Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

Vancouver, you have some pretty amazing people in your city but you probably already knew that. I have been the recipient of your kindness, generosity and Olympic spirit the last few weeks and am very touched and grateful.

If you have been following my posts for awhile, you will remember a few months ago I wrote about coming up with this crazy idea to fly into Vancouver for the weekend of the Opening Ceremony, maybe even getting a ticket for the Opening Ceremony. Our original trip is planned for the second week of the Olympics. This Opening weekend trip would be in addition to that. The deal I made with myself was I would do it but only if someone let me stay at their place. I shouldn’t even be spending money to fly out there again, much less pay for a place to stay. If I could stay with someone I knew in Vancouver then I would spend the money on airfare to get there for opening weekend.

As time went by, it looked less and less likely that I was going to be able to go. No one had offered to let me stay with them and I didn’t feel I knew some well enough to ask them outright. In updated blog posts I made casual mention of this fact and was resigning myself that maybe this wasn’t meant to be. My Olympic karma had run out. Then an amazing and unexpected thing happened, the offers started rolling in. Vancouver people started emailing me, sending messages on Facebook and Twitter offering me their couches, second bedrooms and sofa beds. A fellow blogger from Inside Vancouver even offered up her mother’s place to me! Some of these people I knew through my blog and was corresponding with on a regular basis. Others were frequent readers of my blog but I had never heard from them before their offers of accommodation. In total, I had 6 people offering to let me stay with them or with people that they knew. At first it was pretty disconcerting to be getting invites from complete strangers but after awhile I wasn’t even surprised. I realized that these are Vancouver people, proud of their city, honoured to be hosting people from all over the world and wanting to share the experience with Olympic fans like me. These people are spreading Olympic spirit and Vancouver spirit all across their city and country.

Thank you for letting me be a part of it.

And in case you were wondering, I have found a place to stay with an acquaintance in Yaletown. I will be in Vancouver when the Olympics begin and couldn’t be happier. There is no other place I would rather be that weekend. See you in Vancouver on February 12, 2010.


  1. Ah, Christina I am so glad you found a place and it all worked out! My great lesson in life has been always to "pay it forward"--so offering you a place (even my mom's place!) to stay was a way to thank all the kind people who have so generously offered up their own homes to me when I've been in need of a bed and a roof.

    I have another Olympic "kindness of strangers" story to share with you: I went to see Streb, a Brooklyn-based dance company that was part of the Cultural Olympiad, at the last minute, but when I got there the tickets were all sold out. I was standing there, trying to figure out how to fill my now-empty afternoon, when someone approached me and offered up their sick spouse's ticket. And he wouldn't take a penny when I offered to pay.

    What goes around does indeed come around, Christina. Believe.

  2. Great for you & Welcome in Vancouver... Those games will be incredible !!!

  3. Hi Christina,

    What an incredible day I had! Check my newest Photo Album in Facebook to see why!! I can make available any of those photos for you

    Tired but happy,


  4. Hmm, I'm going to have to figure out this comments thing. Took off the moderating for comments but now I don't get emails that I have comments. If I hadn't looked at this post again I would have missed all the things you guys wrote.

    Julie, I totally agree with everything you said. I too will find a way to extend the same courtesy to someone in the future. I'm sure the person who gave you the ticket has had their share of "kindness" paid to them.

    If anyone else has stories regarding "The Kindness of Strangers" please share.