On the 21st of January, the morning I was about to take my flight from Milano to Natal, Brazil, I woke up crying and scared, not wanting to get out of my bed (or out of the country for that matter). Scared shitless is the best term to describe the feeling (pardon my French).
On the 25th of August, this morning, I woke up one hour before the alarm was set to go off, excited to be flying back to Brazil.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my journey so far is that people change, if they want to.
I have changed. A lot. And I love the process and the results. I love who I have become and I know this is not the end of my journey.
It’s been months since I last felt the need to write on my blog. Some days I felt guilt. Like having given up on a friend or something. Then I reminded myself that I am only doing this for myself (don’t take it personally) and it felt ok again. Let reality be reality, right? It is sometimes so easy to forget that and fall back in the trap of trying too hard to change things we by definition cannot change. We cannot change how other people treat us, or how they feel or act. We cannot make people love us or care for us. We cannot change weather or nature in any way. But. We can choose to stay positive, think positive and be surrounded by people that share the same attitude towards life. We can choose to be independently happy regardless of the things that happen outside of our Self. While writing this, I smile. I know there are days I really don’t feel like this and I feel my World is coming to an end just because. But, thankfully, the good days are more than the bad ones and although I may sometimes fail to walk the walk or talk the talk, I know what is My right and My wrong.
Wow. Deep stuff and it’s only the first paragraph!
So, these past months were mostly spent with family, in Canada and in Greece. I went to Canada for 3 weeks and ended up staying 3 months. Story of my life (lately). The best thing about this trip was that I was reunited with my family there. I realized I would have loved to have them in my life sooner, but I was grateful for at least having the chance to meet them again now. Timing is huge. Timing can make or break almost everything. Same here, I guess.
I stayed at my cousin’s (Tom’s) house, just over an hour away from Toronto, together with his two housemates, Brittany and Fahad. I’d never shared a house with anyone before. At least not anyone that was not my immediate family or partner. At first it felt strange. I didn’t know whether we were supposed to have dinner all together every evening, or spend time together or continue with our lives independently. I took some time to see how things worked out in the house, the balances between us and I somehow managed to fit in, I think. Looking back, I was kind of the mother figure in the house (and it’s not an age thing!). I guess working from home helped, not to mention I was up around 6am every day and going to bed at 11pm when the rest would almost do it the other way around – go to bed at the early hours and wake up late.
Brittany is Tom’s best friend. She is a very interesting young woman who has a story to tell. She has been suffering from ALS, which I have to admit, I knew nothing about. At first I didn’t know what to do, what to say or not to say or how to act. I was very careful to not be offensive or misunderstood, but Brit made it so easy to be around her as she was always open to talk about anything and everything and always answered any questions I might have had. It was such an eye opener for me to live and share some of my days with a woman like her; a woman who used to be a (damn good) hairdresser and who now does not have full command of her hands and body. I don’t feel I should get into this right now, suffice to say Brittany has left her mark in my life forever.
And there was also Fahad. Fahad is a young guy studying in Toronto, splitting his time between studying, partying and hanging out with his friends. A true student! I never got to live the student life myself, but I think this was as close as I could get to having a glimpse of how it can be. What a guy! He would either be immersed in his books for days in a row, or be out partying. I was so intrigued to find out more about his culture, a culture I have yet to discover for myself. Islam. So, whenever I got to steal some of his time, our conversations could well take a few hours. After seeing that he was always willing to satisfy my curiosity and answered even the spiciest of questions I might have, I took full advantage of it and fired away! We may not have spent too much time together, but it was definitely time well spent.
It was great to be around people that were so open to talk about everything, no taboos, no hesitations. Pure, open and honest conversations. And although I didn’t get to meet too many Canadians, I have to admit that one thing I found common in most of them was exactly that. They would talk about anything, openly and freely – even to a stranger they just met.
My time in Canada was mostly spent at home. Coming from Jericoacoara, I found it had been so easy to have forgotten things like rush hour, commuting, dating apps… Yeap. I left my little Jericoacoara and landed in a cosmopolitan city like Toronto in my flip-flops, sunkissed, still with sand in my luggage. From a 3’ walk to a barefoot dancing party every night, to having to commute for 1,5 hour (one way) if I was lucky enough to find someone that would have or would want to spend their time with a stranger. So, I ‘tindered away’, in search of company, to meet people and go out a bit. My first impression was that in Canada, Tinder is 80% about sex (my assumption of the percentage). I ended up giving up after a couple of weeks as it really felt pointless. People would start a talk, then forget to respond for days, then show up out of nowhere. I now know what “random dick-pics” means (the useless info of the month, yet still an info). I now know what “dating” means in North America as opposed to what I had in my mind coming from Europe. At times I felt so intensely like an outsider, like I was coming from another world, trying to understand things that until then I thought had only one meaning. It’s too much to write at this point, but I know I will refer to my months in Canada again and again.
Another great thing about my stay in Canada was the time I got to spend with my Auntie and her daughter, and with my other cousin (Ivona). The hours I spent with each one of them talking about the past, the now, the future, life, what is good what is not, what is fair and what not… about men & love, about fears, hopes and dreams… about disappointments, failures, criticism, loneliness, freedom. It was all so personal, so deep and so emotional..
I was given so much unconditional love. These women, opened their arms for me, opened their hearts and gave me the chance to do the same without being judged or criticized. Writing about it now, I realize it still warms up my heart, even the thought of them. They are the perfect example of strong women, full of weaknesses. Women that have been through a lot, but have not given up and keep fighting every-single-day. The conversations we had and the days we spent together will accompany me for a long, long time. They all left a mark on me, shaping my personality and perception of life.
I changed in Canada. In so many ways. I went there eager to get lean and lose all the few extra kilos I put on in Brazil mostly due to living the lazy beach life and giving in to caipirinhas and ice creams. To cut a long story short (although I feel I will write about it at some point in detail) I ended up leaving Canada +6 kilos, the heaviest I have ever been in my life. I realized that the lack of a social life, not being able to be close and spend time with real people (of course there’s the Internet, for which I am thankful, yet nothing can replace the human touch) and my lack of willingness to go the extra mile (or ten) to train at a box with other CrossFitters got me to feeling depressed. I gave up on my nutrition and fitness goals. I punished my body by either starving it or drowning it in sugar and junk food. I saw my body changing within a matter of a couple of weeks and it scared me. It was extremely hard to get out of this bottom low self-esteem levels, hard to believe better days would come, hard to believe it was just a bad period in my life that would not last forever. I was so ashamed of having become that chubby person, of being unable to control my cravings and for being able to eat 3 bagels, 2 big Ben & Jerry’s, 3 protein bars (leftovers from my fitness days) and 3 cans of soda in the same day, on top of my regular breakfast, lunch and dinner without even feeling sick about it. But it can work both ways, right? Maybe not as fast, but it definitely can.
At some point I was looking forward to leaving Canada, I was counting the days only because I felt that a change in environment would bring the change in me again. Thankfully, that is what happened. I flew to Greece via Milano, where I spent one day with my friends from CrossFit Darsena (Sasha and Gianluca). This one day of transition shook me up. Living again albeit for 24 hours with true CrossFitters woke me up. Sasha pushed me to start thinking positive, to start training again, eat clean, sleep more, take good care of my body. It was my countdown to going back to Brazil, back to my friends in Fortaleza and to my little personal paradise in Jericoacoara. One month was to be spent in Greece and Italy, and I wanted to make it up to myself for all the shit I’d put my body through.
As soon as I landed in Athens, I traveled almost 300km to spend my first 3 days in Greece with Angeliki, my soulmate and best friend, the woman that has heard, put up with it all and still loves me unconditionally. A friend I am blessed to have and will never tire of saying how grateful I am and how lucky I was that on that morning at school back in 199-something we ended up sitting side-by-side at school. I love you.
She had followed my downfall every step of the way through Skype when I was in Canada, always there to hear me out, support me and always trying to be positive. Spending time with her and her family was the best intro I could ask for my time in Greece. It seemed that things had taken a turn and the Universe was helping me get on the road to being fit again. The first CrossFit box in Kalamata was officially open, and I was out of excuses. I actually didn’t need any anymore. I loved getting my ass kicked for the first time after months and went back for more on day #2. I’d missed feeling sore!
Apparently, when you set your mind to the ‘fuck-this-I-will-be-happy’ mode and you fake it till you make it, there comes a day when you no longer fake it. And it feels so good!
It’s been too long since I last wrote and there are things to say, but this is getting too long for one post.
To be continued, very soon.