B-Town Undercover: A Burienite Makes Friends At The Winter Olympics

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by Shawn Underwood

Yes, it’s rainy.

Yes, the wind is howling and the 2010 Olympic flame is blowing sideways, leaving my umbrella to resemble a closed tulip, but the enthusiasm for the Olympic games is infectious.

The minute we stepped off the Skytrain we are greeted with a chorus of  welcomes.

“Good morning!” said one Mapleleaf-clad young woman.

“Good morning!!” said another.

“Good morning!!!” said a third.

Oh my gosh, I’ve got to move to this friendly city – I’ve already got three friends in less than one minute. Just think, by the time I get to my hotel, let’s say ten minutes or so – I’ll have 30 new friends. I did notice a lot of my new ‘friends’ were wearing bright green coats and badges.


At our centrally-located hotel, Rosedale on Robson in Vancouver BC, the staff personnel practically fall over each other with their welcomes. I love this place. I can’t wait to tell my old college friend, Deb, how much I love her country. Deb moved here 20+ years ago and never left. She probably has loads of friends.

Translated, this First Peoples symbol means "Good Morning!"

The phone rings five minutes after we settle into our room.

“I’m downstairs,” said my old friend (what, no “Good morning!”? So much for a friendly country…).

I quickly put on some lipstick and run downstairs.

“Damn girl, you look the same as you did in college!” I said.

Waiting, waiting, waiting for similar reply. Guess I’m not looking as fresh as I thought. Oh well, things could be worse.

“Deb, everyone here is soooo dang friendly.”

“Oh yeah, we’ve been barraged with public announcements before the Olympics – stuff like, ‘remember you are a representative of Canada, go out of your way to be friendly.'”

I’m rather deflated by this statement. Maybe I don’t have quite so many friends as I imagined. Maybe they are paid to be nice!

“What about all the people in green jackets?” I ask.

“Oh, those are volunteers, they don’t get paid unless their empolyers pay for their time off to help with the Olympics,” she said as we walked towards the waterfront to see our first ever ‘live in person’ Olympic flame.

Nate Holland

Sunday–we hope to be first in line at The Bay department store–the only place in Vancouver which sells Olympic souvenirs. The line was three blocks long today. I don’t want the popular mapleleaf mittens that bad.

Monday–Off to Cypress to watch Tom’s relative, Nate Holland, a “five-pete” X Games champion.

Hopefully I’ll be wearing my new souvenir mapleleaf mittens – you know, the kind that make you smile and say “GOOD MORNING!!!!”?

Twenty-five years of living in Burien gives Humorist Shawn Underwood much fodder for her writings.

All of her stories are true, or at least have a grain of truth with no added embellishments.

Or something like that.

Read more of her humor at her website here.

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