Sometimes November Project isn’t about seven different kinds of burpees and never-ending staircase- sometimes it’s what makes your city home. From our Maya Papaya with love:

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When I started writing down my thoughts this morning, I did not have the intention to send this off to Annelise, but here I am proofreading, and realizing that I get quite cheesy! Yikes…. but truthfully….#sorrynotsorry.

Ten months ago, I #justshowedup to the Nemo stairs to be greeted by a small group of unfamiliar faces. Although scared that I would be the slowest person, that people would judge my ‘Oh boy, I can’t run anymore’ face, or simply that I’d get lost and be late to the workout, I got my booty out of bed, and to those stairs—and I am so glad that I did. Thanks to social media and word of mouth, I found that the group I worked out with sometimes in Phoenix, Arizona (Hi, NP PHX!) was trying to take off in my new city of Amsterdam! Never did I think simply going to a workout would give me such a sense of appreciation in so many ways.

At the beginning of my journey with this tribe, I wasn’t just thankful to have a group of fun, weird, and exciting people to work out with. I was just grateful that I didn’t feel so alone in my new city. All of a sudden, in a country where I could count the number of people I knew on two hands, I had a crew of people who shared so many similarities as me which was comforting, but also these people had so many differences compared to me that it opened my eyes to new things. (Oh, and the workouts were nice too!) Over the next several months, the dozens of workouts, and numerous new people met, I haven’t forgotten that feeling—the gratitude and inclusiveness. And I hope I can help spread that same feeling to other newbies (and you too, oldies!) that come our way.

But today I am reflecting and realizing, that now more than ever in this really confusing time in the world, I have an even more profound sense of gratitude for this tribe. Being a part of November Project Amsterdam and looking around at the herd of familiar and unfamiliar faces, I realize how incredible it is that a group of people from so many different backgrounds can have in common, and get along beautifully; yes, maybe fitness and the promise of a good workout is what initially got us to those stairs, but I think it’s the people that keep us coming back. How often do you have a mix of Americans, Dutch, Canadians, British, Lithuanian, French, Italians, Egyptians (I’m sure there’s more that I missed!), all coming together crazy early in the morning, having fun, and doing weird shit, like giving hand-hugs, or boop-ing each other on the nose? Probably not often, but I think we should have more of it. Seeing this madness weekly gives me a sense of happiness, and hope! So thank you to all of you weirdo friends and connections I have made through this experience. You are all such beautiful souls!

Keep spreading the love ya’ll!!!

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just love

Papaya for Everyone
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