Since the beginning of my CrossFit career, one of the most fascinating aspects has been the community spirit. It's not unique to CrossFit GVA, it's part of every box. CrossFit federates, brings people together and allows them to share a common experience, even if it can be painful.
During your training sessions, you may be working alongside a housewife, a senior banker, a government employee or even a member of the clergy. Even if they speak a different language and live a life on the opposite side of the world from you, you share a learning process that puts you on an equal footing. An equality that overcomes the barriers of language and life experience.
Over the past 10 years, I've met such interesting people and heard such fascinating stories that we've decided to share one with you each month. The first is Georgia's story. On the one hand, because of who she is and where she comes from, but also because of her great involvement in the development of CrossFit GVA.
There's a lot of talk in the media about the Middle East. The war in Syria, the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis and of course terrorism and the Islamic State. It's rare that we can communicate with people who have direct experience of these situations. Like most people in Western Europe, I've never lived in a war zone, been forced to flee my country because of the political situation or been afraid for my life.
As a father, one of my worst nightmares would be to have to leave my home without any guarantee of a secure future for myself and my family. I'd like to think that if I were forced to leave, I'd be welcome as a human being. Or at least to be allowed to try and get on with my life elsewhere.
Georgia has been there and she does it with grace and courage. She also helps CrossFit GVA reach out and welcome new people into our community. Since the beginning of February, she has launched a new program at the box. She gives 2 free classes a week to refugees in Geneva. The aim is to help them stay in shape, but above all to integrate into a new country and a new city.
After this much longer-than-expected introduction, I'll now hand over to Georgia.
Jon - Head coach at CrossFit GVA
My name is Georgia, I'm originally from Syria, I'm 33 and I arrived in Geneva a year ago. I escaped the war by fleeing to Europe. My village was completely destroyed, and I lost half my family. I went first to Turkey and then to Greece, by boat and by swimming. In Greece, I was detained for some time before finally being transferred to Geneva.
That's the clichéd story we hear most of the time in the media. Syrians put their lives at risk to reach Europe in pain, but my story didn't happen like that. In a way, my story is the same as yours.
I've spent the last 33 years seizing every opportunity to improve. I've had good days and bad days. Dramas and successes, just like you!
I've always grown up in a warm and open-minded family. I was taught that family comes first and that together we're stronger. Unfortunately, life decided to scatter us around the world, each in a different country, with the aim of making a life for ourselves and moving forward in a peaceful way.
My mother and father are chemists. I have two sisters and a brother. One is a pharmacist living in Canada. The other studied medicine in Syria and is now a doctor in Germany. My brother, the youngest, is studying architecture in Austria. I have a bachelor's degree in economics and finance. I worked for the United Nations in banking and market research. We've always been open to other cultures. We accept differences and appreciate diversity, just like you!
We dance and party, just like you! Salsa has always been my favorite dance after belly dancing. We play sports, just like you! As well as CrossFit, I'm a Zumba instructor, play squash and take kickboxing classes. We love discovering new activities that enrich our lives, just like you! I want to learn to ski and surf.
We speak languages and are always eager to learn more, just like you! I speak Arabic, English and French when I'm drunk 🙂
I love exploring the world and want the freedom to travel anywhere in the world, just like you!
I came to Geneva to help improve society and become a good citizen. I came to seek a better life, freedom, security and equality, just like you!
I'm lucky to live here. I can join my sisters and my brother in Europe and get our family back together. We're stronger together, just like you!