The morning of my 29th birthday I woke up thinking about what I wanted to accomplish during my last year of my twenties. I spent my morning thinking about how amazing the decade of my twenties had been. I had the great blessing to see and experience the world. I thought about the sites I had seen, the people I had met and the humanity and love I had witnessed.
In the last 8 years alone I had visited 34 countries, 4 continents, lived abroad twice and visited numerous cities. This allowed me to meet my lifetime goal of visiting 30 countries before I turned 30, but more importantly it helped me find myself.
With a since of thankfulness and accomplishment I spent the morning of my 29th birthday reflecting on these adventures, and thinking about how much I had grown and experienced. I also wondered what the year 29 would have in store for my future.
How could I possibly put a cap to the top of such a perfect decade of exploration and travel? What could possibly make it all come together to culminate in absolute perfection? What would be my next step?
About this time, I got a message from my friend in Rio. He wished me a happy birthday and said I should come visit him for the Olympics. And that was it. That was what I needed. Attending the Olympics, the international Mecca of global cooperation and peace, was the perfect way to punctuate a decade of travel. And I simply said to myself “Why not?” Visiting the Olympics had always been my life dream.
I had spent most of my youth obsessing about the Olympics. I watched the athletes compete with suspenseful reverence. I cheered for the Americans, but I also loved hearing about and cheering for the underdogs from Romania or Croatia or wherever. I looked forward to hearing the humanitarian pieces and human interest stories. I was enthralled with the history and culture of the host cities and how the entire world could come together to compete for two weeks. I cried whenever an athlete (especially an American, but really any athlete) won a gold medal and got the honor of hearing their national anthem ring out loud and clear for all to hear.
But most of all, I looked forward to, I obsessed over, I yearned for and I watched and re-watched the Opening Ceremony. This is what I would hungrily await to see every 4 years. The Opening Ceremony is the dream, it is the most exciting and important and essential part of the games.
So, when I was invited to visit my friend in Rio this summer for the Olympics I did not hesitate. I immediately went online and purchased two Tickets to the Opening Ceremony. And just like that I was going, when just an hour before the idea had not even been on my radar. But, suddenly I had purchased my tickets and I was on my way to fulfill a life long dream- to attend an Olympic Opening Ceremony. This would be my Olympic moment, my Olympic Story!
However, no good Olympic Story is complete without some drama. It turns out that the tickets I purchased in October for a 29th birthday to myself where fake. I should have realized something was fishy when the credit card sale was through an office in India. The website looked like the official site, but it turns out it was one hyphen away from the official Olympic ticket office. Now looking back on this, it was so obvious. Even my 7th grade students knew the tickets were fake. In my heart I think I did too. I mean, come on-I bought them from a random guy in India named Sam and I was supposed to pick them up at his “booth” in Rio before the event.
Looking back now it is comical. A typical Kelly Story. I am such a hoosier! So trusting. So honest. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would rather see the good in the world instead of being a skeptic. Why would anyone sell fake tickets? I just didn’t want to be so distrusting of the world. I wanted so badly for them to be real, that I believed they were real. And so I told myself, the tickets could be real. And honestly it was worth the risk. So I planned my trip with confidence and fervor. Only secretly wondering if the tickets were real.
However, When I arrived I realized that the “booth” did not exist and I had been scammed. I realized that I would not get these tickets and I had lost my money. I felt foolish for being so trusting and naive.
However foolish I may be, I am also determined. I decided I had to try again. I used a European resale site and bought ANOTHER two tickets to the ceremony completely draining my savings. This site promised they would mail the tickets to my location in Rio by August 1st. Yet, on August 1st, they did not arrive. Instead I got word, through Fedex tracking, that they were still in France and would not be here until Friday the 5th….at 6:00 pm. The ceremony is the 5th at 5:00 pm, and it will take a few hours to get there.
So, I am still waiting to see if they arrive. As of today they are in Memphis Tennessee ready to be shipped to Rio….. who unfortunately will be on a bank Holiday for the next two days. So, the odds are stacked against me, but I have faith that everything will work out. I will keep praying and I know that God can pull this together. Things always work out for the best! And all I can do is trust and pray that the tickets arrive in time! Keep tuned in to see if they arrive by tomorrow afternoon!
They next time I write, I should be able to tell you what it is like to attend an Olympic Opening Ceremony live in the flesh! ……….OR……… I should be able to tell you what it is like to watch an Olympic Opening Ceremony on a TV next to where it is happening live. Either way, God is good and I am blessed to be in Rio! And right now I am off to find the local Fedex site and try, through broken Spanish and Portuguese to figure out where in the world my tickets are! Wish me luck and say a prayer!
Find out how it turns out at Fillingmymap.com or WIBC.com