I couldn’t sleep Friday night. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was nervous about traveling or if I was just too excited for it all to actually happen. Let me give some background information… In March 2011, it was announced that the World Cup would be in Canada. At this point, it was around my birthday my senior year of highschool. I realized then that in 4 years, I would have just graduated from college along with my friends which would make for the PERFECT time to travel across the border to go see our heroes play. Mind you, this is a bit before the panic of needing a job had set in completely. My friends at the time all agreed – we would make this happen somehow.
Fast forward to last year around this time where I’m looking online to figure out when tickets would be sold. I had just graduated college in a rush (3 years), was leaving my job at UNC to go work at a startup in San Francisco, and had just heard back from Automattic about an interview on June 6th. When I actually bought the tickets in August, I didn’t know where I would be working come the World Cup but I didn’t care. I remember promising to myself that I would quit whatever job I had to make this work.
I very rarely spend money on myself outside of necessities (food, rent, gym). Going to giant concerts or a night on the town isn’t my cup of tea. I don’t buy new clothes often and I consider myself a minimalist. As a result, dropping the amount of money I need to make this trip come true has required some time and some patience with myself. For example, I was hesitant to put the money down to buy top notch seats for the final. Keep in mind that because it’s a women’s world cup and they don’t have the respect they deserve, tickets are insanely cheap compared to any men’s world cup. This happily plays in my favor 🙂 Through dumb luck, a friend of a friend was able to sublease my room until August which not only financed my rent for Vancouver but left me with a very large chunk of change leftover. Suddenly, it all started to come together.
Sunday I arrive in Vancouver in the afternoon. My first impression: it’s a lot hotter than I was expecting and, holy crap, look at that stunning mountains. I loved it the second I saw it. In the back of my mind, I’m already planning my return here. That night I was exhausted but managed to go get groceries. Salmon for dinner only seemed appropriate seeing as I knew it was as fresh as it could get. That evening, I decided to go for a walk. Along the way, I glanced down a street and could see the glimmer of water. Floridians know what I’m talking about. It’s subtle but my trained eye knew it was there. I took off in that direction only to stumble upon the most gorgeous sunset:
I could barely get myself to actually leave this spot. I wanted to stay and just stare. Just being there made me feel refreshed and calm. I need nature in many ways. I always have felt the most centered in front of these kinds of beauties. That same feeling I used to label as “religious” washed over me while sitting there. I haven’t felt that since I went to the National Cemetery in San Francisco where you can see the golden gate, the presidio, and the bay just laid out in front of you. I did finally leave only after realizing I would probably fall asleep here if I didn’t.
Monday I woke up with this feeling of utter disbelief that THIS was my life right now. That I was somehow lucky enough to have the stars aligned so that instead of having to quit my job I’m just able to pick up and leave for a month. Automattic lets us work remotely and, in large part, the culture created at this company is a big reason why this is even possible for me. The level of thankfulness can’t be explained. I worked until 2pm then headed off for a run back around the area where I got to witness that sunset. It was just as pretty during the day as it was the night prior:
After the run, it was time to take a trip downtown to find a spot to watch the US vs Australia game followed by the Japan vs Switzerland game at BC place stadium. While walking to find a sports bar I had spotted on Google maps that seemed promising, I found a Fifa Fan Zone that was going to be screening the US game. They had food trucks, a beer garden, interactive setups for fans, and plenty of tables pointing towards two giant screens where all the fans could watch the games. It was perfect. They also had a neat little ceremony for some ex- Canadian players which was awesome to watch. Those were the players playing with even less recognition than the players playing today have. They are the ones who paved the way for those playing today.
I sat on the edge of my seat while the US solidified a victory against Australia. Megan Rapinoe strongly represented blondes all around the world with her two goals 🙂 I couldn’t have been prouder to cheer them on.