Today’s mother of the week is the living proof that the reach of Delft MaMa knows no borders.
Alis, is a Catalan high school teacher for adults with special needs, a coach, a business woman, an entrepreneur, a Zumba, Pilates, aqua gym, baby-mum fitness instructor, a mother of three, the wife of a firefighter,… a never ending list.
Judging from all she does, with no muss no fuss, it is safe to assume that her days have 36 hours, instead of the 24 that the rest of us are given.
She does not live in Wonderland but surely close by.
Although she is not based in Delft, she takes every opportunity she has to pack her camper van and drive up north, nonstop, until she arrives. Sometimes alone, sometimes with the five of them.
She made herself known to the Delft MaMa audience last Easter, when, in the company of a large portable loudspeaker named “Ibiza” she made some of us and our under three years old, break a sweat at the rhythm of Shakira’s “bicicleta” (bicycle) at the Papaver in Delftse Hout.
Back in her natal city, Lleida, and next to her teaching duties, she organizes weekly fitness activities for mothers and babies. Weekends are for organizing activities with families with older kids.
She is very passionate about many things, amongst which, to keep young families fit and connected.
As I was chatting with her, my biggest questions were: WHY? Why fitness for mums and babies? Why in Delft? Why working when you are on holidays? And HOW? “How many more holidays do you expect to spend in Delft?”
The “Why fitness for mothers and babies?” had a very straightforward answer:
When I was pregnant with my first child, my sisters-in-law, told me: “with the arrival of your baby, live as you know it will soon be over”.
As innocent and common this sentence is, it was enough to fuel her necessity to prove them wrong. That her much loved and awaited boy would not be the cause for her world to stop, not even to pause. And so it did not.
Right two weeks after he was born, she was back on track. Carrying her newborn in a wrap, she continued running lessons at the gym. On the plus side, cycling on an elliptic bike and running on the belt seemed to be the only ways to keep her restless child at ease. Next to helping her drop some pregnancy pounds.
Ten years and three kids after, she has not stopped yet. What’s more, she has only broadened her skills and areas of expertise.
Then came the “Why Delft?” again, she answered without hesitation and with a fair share of magic. Once upon 2015…, … she took her kids camping for a few days whilst husband was on working duty. Right next to their tent, there was a father in his fifties with his teenage boy. The couple happened to be from the Netherlands, more precisely, from Delft.
It took the occupants of the neighbouring tents a thunderstorm and the Dutchman’s need for an ATM to start talking. Right from that moment, they became good friends and up until today.
In December 2015, during a school break, Alis decided to come explore the city of Delft and see what it had to offer to her and the family.
Serendipity made that visit coincide with Lichtjesavond day. The astonishing beauty of the city together with idiosyncrasy of its inhabitants captivated her.
As she went back home waxing lyrical about the lowlands, together with her husband, they started planning the Easter and summer holidays of the family for 2016, whilst teaching herself Dutch.
The time spent in the campsite at Delftse Hout was a great success for the five of them, who jointly decided to turn Delft into their second home.
I was shy to ask, fearing to be intrusive or judgmental “Why working when you are on holidays?” but decided to go for it, as I was genuinely curious.
The answer was clear: “the only time I had holidays in the resting and doing nothing sense of the word, was on our honeymoon. Right on the first day of doing nothing, I started suffering from lumbago. It is clear that inactivity is not in my nature”.
Besides, I am convinced that she is a very generous person who likes to share more than anything in this world. Otherwise, how would one answer that during Easter she came all the way by herself to offer free training to any Delft MaMa that wanted to join her at the Papaver?
“How many more holidays do you expect to spend in Delft?”
In her own words: “I like to experience things fully. Putting my heart and soul into what makes me thrive at the moment it does. Carpe diem.”
Her clarity takes me to Lewis Carrolls’ book:
Alice: How long is forever?
White Rabbit: Sometimes just one second
Luckily, it seems that forever will last a little longer and we will get to enjoy Alis’ company and fitness know-how for the entire month of August at the Papaver and in the forest of Delftse Hout.
And maybe, who knows, she will come up with other activities to keep the Delft MaMa community engaged at the sound of a Vallenato or maybe the despacito?
Agnès Batllori Benet
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