At last, a man in my life like no other!

My plans were different, so were my expectations. It’s been a while since I last wrote here, but it’s not because there was nothing to write about. 
Work got in the way. Also, trying to keep in contact with the people that left a mark in my life in the past months and trying to take care of my self, were first on my to-do list, thus limiting my time to write. 
But, today I have to leave everything aside and write. Now that the emotions are still raw and intense. These are the moments I enjoy writing the most. Right from the heart, without a second thought.
I will skip all the details of getting to Canada (which will make up for a whole post in themselves). Canada is treating me very well. Spring weather, reuniting with family members and making new friends, a bit of shopping, good coffee and healthy food. 
But. If there is one thing this trip has given me is my getting to know and coming closer to my cousin, Tom. Yes, that handsome man in police uniform whose picture I posted on Instagram the other day. My host and personal trainer while in Canada. My cousin.
There’s so many things I could say about him and his kindness and about the way I see him treat people, but that is all very personal and I am not sure I should be exposing other people’s lives, no matter how inspiring and how much I look up to them, so I will only talk about myself. 
I did not grow up in an ideal family, far from that, actually. My parents divorced when I was around 3 years old and I never remember living in the same house with mum and dad during my lifetime. Me and my sister lived with mum and rarely saw our father – I guess everyone has a piece of the ‘blame-pie’ for that. 
You could say I grew up in an all-female house. Although my mother has a partner for the past 30 or so years, he never felt like a father figure to me; neither did any of my uncles (not close emotionally to anyone of them and the ones I felt closer to were very far in terms of distance). Oh, and no grandpas alive either. It’s always been my mom, her mom and my sis in the house. 
My embarking on this journey of mine was by no means a long-vacation or party time. I now know that a series of events led to it, such as poor relationships which left my heart broken and my dreams shattered, and many personal issues I am still working on. Still, every step I’ve taken in the past 8 months has brought me closer to who I am today, to this better version of myself (according to my own interpretation of the word), to a happier Ιωάννα, Ioanna, E, Jo, Io, Gianna, Anna, Joane, Johana, Joana or however I’ve been called in the past months. It sometimes feels like each one of the names I’ve been given marks a distinct period in my life. It actually does, now that I think about it… Very much so.
So, Joane or Ioanna, the woman I left behind in October 2015 in the Netherlands, found the strength in her CrossFit family, in UnScared CrossFit (which now appears to not have been so randomly selected given its name, and which I think I sometimes value more than many) to stand up on her own two feet, leave everything behind, go contrary to what she was brought up to believe is possible or allowed, and go look for something that was yet to be clearly specified. 
I have been openhandedly given so much love that has at times been overwhelming. In Hamburg, Goch, Thessaloniki, Kalamata, Milano, Fortaleza and Natal I have always been around ‘family’ and felt emotionally supported and safe. 
Jericoacoara changed my reality. It was the first time I was all alone, no CrossFit, no one to welcome me. And stressing as it would seem at first, it felt incredibly good in the end. I went through several stages of soul-searching, ups and downs and… Oh well, you know most of that, I haven’t stopped talking about or thinking of Jericoacoara for a day! 
And now here I am, in Canada, visiting my actual flesh and blood family, living with my cousin, Tom, his best friend and another housemate under the same roof. In the luxury of a big house in the suburbs, still living my life without too much intervention by the family, a fact that feels so healthy (as opposed to family members insisting you spend your entire time with them when visiting) and makes me want to see them even more and stay with them longer!
All this is great and heartwarming. But. It would not mean much and would not have had such an impact on me, were it not for Tom.
The only purpose of my long introduction is to give to those who don’t know me a background of my life. There’s no other way for someone who doesn’t know me to understand what I’m feeling right now.
At last, I found in this broken family of ours a male role-model. 
A man to look up to and respect. 
A man whose opinion and advice I value.
A man I feel I can turn to anytime, who won’t betray me and will be genuine, honest and take into account only my best interest.
A man that inspires me to value and respect myself more.
A man who makes me feel that someone’s got my back, without expecting anything in return. 
A man whom my next boyfriend will have to live up to (oh, boy…)
A man I am proud to call my cousin.
There is, afterall, some pretty special DNA in our family. 
Damn, I’m one lucky woman!

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