Family, climbing and a movie (Tilburg, The Netherlands)

It’s my first full day back in Holland and the weather has turned foul. I was going to cycle to my uncle’s house about an hour from where I am staying (with another uncle and aunt). Thankfully my aunt offers to drop me off. As a migrant child, my family in Holland have been an ever present distant reality. I love the ones I know and always love to see them and hang out. Coffee soon turns to lunch as my uncle, aunt and I catch up on the years (almost 20) since we last spent time together. It’s a wonderful way to spend the morning.

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I’ve made an arrangement to climb with my cousin and a mate of his at the climbing wall in Tilburg. I first saw it almost two months ago but didn’t get a chance to climb then. I’ve been dreaming about the 20m indoor walls since first seeing them and, now, here I am.

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We start on the easy 10m wall with a 3+. It’s fantastic for a warm up and the three of us all scamper up like we’re climbing a ladder. A 4- is next and then a 4. We’re still on the 10m wall warming up. The 4 has a slight overhang but nothing to stress about. It feels fantastic to hit it strongly and make it through the slight overhand and get some confidence.

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We tackle a 4+ and a 5+ down on the 20m wall. Now I’m starting to feel like I’m getting a work out. My arms pump out as I climb the 20m 5+. I get up but it’s not pretty. I definitely could do with some work on my technique. My cousin’s mate gives me some pointers. I try them out upstairs back on the 10m wall on another 5+ climb. Now we’re talking.

I keep my hips close to the wall. I think about my moves more. I turn side on, rather than hanging spreadeagled on the wall. I see how these slight shifts of my body give me more options, they stop me from feeling like I am holding on to prevent the fall. Suddenly my arms aren’t pumping as much. I am feeling smoother and less like someone clutching for anything to hold. It’s wonderful.

We climb for just over three hours. I shower and eat dinner with my uncle and aunt at their house. We talk about the evening and decide on catching a movie. That’s the perfect way to end the day. My uncle likes action films so we watch 13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. It’s action packed and a good watch.

Today was pretty much a perfect day of family, physical challenge and story telling.

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