I am exhausted. Contented, but exhausted. I have spent two weekends in a row traveling up to Montreal, and have been training too much. I am looking forward to relaxing a bit this weekend.
I spent the first lovely weekend in Montreal, drinking tea, eating way too much food, training, and enjoying Gabe's company. We spent about 8 hours on Saturday just walking around, visiting Old Montreal (incredible), eating shabu-shabu (yum!) and checking out the sights. We wanted to see the Circ du Soleil, (which is from Montreal), but there weren't any tickets available until the middle of June. It worked out okay, though, because we ended up being so tired from walking around, we just went home and crashed.
The following weekend I headed up there again to check out a seminar given by Doran Sensei at Karl's dojo. The seminar was really amazing...lots of good aikido and new stuff to play with. It felt really great to train with a light hand again (everything at my dojo in Boston is so rough and aggressive), but the weekend went by too quickly. The only ride I could find back to Boston left at 9:45 p.m. We got into Boston at 2 a.m. Monday morning, but I ended up not getting home until 4:30 because the two other people riding with us had only been living in Boston for a few weeks and had no idea how to get to their houses. Needless to say, I was exhausted all day Monday, and I still feel like I haven't really caught up on sleep, but it was definitely worth it.
There was testing at New England Aikikai on Monday, and though I was tired, I really felt like I should go. It has been hard moving to a new city, training in a new dojo with new rules, but I feel like it has taught me a lot about myself, about humility, and about what I want in my life. In Reno, I had been getting ready to test for my next rank right before I left, but ended up being way to busy with packing and saying goodbye to actually follow through with it. Testing in Reno happens every month, so it is no big deal when you aren't ready...there is always next month. Here, testing only happens every six months, which seems like a long time to wait. I was having a hard time deciding whether or not I wanted to test here (this dojo is in an entirely different Aikido federation than my previous dojo, and I don't really feel to attached to it yet). I am so glad that I chose not to. Lets just say that the tests were really rough and didn't look very good. Though I am a bit embarrassed to go back to Reno without having advanced in rank (when a lot of my friends there have), I know that rank really pretty arbitrary (like age). I have been training hard, and I know that every day my aikido improves, and that in the end, aikido is about personal development, not about comparison to others. Little by little, I'm chipping away at that stupid thing called ego and trying to perfect the lifewaza. We'll see how it goes.