Switzerland to Argentina in less than a week
FYI: This post is long and there is no knitting.
What a week. I'm not kidding. It's a wonder I've been able to remain upright and coherent and reasonably sane.
Don't burst my bubble, 'kay?
To give you an inkling, the tip of one of the icebergs, earlier this week I was compelled to write "I AM SWITZERLAND" in a family-wide email. I wrote some other words, too, such as "Am I supposed to choose sides?" and "What is happening here?" and I do believe they had the desired effect (dousing the fire) because, last I heard, parties were making overtures in more reconciliatory tones. I also received some words in reply: "I am sorry."
Darn, I hate being the eldest sometimes, except that the big sister is often the first called upon for babysitting nephews. The baby smooching (and sniffing) day at my sister's definitely came at a good time!
And I had class last night -- the one where I'm the reluctant know-it-all -- or, if not exactly all-knowing, at least most-willing-to-
speak bite my tongue speak. Yeah, last week, I was "shushed," so you can see how that's going. This week, as far as I'm concerned, the class was practically a disaster -- pure torture. There are so many factors, across the board, I can't even begin to articulate. There's a mash of words in my brain. The main ones, the ones in lights this week, are "arbitrary" and "inconsistent" and "aggravating."
Oy. I can't make a mash of words coherent? And I want to write? Truth is, I think it would be deflating, aggravating, and a waste of brain energy to put it into words, and I don't want to -- the lit-up words are enough. My energy, as far as this class is concerned, will be better spent in finding my inner strong-and-silent type, in getting through in one piece, and in earning a passing grade. Fortitude.
So, as I wrote last week, I went to Tango Buenos Aires as part of a cultural immersion requirement for my class on global communications. I was absolutely delighted to do so, having always loved dance -- and, well, yowza, it's Argentine Tango! I'm sure that I could have carved enough "experience" from attending the performance and the historical presentation beforehand, which included getting on our feet for a teensy tiny tango lesson, to satisfy the requirement and make my presentation to the class. But no. I had discovered the local Argentine Tango group -- and they just happened to meet last night!
I had decided earlier in the week that the timing was perfect and I had to go. Learning, experiencing, doing Argentine Tango was my best opportunity -- given my North American Upper Midwest location -- to be "immersed" in some aspect of the Argentine culture. Problem was, I was so distraught and agitated after last night's class that I nearly drove straight home instead. I took some deep breaths and tried to focus. I gave myself a little pep talk about timing, dancing, opportunity, missed opportunity, and regret. I thought about having a drink. Ultimately, I convinced myself to slip on my "dancing shoes." Heh, I wore my Keens -- with swollen ankles -- far, far different than when I last took the floor.
Oy (again). I was so self-conscious -- nervous, tense, anxious, apprehensive! It has been so long since I danced with anything (including witnesses) other than my vacuum cleaner. Jazzercise doesn't count. I felt big, uncoordinated, and clumsy. I know I have good rhythm, though, I know that I can "feel it" -- not Billy Elliot "feel it," not Fred & Ginger, but I can feel it more than some -- the music gets in me, always has. I know, too, that a passionate, sexy, slow Tango, moving with the music, responding to my partner, is exactly the type of dance for me -- the dance I dance in my dreams, with the body in my dreams, where no one knows me. So, I brought all that, plus a desire to dance that I've nurtured for years, along with a very good reason, and here was my chance! I took comfort in thinking that if I didn't like it, or fell flat on my face, I didn't have to ever go back. I'd never seen those people before last week and didn't have to ever see them again.
How can I describe it? It was FASCINATING! EXHILARATING!! My feet stuck out, or got in the way, or didn't "collect" (come together) as they should; I lost my balance, or tried to lead, or didn't read; went left instead of right, right instead of left; I went up instead of down, stepped on toes, and dosey-doed; I perspired; I muttered, "I'm sorry" ten thousand times in two-and-one-quarter hours. I had a blast. I DANCED! I TANGOED!! It was the perfect antidote for my earlier stress and angst.
I began by learning how to walk -- backwards -- trying to brush my ankles together (here's where the feet sticking out first gets noticed). Then I learned to walk with and follow a partner by resting my hands on his or her chest, leaning in a little to create some resistance, closing my eyes and feeling my partner's leg changes, reading the very slight movement in the chest. Throwing caution to the wind, and in the interest of cultural immersion, I danced in close embrace with a young man of great patience and willingness to teach -- we (I) actually did a lot of talking -- I learned so much! I DANCED! I TANGOED!!