tale began by complete chance, but I ended up stumbling into the very restaurant where the Swedish hockey team was having a private dinner and celebrating their gold medal victory. As I entered, one very drunk, happy Swede was stumbling up some stairs by himself. It was none other than a Mr. Peter Forsberg. Shane, eat your heart out!! I said to him, “Pedro! Gold Medal! Congratulations – way to go man!!” He gave me a huge hug, all smiles, and said to me in perfect english, “You’re engligh! I am so fucking wasted!”. He’s all class and very sweet, but he’s young, was jubilant and very drunk indeed.
He invited me into the party for a drink – perfect. Ah yes, I will never again get so close to the super star that he has become. I ran out to the car, retrieved my sister, and back into the celebration we jumped. We toasted with red wine, which he poured for us both, and I ended up spending the rest of my evening with his father, his brother, his best friend from childhood and a bunch of the Swedish Hockey Association guys. They were all elated when Christian could pronounce their wee town they are from and Peter made her say it over and over for everyone. They all cracked into some Swedish drinking songs as well, of course. By the time we had arrived at this restaurant that night, most of the players had already left and it was Peter’s entourage remaining. Fine with us! Christian had to drive back up to the mountains that night, so she missed most of the late night pub chats with these guys, which was a shame. Mr. Forsberg, Peter’s dad, is a lovely human being and I am invited to visit them all in Sweden! HA!
So I rolled directly from the bar to the bus to Milano and did not get back to a bed to finally sleep until 5pm last night. I have officially hit the wall. Mum, that ball of wax you sent over for burning at both ends is out. Somebody make it stop. I am ready for home.
The sun has just come out. It is midday. I intend to stroll around town solo for some time, waiting for Christian to organize all of her receipts for CBC and return her car. Then we head up to the mountains for 2 days of sunny snowboarding bliss.
Bring on Beijing. Being a part of the Olympic adventure is an inspiring experience I would love to have again. Can’t wait for 2010.
Ciao from italia