New Year, new friends, new beginning!

Make yourself some coffee, or tea, and get comfy. This will take a while.

You see, it’s been over a month now that I am living in Milano and in a couple of weeks I will jump over to Brazil, which is quite the jump, I must say. So, before any urgent assignments hit me and take up all my time, before I start stressing too much (panicking even?) about what I am about to do, I think it is time to start closing this chapter – what a chapter indeed.

I can’t pretend my last blogpost never happened, I just prefer to ignore it or, just keep going. Can’t put in words how much love I have been given from the people I least expected it from. The messages, the calls and emails, the encouragement, the positive vibes, the best songs to listen and the songs to avoid, the hugs, live hugs, e-hugs.. the list of beautiful things 2016 brought to my life is, thankfully, long.

First and most important, a new perspective. After all, the winds of change blow all the time, all you need to do is raise your sails, right? I may not know a lot about sailing (yet) but I’ve raised those damn sails already and it’s hella windy out here!

These past two weeks I’ve spent a lot of quality time with the CrossFit community. Met new people, friends of friends, who became friends too. People that opened up to me and let me open up to them. People that spent their Christmas day, their days off from work, their first moments of this new year with me. Inspiring, strong, motivating guys and gals who managed to get me out of the negativity that was soaking me up – some of them without even knowing.

So this year started in an amazing way. At a box. Luigi’s and Licia’s box. CrossFit Lambrate. Because a box is an empty space without its people; and this couple, L&L, are the heart and soul of CrossFit Lambrate. After spending Christmas Day at their box and being treated with delicious Italian food at their house, I was again invited to spend New Year’s Eve, but also New Year’s Day with them.

Given that I knew about the NYE wod and party in advance, I arranged to rent a car to be able to move around the city without caring about public transportation (or the lack thereof). So on the morning of Thursday the 31st I picked up my little Fiat 500. Four days of driving around! Or so I thought, cause much of my time was spent in  bed J  😉

Oh, I’ve missed driving. Last time I drove was in Rotterdam over 2 months ago and again only for a few days. Driving for me is freedom. Always has been. A few years back, when I was still living in Greece, I’d take Gregory (that was my car’s name) and go on evening rides after work, just to enjoy the ride, without a specific purpose, reach the sea listening to my favorite songs, drinking a coffee (oh, and back then I also smoked cigarettes, yeap, so put that stinky thing in the picture too). I’d always drive by the sea. I had a couple of favorite spots, the one close to Sounio and the other at the Piraeus port, where I would just park and enjoy the tranquility of the sea, the breeze, the moonlight reflecting on the dark waters and the music… I’ve missed that. You probably noticed, I sidetracked quite a bit here J

So back to the point. I got me a car as I knew that Lambrate might be hard to get to using public transportation. So I went to Licia’s to help out with the food preparations quite early. It was kitchen time for a few hours for us, so there had to be wine and there had to be girl-talk. The conversations I have had with my new friends are priceless. Seems that in the company of good friends the most important topics in life are so much easier to bring up, especially when accompanied with a glass of wine. I cherish all those long conversations I’ve had with all the persons that have hosted me, even if for a night.

About 25 people showed up at the box around 8pm coming from various boxes and parts of Italy, even from CrossFit Lugano, ‘dressed up’ in their favorite gym t-shirt, chatting and mingling, trying to guess the midnight wod and just having a good time. We were laughing with the girls in the changing room about how our moms would react if they’d see us getting dressed for this New Year’s Eve. How unconventional, hehe!

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In the spirit of the season, but also in the spirit of CrossFit all year long, some boxes in Italy are running a fundraiser to support a 13yo girl whose father, a CrossFitter, was killed in a car accident just before Christmas, raising money to add to a fund under her name, which she will be able to use when she’s 18 for her studies. CrossFit Lambrate has been raising money since Christmas for this purpose and it was so nice to see that everyone there was so keen to contribute.

We played tombola as part of this charity, and it was good fun! Each time someone would get 3, 4 and then 5 numbers in the same row, they would get to throw the crossfit dice and the rest of us would do the exercises on the dice for as many times as the dice ordered! So we started with 21 TTB, then 21 push-ups and 21 burpees. Seems that 21 is the number of the year 🙂

This was our ‘warm-up’ just to get us ready for the last wod of the year – in teams of 3 for time:

Cash In: 31 Squats, 12 Burpees

2 rounds per person: 20 WallBalls, 15 DL

1 round per person: 20 sit-ups, 16 power clean

Cash out: 1 round of Cindy and 1k row

It was harder than it looks… but it was the best way to close the year! We all finished by 23:45 so we had a few moments to clean up the mess and get the champagne ready for midnight. The fridge was full of wine, champagne and beer, and the table was packed with food and goodies! So much food… I’m still eating leftovers from New Year’s!

The party ended after 3 and we went to L&L’s house, where I spent my first night for 2016, in bed with Ercole, one of the 3 dogs of the house. What a symphony of snoring hehe! I was the quietest one in the room, but loved every single minute of the hours they kept me up, haha! I love dogs (and cats, but still I’m a dog person), and I’ve missed me some dog-cuddling 🙂 (Yes, there’s 3 in the picture, have a closer look! – my boy is on the left)

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Lying in bed with Ercole, I realized how blessed I am to be embraced with so much love by people that hardly know me but chose to open their hearts and homes and let me in; to trust me with their stories; to show me their feelings and fears; have deep conversations with me, allowing me to be myself and accepting me for who I am. It only strengthens my belief in that people are ‘by default’ good. Yes, I know it’s not always the case, I know I may be too romantic and some might even think that I live in a bubble, but, trust me, it’s a nice bubble to live in, cause it’s more real that all the fears and premonitions we keep feeding ourselves with that stop us from enjoying every day of our lives.

The greatest thing about this reality is that it makes you want to give back the love, the trust and help the people that come your way. It’s kind of addictive. I’m starting to see the beauty in the small things, in people watching, in a good workout, in a coffee with a friend, or a glass of wine on my own. Being grateful and appreciative only draws more positive energy and great people around us, I know that now and I am not going back to where I was. Feels like I’ve taken the ‘happy pill’ and now I am addicted!

There were too many pictures to post in here, so I made my first attempt to making a video of those moments. I am not famous for my computer skills, but I did my best. Promise to keep getting better J

I even have my BoxTrotter YouTube channel now (a big thank you to Velvet and Licia for your help and the eye-opening conversations!) so I will be posting more videos of the small moments of my adventure. Stay tuned 🙂

All in all, it was the best ending to 2015 that I could’ve wished for and the best start to 2016. Some say that what you do on New Year’s Eve will be what you’ll be doing for the rest of the year. So, I guess I will be having loads of fun with amazing people and training my bum to be the best and strongest version of myself. Spread the love and be loved; be surrounded by like-minded people; positive, optimistic and motivating individuals that never give up. That is the only way forward from now on!

 

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