The Athletes are arriving - Yeah!

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February 1st 2018
Published: February 1st 2018
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Campus map.Campus map.Campus map.

Our dorm is #15, the hockey arena is #2.
I want to explain how we get to live at a university dormitory for such a long time. The Koreans have January and February off, so there are thousands of volunteers occupying 3 universities. Living in a dormitory has it's challenges though: dormitory etiquette, food, and transportation. My roommate Sabria & I changed rooms because we were with 2 Russian women that liked to stay up late. Now we are with Stephanie from China & things are much better. Unfortunately there's no lobby or area to hang out & talk, so people end up talking in the halls.

And then there's the food. We used to get our food here with a paper meal ticket. Well, they changed that. Now we have to sign up on a website by 18:00 for the next day. This caught many of us (me included) off guard and we weren't ready this morning. And the food is worse now than it was before. At least before we had choices and they put out cereal. Today was only kimchee dumpling soup. I didn't eat it and luckily I had some peanut butter and crackers.

And now the transportation. There was a bus schedule for pickup & dropoff at the village we work at. Then they changed the schedule, and it actually became better: frequent buses all day with a small gap in the middle of the day. But somehow they underestimated the number of buses and there wasn't enough room for all the volunteers. And then they changed the location. The pickup used to be very close but it was changed to a place a 25 minute walk away. So if I have to be at work by 9:00 that means I take the 7:45 bus. With a 25 minute walk I don't have time for breakfast. So much complaining on the chat room (more about this later in this blog entry), and they kept the location the same - FOR A FEW DAYS! The issue is that February 1 marked the day of more security and one of the hockey venues is very close to where we live, so we are in that security bubble.

And then there's messages, chatrooms, & Facebook (FB). There is a daily update that is sent via email at 1:30 a.m. I found out this morning about the food & bus changes after I had gotten up early to take that 25 minute walk to the other bus stop. I was happy I didn't have to do it though. There is a Kakao Talk Chatroom for communication. It drives me nuts! People put all kinds of stupid comments on it and it's supposed to be for official business for the NOC volunteers. There are getting stricter with the rules & are removing people that are not going by the rules. My roommates & I have our group, my work group for Team USA is another group, we have some friends we like to hang out with & that is another group. You get my drift - it's alot to keep track of. Also I also belong to 3 PyeongChang groups on FB. So much to keep track of.

January 29

Sabria has not started working with her Team yet (France) so we had the day off together. We did laundry (which is interesting because the instructions are in Korean!), got caught up with internet stuff, and walked into town. We found an area that had rebuilt guest houses (the originals were from 900's), and also found pizza places, a French bakery, a coffee & waffle place. We walked across the river into downtown area, walked around some shops & came home.

January 30

Back to work. We had a staff meeting and each person for USOC discussed the status of things and what needed to be done (The staff are: Lynn, Nicki, Amanda, Scott, Brian, Justin). Then the Chef de Mission (Lynn, basically the boss) treated us NOC assistants to lunch. The athlete's dining hall has fabulous food compared to the "workforce" dining hall. The workforce consist of NOC assistants, security, & a bunch of other people.

We checked all the athletes rooms for: furniture, pillows, bedspreads, blankets, lamps, pin boxes (collecting pins is a really big deal), towels, gift backpack and mascots, clothes hangers, kitchen table & chairs. We also put up more Fatheads (it's a weird word for banners but the company is Fathead) and posters. We made a list of broken and missing items & reported them. Teams are putting up flags outside their rooms. Team USA will not be putting up banners due to security issues. You can interpret that any way you want. (Tristan - homework assignment: The building Team USA will occupy has 15 floors. Floors 3 to 15 and half of floor 2 are where they will live. Each floor (except for 2nd floor) has 2 apartments: right and left. The right apartment has 5 rooms: 3 doubles (2 people) and 2 singles (1 person). The left apartment has 4 rooms: 3 doubles and 1 single. The apartment on the 2nd floor is on the right. How many athletes could we accommodate if every bed was full? The number you get is not the actual number of athletes that will be here.)

We discovered an app for a Pin Quest game. It is like Pokemon. The pins are in the olympic village & we have to find the pin location. When we find the pin, a question pops up & we have to answer the question correctly to get the pin. We can turn in our virtual collection to get actual pins! All the questions pertain to olympics history & facts about Korea. We are walking around the village like Pokemon zombies. But - bad news! The game is for athletes, so I can't get the actual pins.

Jan 31

Today I helped Medical unpack their stuff. I put together shelves, and help organize supplies. They handed me a bunch of Fatheads and told me to arrange them any way I wanted. We are trying to get things fixed because the athletes start arriving on Feb. 1st. Sometimes it difficult because the answer is always "tomorrow". No - we need it fixed today (like the leaking toilet, the broken bathroom door, etc.) Out of the 5 NOC assistants - 3 speak Korean and the 4th speaks some Korean, so they help get things done.

We looked at the lunar eclipse that evening. It was cloudy so the moon looked fuzzy. The moon was really difficult to find when it was fully eclipsed around 22:24.

Feb 1

The flags were put up for the Village Opening Ceremony. Unfortunately I didn't see it because we had work to do. Each NOC team (a team is assigned to a delegation for each country competing) assigns a Focal Point. That person goes to a meeting every day and they discuss whatever is going on with the NOC assistants. Georgena is our Focal Point but she felt sick & went home today, so I went to the Focal Point meeting. Guess what the hot discussions items were? The food, the buses, the security checkpoint (We go through a security checkpoint every time we enter the village. We have to have empty water bottles, and some people couldn't bring their medicine in.), delaminating accreditation badges, security near our building (it's random, sometimes you need your badge & sometimes not). Then we had another USOC staff meeting. They described the procedure for meeting & bringing the athletes in, and how the luggage gets xrayed and delivered to the building & then delivered to their rooms.

I have been thinking about events I want to see. I bought a ticket to the Women's Bobsled because I want to see the Nigerian team. I also bought a ticket to the pairs figure skating practice session. The USOC staff is really good about letting us go to events and working our schedule around events we want to go to. I've been trying to get a ticket for a women's hockey game, but I haven't been successful yet. There is a resale area on the website and I check it every night (Great! Another thing to monitor along with a zillion chat rooms, gmail, & FB.)

Things will start getting exciting in the next couple days. Till next time.


Additional photos below
Photos: 42, Displayed: 27


Sabria with helicopter.Sabria with helicopter.
Sabria with helicopter.

I have no idea why there is a military helicopter on campus.
How cold is it?How cold is it?
How cold is it?

It's been minus 5 F.
Athlete Resource Center (ARC).Athlete Resource Center (ARC).
Athlete Resource Center (ARC).

This is an area where the athletes can relax.

1st February 2018

Sounds busy!
Thanks for the update. It's so interesting how the Olympics work behind the scenes. It's a viewpoint that we don't get too often. Hope you get to the events you want to see. And yes: social media is a definite mixed blessing. Have a good time! Keep the updates coming. They're very interesting. TTFN.

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