And So The Adventure Begins!
“Do you normally go to a different country to pick up a total stranger?” the border guard asked my friend, Alyssa. She paused for a moment before responding,”No. But I flew to Florida and that’s how I met my husband.” Bemused with her answer, the border guard let her drive from the Bellingham border into Canada to pick me up.
Alyssa wasn’t the only one who had people express concerns about meeting a complete stranger in another country. That Saturday afternoon, my friend, Catherine also expressed reservations about this adventure. “You don’t have this person’s phone number or the address of where you will be staying?” she asked. I appreciated Catherine’s concerns. Although I knew this journey of heading across the border to get my Mind Body Barre training in Ferndale, Washington was low on the threat scale, I was a bit nervous too.
Growing up with an over-protective mother who wouldn’t let me go to people’s homes for play dates in case I “might get molested” created a life-long fear of going to people’s homes. When I dabbled in online dating, it was common practice for me to call my friend, Allan to say,”I’m meeting this guy at ______ (the public place for a meeting). He told me his name is _______________ and the contact info is (Phone number, email address, photo, dating website, and dating profile name). Please hang onto this just in case I end up chopped up into a million pieces.” In a slightly less dramatic fashion, I have shared this advice about meeting people on my old radio show, Sexy in Vancity Radio many times. Thankfully I’ve lived to tell many colourful stories of my dating adventures to the amusement and relief of my friends and radio show listeners.
Why was I breaking all of the rules on this journey? My new year’s resolution is to embrace adventure of wellness, laughter and friendship. Part of that journey is to let go of fear and learning how to trust. Trust doesn’t come easy to me. Walking down the street at night, I am ready to run. My eyes constantly scan behind parked cars and trees in case there might be a stranger ready to jump out at me. My heart pounds with fear and I remind myself to breathe.
Maybe the people who talk about manifesting what we want, are correct. If we have deep-rooted misgivings about something, the world around us comes up with situations to prove that we are right. What we believe to be true is true. It colours the lens we perceive the world through. When one sees the world through fear, the world seems like a scary place.
What might seem simple to some people seemed like challenges to me. I spent the next few weeks applying for a replacement driver’s license and new passport. At one point, I thought I wouldn’t be able to cross the border. I didn’t think my photo identification would arrive on time. What a relief it was to wrap up 2015 with a new passport and replacement for my drivers license.
Alyssa, the owner of Flow Motion studio who was hosting the MindBody Barre Training offered to pick me up the day before the training. I assumed I would be sleeping on her couch the night before the training.
Before I headed home to pack, I shared the details of the MindBody Barre training and studio with Catherine and said that I would let her know the details of where I would be staying as soon as I knew.
Through Facebook messaging, Alyssa let me know when she was leaving Ferndale. Once she crossed the border, she told me that she was turning off the data off her phone. Nervously I waited for her to arrive.
When the buzzer announced her arrival, I let her up. As soon as I opened the apartment door, I relaxed. As I met my new friend, I knew I had met another soul sister. There are certain people I’ve met where I instinctively trust. Alyssa was one of those people.
During the drive to Ferndale, I thanked her for driving to another country to pick me up for training. She said that sometimes she drives into Vancouver for lunch. To her it was simple. To me, it was a was an adventure. When she shared her story about crossing the border to come and get me, she told the border guard ,”She (yours truly) teaches yoga and fitness – we are going to get along.”
I was inspired and moved by her trust and graciousness. I wondered what life could be like if I looked at it with trust instead of caution. Maybe I might see opportunities that I couldn’t see before. By approaching life with excitement instead of fear, maybe life would feel easier.
When we crossed the border and drove into the state of Washington, I felt like a girl going to her first dance. Although it was less than an 1.5 hour drive, I was in a different country.
We stopped at Flow Motion 1920 Main Street Suite 19, Carnation Building, Ferndale, Washington. The best description of Flow Motion is a “wellness sanctuary.” The care and grace Alyssa had shown to me, was reflected in every inch of her studio. The heritage building had high ceilings and felt like a spa. Chandeleir, and fireplace in the reception area, zero gravity massage chair, relaxation lounge, infrared therapy room, essential oil stations, dressing rooms, and aromatouch room made me wish I lived in Ferndale. I was shocked that for her gold membership to Flow Motion, one could get unlimited classes including ( yoga, piyo, belly dance fitness, insanity and deep stretch, and zumba), 4 zero gravity massage chair sessions and 4 aroma touch treatments was only $139 per month. If I lived closer to the border, it would be hard to keep me away from there! The tranquil space immediately relaxed me and inspired me.
She asked if I wanted to check into my hotel before heading to dinner. I said,”Yes.” I thanked her for making a reservation and wondered how much the rate would be. I hadn’t factored in the cost of a hotel but was excited to be staying at one. One of my favourite parts of staying at a hotel is swimming in the pool and enjoying a soak in the hotel. I chattered about that as we pulled into the Hampton Hotel driveway. When we checked in, she gave them a gift certificate to cover the cost of the room.
I was overwhelmed with her generosity. As we dropped my bag off in the hotel room, we discussed going for dinner and details for the following day. After a delicious dinner at a Greek restaurant, she dropped me off. Although the hotel pool was closed for the season, the bath tub had jets in it. I ran a bath and soaked in the hot, bubbling water.
The next day we jumped into our MindBody Barre training. The care and thought that went into the way Alyssa researched the design of each room at her studio, the essential oils used for treatments and massage chairs, was visible in the training offered for MindBody Barre. Although I’ve been teaching ballet body and barre classes for the past few years, I really enjoyed the training with Angela, our trainer. With simplicity and humour, she broke down the class structure, sequencing, the aromatherapy, and signature reiki cool down.
As I told Alyssa on the drive back to Vancouver, BC, I enjoyed the training so much that I forgot to take photos of the studio or the training. With my data on my phone turned off, I realized that sometimes I spend more time taking photos to remember events that I do experiencing them. Thanks to my lock down on access to data, I was able to disengage and experience the training fully.
This is the second time, I’ve met a soul sister online. In our modern world meeting people that we connect with is a gift. When we crossed the border, the guard asked how Alyssa and I knew each other. I looked at Alyssa as I said,”We are friends through fitness and yoga.” As we drove across the border and back into Canada, I realized just how true those words were.
As I look forward to teaching MindBody Barre classes in Vancouver, I am also looking forward to the next time Alyssa comes up for an impromptu lunch. (I was already trying to get to her to come up next weekend!)