First Day on the Job

Gord dropped me at the skytrain at 615am where I boarded the Waterfront line bound for the Olympic Village. It’s a great system, 2 cars per train, very clean with nice big windows to see the scenery, lots of standing room with bars to hang onto, and decent seating. Large tracts are outdoors so the views are terrific.

The Olympic Village stop is at False Creek just before the downtown core. The stations are modern, clean and busy enough to feel safe even late at night. Lots of police presence and they are friendly and helpful. I’ll be glad of this when I finish my evening shifts. A 15 minute walk gets me to the Village where I must remove my jacket, cell phone, keys and such to get through the scanners which are manned by friendly volunteers charged with protecting the Village and ensuring that the hundreds of volunteers get in and out efficiently each day. They operate 24/7 because of the number of volunteers coming and going on each of 3 shifts.

Once in the Village I check in at Workforce where I am greeted warmly, my badge is stamped , I am given a bottle of water, a lunch or dinner ticket, a newsletter and a cheery message to have a good shift. If I’m early I can go to the meal tent where there is always coffee, tea, hot chocolate, snacks and lots of other volunteers in their blue jackets and vest. I realize I will meet some very interesting people in this tent!

I’m greeted casually in the Polyclinic where a group of nurses, doctors and admins like me are invited to sit in for a report which is a scattered dialogue among a group of people getting to know each other and the work to be done. When we introduce ourselves, we realize people have come from far and wide to be here – and all volunteers – even clinic managers who have been working for months to get things ready.

I’m shown briefly how to use the computer where I will register patients for immediate appointments and schedule others in a booking system. It’s all fascinating and I get involved figuring it all out. The bad new is that its all pretty casual, seat-of-your-pants learning opportunities, the good news is that it is all pretty casual, no one takes themselves too seriously, there’s always someone to help out and we all settle into the day’s work. I’m going to enjoy this!

First day in Vancouver – We’re keen to check it all out

We arrived in Vancouver last night at dinner time. A clear and beautiful day woke us early. The time change – Vancouver is on Pacific time which is 3 hours earlier than Eastern Standard time – sent us to bed earlier than usual and up, ready to go early to see what’s happening here. It was sunny in Vancouver which is a rare and wonderful event. The temperature reached 11C. We watched the snow-capped mountains in the distance as we motored up to Vancouver in Karen’s Honda Civic. Traffic is light on a sunny Saturday – lots of locals on bikes and walking – all basking in the sunshine in their light fleece jackets and shirtsleeves! What a difference from Toronto in February.

The city is alive with anticipation. Continue reading “First day in Vancouver – We’re keen to check it all out”

Preparing to leave Toronto for Vancouver…..

Countdown to leaving Toronto is D-3 and the reality of getting away for a month is beginning to hit home. There’s lots of talk in the papers, on TV and the web about Vancouver and how they are getting ready to greet the world – beautiful shots of beautiful Vancouver. It looks very exciting out there!

And for me, some wakeful nights – its now 3am! – as we prepare to leave home for a longer period than ever before – to date our holidays have – at most – been one or occasionally two weeks away. So the questions loom large in the middle of the night. Have I remembered to do everything I need to do to prepare to be away from home for a month? Will I be finished all my contracts and projects so that I have the freedom to put myself fully into the volunteer work I have promised to do in Vancouver? Will I be able to catch onto the job of Admin Assistant in the Village Polyclinic quickly enough to feel competent? How hard will it be to get to the polyclinic in the Olympic Village from where we are staying in Ladner? How long will it take? What happens when I arrive at the Ladner Exchange on the bus at 1am – perhaps exhausted after a full shift and long commute – and need to get to the house two kilometers away?

This is all both exciting – a very new and different experience – and scary, as the unknown always is.