After spending some beautiful days and finally getting to know my goddaughter (uber-gorgeous) a few months ago, I took a train and left to Holland for a great time. No matter where and how long I had been travelling, the printout I talked about during my previous post, was most of the time with me. It is no identification or ticket, but a personal link to the XXIX. Summer Olympic Games in London – more information to come.
Talking about Summer Olympics reminds me of the time between the closing ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and the day a dream would come true in Summer 2008. Four years might seem like a long long period of time to prepare for my dream to be part of Summer Olympics, even as a spectator. Alas, it was not.
I began a professional apprenticeship in retail trade in September 2004, not knowing what surprises life would held up for me, but more than keen to find out. I started to earn my own money, went to bars and clubs, bought a few things I could afford and some I couldn’t, moved out of my parents’ place into a flat I shared with a good friend without having even a bed to sleep on for the first month. I went to more concerts in 2005 than I had gone the 18 years before altogether. I was living life like if there was no tomorrow, albeit there was. Nonetheless, I knew I would be able to safe money for Beijing 2008. Before I noticed, however, Summer 2005 had arrived, I had not saved a pence and had less than three years to go.
More months passed by, my sales skills improved month after month as well as my lust for living. I spent an awesome New Years Eve in Prague at -15°C degrees and flew to Paris in early 2006 for sightseeing, enjoying time without thinking too much of costs. The long awaited World Cup took place in Germany and the best Summer which I have had until then was knocking my door. The father of my lovely goddaughter (not born yet at that time) was living nearby back then and we had a great time with cheers and tears for the German team while being part of the “Sommermärchen” (Summer fairy tale). More unique memories I would never forget and still not a pound on my savings account, despite telling everybody I would fly to China in less than two years’ time.
Time flew by and before I knew it, I celebrated my 20th birthday in Madrid with family and friends, finished my apprenticeship, started to earn real money and flew to Canary Islands for more holidays. 2007 promised to be my best year again and it was. Within one month (Mid June – Mid July) I did not only drive to Zandvoort with a friend for the Mini United Festival (more Mini Coopers than you can count!) but also went to the biggest concert I have ever visited: Live Earth on July 07th 2007 gathering more than 10 artists in Hamburg and over 60 all around the world on an all day concert to create awareness regarding climate change and its effects. It was during that awesome Summer that I got the news I did want to get, but was not expecting that soon: The ticket selling for Beijing Summer Olympics had started!
Taking into consideration, that ’8′ is the magic number in China I remember eight milestones on my Route to Beijing
1. You can’t always get what you want
Due to reasons I still not understand (probably the great number of expected spectators) the organizing committee decided to sell the Games Tickets using a lottery system, which means I was able to apply for all competitions I wanted to go, but was forced to wait for the outcome, not knowing if I would be able to see all, half or none of the events I applied for. Therefore, I studied the schedule carefully to see which tickets I wanted to get and applied for XX different events including the opening and the closing ceremony. Once I had finally managed to sent my requests via fax I could only wait…
2. Wait and be prepared to pay
Damn, did I really read that? As soon as I would get the confirmation of the tickets (whichever) I had to pay within a fortnight the amount due?! I doublechecked the tickets and calculated the total sum I had to save before the lovely day I would get an confirmation and invoice. Today, tomorrow, a week later or probably in two months just after paying the monthly rent to my landlord. I had to save money, I had to save much money, and I had to do it now. As you might be able to imagine, I did not *smiling*
3. Tell your boss you will go on vacation – do not ask for permission
I was preparing this step since I had a new boss in February 2007. I kept telling him I would go on vacation to Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008 and I did not know for sure how long I would need it. Yes, it would be during the main holiday time when staff members with children have high priority. No, I would not care about it. No, you better do not ask me what happens if I don’t get that vacation. Yes, I am serious.
4. Paying tickets I did not remember ordering and making a painful decision
It must have been November 2008 when the invoice for the tickets finally came along the information of the tickets I was able to get. Apart from not getting either opening nor closing ceremony tickets (I was put on the waiting list) I got tickets I did not remember ordering. Nonetheless, I was just happy to be able to go and paid my invoice within the stipulated time. I was granted a total of seven tickets. As for the waiting list, I was told it could last until Spring before I would be able to get an confirmation or decline. As all events but the opening ceremony were close in time to each other, I decided to drop off that list in order to book my flight. Maybe I would be able to see the opening ceremony in London 2012, I said to myself.
Half said, half done. There was much more I went through, but as I haven’t written in such a long time again, I guess I will split in order to put the other four milestones on my next post.
All the best,