No Disclaimer Needed. FUCK RUSSIA.
In actuality, I had a fantastic time. At the moment, I can't wait to get on the airplane. My flight is headed to Istanbul and I couldn't be happier. I'm drinking a beer right now to celebrate.
The events are done. The hotels have emptied. For the most part, it's already become another Russian ghost town. I'm sure it will liven up a bit for the paraolympics, but if the last 3 days have been a sign, Sochi doesn't have too much in store.
On my last post, I was a bit worried about writing updates. I know of two volunteers that were kindly asked to remove their blogs. Another volunteer was simply sending emails to 200 of his closest friends about what he was doing. His last post included a story about getting drunk with my friend and I and where the athlete condoms had gone. Shortly there after, he was informed he could go home or be reassigned. He chose to be reassigned. It turns out they have been intercepting pretty much everything. I was even told that another volunteer was given the official role of listening in on journalist's conversations to inform whoever of any possible bad press.
(I made it to an Olympic hockey game. I'd do it again.)
Overall, I would do it again. I shared a room with 3 too many females for it to feel like a comfortable hostel. The room was constantly too hot. Our schedules were incredibly different, and by the end of the games, I the non-English speaking roommate had taken it upon herself to have sex in the bunk below mine while I was above them, awake and with another roommate in the room. I have low expectations, but this wasn't a drunk after party college dorm room, this was a place where we were meant to wake up in the morning and help the Olympics happen.
The food was terrible and I think I actually managed to contract giardia. I'm not going to tell you how I know... but it was that or pancreatic cancer and I'm feeling great now, so I'm going with giardia. Don't get it. I basically felt like throwing up all the time regardless of if I had eaten or not. I didn't but I came close a few times. Nothing too exciting happened, but I was curious if I was about to become Mary 2.0 as morning sickness came up way too often in my googling. It's good now, cause it was just an anaerobic flagellated protozoan parasite hanging out in my small intestines. I'm not going to lie though. In a drunken state, I drank a large glass of water from a questionable source. That was probably the culprit.
(I mean, I crawled under a building and got covered in dog shit, but Gus practically cleaned his puppies with kisses.)
Now that I'm about to board the plane, let's discuss security. I have never felt so secure and questioned security so much in my life. I brought through bottles of water, nail files, random pieces of fruit, snacks and tons of other prohibited items on a regular basis. How did they miss all this? I'm pretty sure they didn't care. Although yesterday the finally confiscated the nail file that has been hiding in my backpack the last 40+ days. Good for them, I was planning on cutting a jugular at the vet office. I'll have to use my pen now and try for a stabbing move rather than slice.
(Made it into my final press conference with a beer.)
Additionally, crying seems to get you into places. Maybe it's because I'm of the fairer sex, but I totally fucked up at 1 event and had a ridiculous delay at another. Both times, a few tears and I was in. At another event, I managed to make it past security with out being checked for a ticket (I had one) and then somehow landed in a press conference that I absolutely was not supposed to be at. Then there was the time I ended up in the athlete area. Really? Just walking in seemed to be enough to convince people I belonged.
(A press conference that I'm not actually supposed to be at.)
Now for the part that makes this all relevant.
So if you haven't heard about Gus Kenworthy's puppy adoption efforts, then you aren't spending enough time on NS or around people in general. Even my mom knew about it. So these puppies you have been seeing everywhere, they used to live under the security tent to enter the Gorki (Mountain) Media Center.
(The people responsible for not getting Gus his puppies--YET. It's a work in progress.)
I'm fairly certain NBC is meant to break this story and that Ethan is writing a lovely tale about it. But all of that is probably going to leave out what I've gone through the last 2 weeks. In no way do I take claim or deserve any special award here, but shit, I crawled through shit--literally. After the spy op confiscation hired by the Austrian ambassador, we weren't sure where the last 2 puppies were. Somehow I volunteered to crawl under the security tent to see if the puppies were there. Gus wanted to go, but he was in jeans and a sweater. He tried later, decked out in my outerwear, but his shoulders were too wide; this was for the best. So into the hole I went. It was probably 50 feet long, around 14 to 18 inches tall, and the cement was covered in dog shit. It was raining, so it was watered down and flowing slightly. I used my arms to pull my way through. I thought that it would be the last of my favourite Armada Jacket and my brand new snow pants. To my surprise, I came out covered in shit, but dry. I spent 30 minutes washing it off with hand soap and taking a European shower. 3 hours later I was with my friends at Men's Halfpipe.
Aside from that, I've played mostly a secondary role. I've found them some Russian translators, offered to hotspot with my excessive data plan and have provided some comic relief in agreeing that everything in the world is always my fault.
(One of the places in Sochi I was not meant to see. We went to the Billionair pet shelter and the way there felt like a scene out of The Hills Have Eyes 8.)
I was meant to leave Sochi on the 26th. Had this happened, I would have left with nothing but positive feelings. I spent the evening of the 25th, sitting on the beach of the Black Sea with my new South African friend Kara. As we sat, I started to get text after text from Robin. He asked if I would stay till the 28th (the day my visa expired) to attempt to bring home the puppies. Having no work to go home to, I agreed.
(The puppy I fell in love with and wish I could adopt. She has a broken leg so she will be put down if someone doesn't take her FAST.)
(Mama and I. Before things went sour.)
(The war of the vets. Gus still has no puppies.)
Everything since has been a bit of a nightmare. I'll leave the details out for now since I'm not sure how the story will break, but I'm now on a flight to Istanbul, by myself, with no puppies. Robin is staying back in what seems to be a last hope effort. Gus has no puppies yet. The Sochi official Vet Clinic is a disgrace to animal lovers and I'm sickened by what happened today. I do realize there are dogs everywhere that need to be adopted and that there are many dogs in the US that also need adoption. I am in no position to take on a dog at this time, but I'm proud to say that everything that has gone on has inspired my mom and step-dad to adopt a new dog that resembles Chewbacca--finally a little dog that I like.
I could go on about events, but Ethan did a fantastic job with that. He still owes me a beer (sorry Ethan, I was trying to save puppies).
Flight boards in 10 minutes. I am far too excited to eat airplane food.