I have had to take early retirement because of a debilitating and permanent illness caused by my body's rejection of my medication. My main doctor teases me all the time that I could suffer from a credibility problem because I look so well and hearty, while sometimes being ravaged by my diabetes. But that is perhaps because I believe in living every single moment without taking anything for granted in order to fight its effects. My fearless personality said that I was not going to give in too easily!
Nearly three years ago, when I was feeling at my lowest, being near to coma levels some days, I went online to read about preparations for the Olympic Games and subscribed for regular news about it. Six months later, perhaps because of my keen interest, I got an email asking me to apply to be an Ambassador for the Games - unpaid: meeting, greeting and informing visitors to our lovely country. I wondered how on earth in my weak state I could even think about being an Ambassador, let alone have the energy to meet and greet. But then again, being spiritual, I always follow my instincts and decided that, ill or not, selection would not be for 12 months, so I was going to apply, and leave everything to my Universe and the gods.
Well, the gods delivered with a vengeance a year ago when I not only got selected to represent Britain as one of 'the Faces of the Games' (45,000 people applied!), but my doctors also found a possible combination of insulin to improve my quality of life. Things have improved a little, I am no longer as weak, and I have been on my training to be an Ambassador. We had been told in the strongest terms, what we could expect in the role, and it did NOT include free tickets to the Games or any associated events, in order to dissuade recruits with covert agendas. However, we would all be planting a tree labeled with our names for posterity as recognition for our work. But they obviously did not bargain on two other unexpected factors that would crop up.
Since I started travelling in my uniform to events, something odd has been happening. People are now smiling at me broadly while offering me their seats, especially if it's anywhere crowded. That's all I get nowadays LOTS of smiles, knowing looks, and offers of seats from people of every colour and creed. I wondered why that was happening, because, apart from my uniform, I was the same Elaine, going about my business n my own quiet way. But there is something so heartwarming about that reaction because it has slowly dawned on me that people are experiencing the Olympics by proxy - through me! They feel a part of it too by being near an Ambassador and just wanted to enjoy that moment. I am already feeling like a very special VIP and have never felt so humbled in my life as I do now. It's difficult to explain one's feelings on this.
The second unexpected things relates to the Opening Ceremony of the Games. Brits would do anything for a ticket. As Ambassadors, we would be working on that very busy day, so there was no question of being able to attend., even if we had bought our own tickets. But recently the Organisers thought of something.
The Technical Rehearsal of the Ceremony has always been done under closed doors to prevent the content being revealed before the day. But they have decided to invite only the London Ambassadors and the GamesMakers (those who help the officials and athletes behind the scenes) to attend it. We are not allowed to bring any one else with us, or reveal what we see, but I was gobsmacked when I was offered an invitation for July 23rd's rehearsal, four days from the official opening. That was the last thing I was expecting.
We will see the Opening Ceremony after all, and exclusively for us too. How awesome is that? :o)
I will have much to remember and to tell my grandchildren from my participation in these once in a lifetime Games. However, despite the hard work I will have to put in during the Olympic Games by the time they are finished (the reading for the info is phenomenal!!), I feel very privileged, indeed. :o)