Back to basics, but that’s the least of my worries

because I can’t wipe this smile off my face.

No Pinocchio because I’m not lying

Tornino instructor is here to stay!

I forced myself to go to class today. Between exams and life getting (beautifully) busy, I had little-to-no energy left to make it to 8:30 p.m. The cheese and wine tasting I had earlier in the day was still deciding what it wanted to do in my stomach. After a long battle with the Italian internet gods in the past three months, I reticently had to return to  the evil Vodafone Internet suppressors to top-up my  phone. There were eggs to be bought from the school’s CSA (they call it GAS, which I prefer because it’s the fuel that keeps on giving back – no? Yes? Anyways, pun intended). Daal needed boiling so I could bring the yummy lentils to school. My apartment needed desperate cleaning. You get the gist. I was excuse Eddy. Eggs were bought, phone topped-up, apartment surface-cleaned, schoolwork semi-complete, nap mostly-wanted.

BUT 8 p.m. rolled around, and I was out the door (sans wallet plus Web Pocket to listen to my latest addiction – Spotify). I’m glad I did because I was in for a pleasant surprise. The guy from Torino who hosted that seminar a few weeks ago was back! He does a class here once a week and one on Giovedi (I learned that it means Thursday through a lengthy conversation with a woman named Lucia in my class).

We worked on takedowns from standing, 2-step arm bar from closed guard (which was very much needed for me), some new hip movements, and rolls. Though it’s basic, I really appreciate it. I’ve joked with friends and instructors before,

“Can I go back to white-belt curriculum for the day?”

It’s nice to go back to basics after taking such a long break – between finding the gym and the sport picking up enough to attract some attention from out-of-town instructors. I know you’ve seen the full-Monty of my emotions regarding finding a gym here and being happy with it. I’m pleased to say that I found two that make me the happiest belted-rolling dumpling in Bra (mostly because I’m probably the only one who calls herself a happy dumpling, but that’s a tangent I’ll likely revisit another time).

Between Asterix (boxing, Muay Thai, MMA and my own invented circuits and burnouts when the gym is free of sweaty teenage boys and gyrating yoga-pant clad women) and this ASD Judo center, I think I’ve found my balance finally. AND on top of all of that, they are increasing classes to twice a week. I think I know what will take up my time more now. I can’t tell you how much BJJ and MMA make me. It’s taken me out of some of my darkest moments, reinstated confidence when I felt my smallest, made me put down the doughnut (well maybe not all the time) when I had one too many, and generally made me feel comfortable letting others into my corky/bizarre/ weird/ bubbly/introverted-extrovert personality. I know, that’s a lot to credit one sport to, but I’m happy I found it here, and I’m ecstatic that it’s working out here.

Lucia, the other female in my class, was so kind to give me a ride back. She talked about going to Torino on Thursday, and she asked if I wanted to join her one week. There, they have some blue, brown and other belts. I might take her up on that. It’s starting to feel like a cosy, jitsu family here. The tough guy who just wanted to pound you to the floor has left, so it’s just Greekvase-MMA-positions-tattoo guy, Lucia, this new guy with a star tattoo on his neck and myself (side note: I’ve noticed some VERY interesting about tattoos over here, one included of a rainbow block letter of the word smile on a forearm. I [sh]kid[it] you not).   Until then, I’ll relish in this moment of knee on belly transitioning into baseball choke.

There is so much to be grateful for this week – from planning an adventure to Lyon with two friends to going to Torino Wednesday to reconnect with an expatriate group I was a part of in Minneapolis called InterNations. There’s also this “Battle of the Oranges” festival on Sunday to celebrate Carnevale. More on those later.

With arm bars and two-ingredient Nutella brownies, I say ciao.

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