Once again at a friend's house, once again at Stanage, once again at Parisella's cave, once again at the pubs, everything is apparently the same, yet it's completely different.
I wasn't sure I could be doing this trip until the last days before leaving, due to a physical problem that gave me a real bad time and stopped my training for the first three weeks of February.
But I made it, in the end.
I came over with some other friends apart Michele this time, and when we dropped our pads at Plantation, I felt not only at home again, but also something very very new and different, whose origin I found in last year's successful trip: I was feeling happy.
I didn't want to try anything in particular, I was just happy to show my friends around and watch their smiles. This has been priceless.
I wanted to do Brad Pit again and I couldn't, to be honest at first I didn't even manage to heel hook and this left me shocked; my usual thought "It's time to quit" appeared again. Then I tried it again after carefully watching others try - or lap - it, and I realized that five months of face-on bouldering on my wall couldn't be translated into this problem. I carefully chose my position and did the heel hook and the cross easily. Maybe I won't quit yet.
On that occasion I realized also that I made a big schoolboy error this time: I only brought new shoes. My Solutions are so tight that I can't wear them without a plastic bag, and the heel rubber is still so new that in the cold of Stanage didn't ever stick to the sloper. I had similar problems at Parisella's cave, whose strange placements I could not feel with new, stiff shoes. But that's another story.
So yes, I was happy. I was happy also the following day, when a soaked hold hindered me - but not Rich - from doing Lou Ferrino. A true crusher would have crushed it anyway. I did it into the third move, fell, dried the hold then went to the end . One to come back for.
Yesterday was a gorgeous day, I walked around Liverpool, had a haircut, chilled out, ate a lot, and I also visited the Cathedral's tower. Last year I found the tower closed for works, and I was very disappointed; I thought "When will I have another chance to see it?". Well, I don't believe much in second chances, I believe that one can simply try again. This is a very stupid thing to say, but I think there's a great difference between thinking in terms of "chances" and in terms of "trying again": in the first case we wait for something to happen, in the second case we want to make it happen.
What do I want to make happen again? I still want to climb Brad Pit again, but I also want to finish Lou Ferrino and Jerry's Traverse at Stanage. I want to keep visiting my friends and I want to make them come to Italy. I want to keep training and believing that I am not the shittest climber I've ever seen. I want to keep the faith in my projects and become a better teacher.
I also want to start deadlifting.
I am close to the end of five weeks off work, and again I cannot help but think about how hard I fought to find myself in this position. Many people around me supported my decision, and thanks to them and to that little bit of foolishness and luck, I never had to ask for a second chance.