Saturday 3 December 2011

Busy, engaged

I recently, happily and surprisingly got engaged to my boyfriend during a trip to Berlin. He popped the question when I least expected it with a gorgeous ring I now feel naked without while it gets resized.

It's been an interesting first couple of engaged weeks: how people react (or don't), how people work invites to the wedding into their emails and conversations; and how some people just can't stop themselves asking questions there is no way I'll have the answer to even days before my wedding.

There's also the change in name. Boyfriend sounds fun, alive and there; fiancée sounds serious, foreign (pun intended) and waaaay up there. It's something I think only the two of use should say to each other. As well as the rest of the wedding details and ideas, can they not just stay between us?

Some of my best work has been done at 4am under pressure, can we not just have fun planning the honeymoon and worry about guests later?

For good measure and to check we were on the same page, Martín asked me in English and in Spanish. Luckily I said yes to both. Later, it made me chuckle:

What did the big telephone say to the little telephone? You're too young to be engaged!

I've had a little fun with that, and tried to do the same in Spanish. Doesn't work. In Spanish, if someone is already talking on the phone, they are 'ocupado' - busy.

Read that again. Busy.

Now all these questions make sense. There are lists and colours and designers and invites and dates and flights and food and music and more flights and rooms and photos and more which apparently have to be done.

I am loving the irony. And I'll get 'ocupado' soon, but for now, I think I just like being 'engaged'.

Thursday 1 December 2011

Making the Games

I was living in Brazil when I saw the announcement that London had won its bid to host the Olympic Games in 2012. I was overjoyed. For some reason it made me feel very warm and fuzzy inside and it was nothing to do with the 40 degree heat.

There's no denying the magic of the Olympics. It's not just the physical and mental journeys you take on your couch with those seemingly super human athletes who go for glory; there are also the stories of a wider human spirit. The courage to jump/swim/run/spin for your country knowing you don't really know what you're doing makes heroes and names as big as those with gold medals around their necks.

And each country brings their own touches to the games. That Chinese opening ceremony in 2008 is unforgettable; the backdrop to the triathlon in Sydney in 2000 memorable. The London 2012 posters already make me tingle for what this great city might muster up and what the culture festival it is going to throw in for good measure throughout the build-up and afterwards as well.

A couple of weeks ago I had an interview to be a Games Maker, one of the 70,000 volunteers which are needed to make the Olympic Games, well, flow. I had kind of lost hope of an interview, so was delighted when I got the email and excited to go along to LOCOG, it's 19th floor office in Canary Wharf and take part in the process.

Actually, it was more than a process, more than an interview. It was a little journey in itself. If, through the introductions, the enthusiastic sign in, the displays and videos on London 2012 and the film with Eddie Izzard giving us some interview tips, you weren't excited to show why you wanted to help out, then you really were in the wrong place. It was colourful, informative, creative and fun.

The interviewers are volunteers themselves and it's all very informal and natural. They are not interested in how many GCSEs you've got, how much you earn and your vast experience in teaching/telecommunications/trading. They simply want to know you. It was a very refreshing interview.

Stories of inspiration and perspiration still featured, but they didn't have to include those corporate buzz words. My interviewer (and I heard others) was laughing as we talked through my examples. They need people people for the spectator entry task and we simply had to show that; and a whole lot of heart for the Olympic Games.

Whether I get through of not remains to be seen, but what I am pleased about is that I got to be part of a mini Olympics London 2012 journey and glimpse at what they have done, are doing and what is to come.

The road to 2012 has been a very long one for many. And I loved the one step  I have been able to take on it so far.