Member of the Month: Georgia

One of the most fascinating things about my CrossFit journey has been the community aspect of the sport. Its not unique to CrossFit GVA as it’s a part of every CrossFit box, but there is something about CrossFit that brings people together in a shared, although often painful, experience!

You might be training next to a fulltime mother, a senior banker, a government employee or even a member of the clergy. They may speak an entirely different language to you and have a completely different life experience, but the training process bridges any gaps in language or experience.

I have met so many interesting people and heard some fascinating stories in the past 10 years. We are going to try to highlight some of these stories from our members over the coming months. First up is a special story from Georgia. Not only because of who she is and where she comes from, but also her increasing involvement in CrossFit GVA’s development.

We hear a lot of news in the media about the middle east. War in Syria, conflict between Palestinians and Israel and of course terrorism and ISIS. But its not often we get to interact with people who have direct experience of these situations. Like most people in Western Europe, I have never lived in a war zone or been forced to flee my country because of the political situation, in fear of my life.

As a father, one of my worst nightmares would be to have to leave my home with no guarantee of a safe future for myself or my family. I would like to think that if I was forced to go somewhere, I would be welcomed as a fellow human being. Or at the very least, be allowed to try to continue my life in a foreign place.

Georgia of course has experienced that. And she does it with grace and warmth. She is also helping CrossFit GVA to reach out and welcome new people to our community. Since the beginning of February, Georgia has launched a new program at CrossFit GVA. She is teaching 2 free classes per week for refugees who have come to Geneva. The goal is to help them with their fitness, but more importantly to help them integrate themselves to a new country and city.

That’s my last word on this introduction, which is already much longer than I wanted it to be. Let’s hear from Georgia herself.

Jon – Head Coach CrossFit GVA

My name is Georgia, from Syria, 33 years old, one year since I arrived in Geneva. I fled to Europe, I ran away from war. My village was completely destroyed, lost half of my family. I went to Turkey first, then I moved to Greece, half way by boat, half way swimming. In Greece, I got arrested for some time, and finally was sent to Geneva.

That’s the cliché story that most of you have heard on the media. Syrians putting their lives at risk and suffering to reach Europe.
In fact, my story didn’t go that way. My story is somehow, just like you!

I spent my last 33 years taking every possible chance to improve myself. I had good days, I had bad days, some had drama, some were filled with success stories, just like you!

From the very beginning, I grew up in a very warm, open-minded family. I was taught that family comes first and we are stronger when we are together. But life wanted to spread us around the world, each one of us is in a different country to build and find our paths in life, peacefully.

Mom and dad are chemists. I have three siblings: one sister who’s a pharmacist, and lives in Canada. Another sister who studied medicine in Syria, and she’s a doctor in Germany. The youngest is my brother who’s an architecture student in Austria.

And I hold a bachelor degree in economics/banking and finance, worked for the United Nations, banking sector, and market research.

We have always been open to other cultures. We accept differences, and learn from diversity, just like you!

We dance and party, just like you! Salsa was always my favorite dance after belly dancing.

We are into sports, just like you! Beside CrossFit, I’m a Zumba instructor, I play squash, and took some kickboxing courses.
We like to learn new activities that add value to our lives, just like you! I want to learn skiing and surfing.

We speak languages, and are always looking forward to learning more, just like you! I speak Arabic and English. French when I’m drunk 🙂

I like to explore the world, and I want to have the freedom to travel (keep traveling) all over the world, just like you!

I came to Geneva to contribute to society and to become an effective member . I came to seek a better life, freedom, security and equality, just like you!

I’m lucky to live here: I can meet up with my sisters and brother in Europe, and be one family again, because we are stronger when we are together, just like you !