Mitchell helped Judo through times of family crisis; Judo helped Mitchell find a job, a home, and a girlfriend. Mitchell Laferla: I think the story starts with me.
In college I befriended this girl in my study-abroad group, Courtney, who was from Washington. Later I came out and visited her. That was my first taste of the Pacific Northwest, and I was totally hooked. After I graduated college, I wanted to move out there. Courtney and Judo went to high school together. You guys should meet up. You are actually a lot alike. I just graduated. So this friendship will be mutually beneficial. He smells bad. Beck: What were your first impressions of each other? He is super outgoing, really loud, and super distracted.
Most of my friends are POCs. I love new experiences.
Slowly I find out Mitchell is very liberal for Nebraska. He paints his toes and does yoga in the park and does all this super hippy-dippy shit that I do. Read: The personality trait that makes people feel comfortable around you. Mitchell: My first impression was the enthusiasm he came at me with when he first messaged me.
Judo absolutely thrives in social situations. There was an instant connection. I took you to my house. You met my friends, we hung out, we went to the park, we did some yoga. Beck: You went to yoga that same day that you picked him up? Mitchell: That same day, yeah.
That kicked off a whole summer of fun. Judo understands my friends, my family, where I come from, because he spent that first summer with us. Judo: The powers of the universe put us together and it just happened very naturally. Mitchell: I would totally agree with that. And Judo has always proved it to me. How did that go, when the tables turned and Judo was playing host?
Mitchell: I moved to Seattle with my suitcase and a couple grand, no job, and knew one person: Judo. Judo found my house for me in Seattle. Judo gave me all my initial friends. Judo introduced me to my girlfriend, who I live with currently.
Judo introduced me to a guy who eventually helped me get my job, which kicked off my career. It was a total game changer, having him in my corner.
Judo: I think the most critical part of this story is the introduction to Mitchell's girlfriend, Ilsa. Ilsa was my calculus tutor in my freshman year of college. Mitchell: Judo invited us to a ragtag group [hangout]. When Ilsa and I met each other, I immediately started pursuing her and she was interested in me. Mitchell: Yeah. Mitchell: She definitely did try to play a bit of an ice queen, but it was all a facade, having now dated her for four years.
Beck: It seems like you both have moved around a good amount. How long have you lived in the same place? Mitchell: I lived in Seattle for two years alongside Judo, sometimes with Judo. At some point I moved out of the basement and back to the attic that I used to live in. Me and Mitchell lived there together because it was super cheap. It was a legit unfinished attic. It was cold at night.
There was one light bulb and one cord to charge everything. I was sleeping in a tent. Mitchell: I loved living there though. Mitchell: In the fall ofI moved to Spain. My girlfriend has been going to school here in Europe. Then I kept traveling. The spring right before the coronavirus, we were in the Philippines. Judo came and met me, because his family lives in the Philippines. Then we were forced to go back to the United States. Me and Ilsa lived with her parents in Washington and Judo was also there, for nine months. Judo is going to grad school in San Diego.
Ilsa and I are considering going down to be roommates with him. Have you experienced that? And how have you managed to hold on to each other through those transitions? Read: Disposable friendships in a mobile world. And then again, when Mitchell was traveling Asia, I saw him in the Philippines, [where we stayed with my family].
That was a great experience because he really got to see what makes me, me. It was fun being able to share that and for him to experience that culture. Judo percent will. Judo and I both really care about friendship. Our other friendships are also in good standing, I would say. If you want something to last, you need to make an effort. The ones that fall off are friendships of convenience. The deeper ones persist.
One of the biggest instances came three months [after] you moved to Seattle. It was during Thanksgiving. I was really broken and I was failing some of my classes. He was there while I was packing up the house, trying to clean it up before they seized it. My dad was cheating on my mom.
There was a bunch of stuff going on and having Mitchell there was really comforting. There are so many other instances. Like graduation. I well up just thinking about it. I want to cry, because it meant a lot. I love you. Mitchell: You can cry, buddy. Sometimes you just got to feel the emotion.
Judo has been there for me emotionally and vice versa.
Even some of my best homies, we never can go that deep. Judo and I have always been able to have that. Read: Overcoming American masculinity to build a deep male friendship. We all are a little feminine, a little masculine. The label is not really a big part of my identity.
We can still be intimate. It was incredibly hot. Beck: When we were in touch overyou guys mentioned that you feel like your differences have brought you closer—what did you mean by that? Mitchell: Me being from the Midwest and him being from the West Coast, people would assume political differences.