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05 October 2007

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!!

Comments

YIPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEE, that sounds like such fun and sooooooooooo liberating!!! I am so happy for you, good for you, do it again, and again and again, until you feel you can dance in your head...that way you will feel some stress relief when required..
congrats again!

WOW, Go Vicki, what fun, I would love to learn to dance, I take it you are going back? Enjoy!

Girlfriend! You rock!

That is SO COOL! Now you've got me dreaming - if, after the foot surgeries and the knee surgeries, I might be able to dance again. And you did it in Keens! So, I might be able to do it in Danskos (only thing I can wear now). Thank you for the inspiration, my dear, and carry on!

YOU ROCK!

No,no, wait--

YOU TANGO!!

I tango'd long ago (seemingly) as a college student in Ballroom Dance Club, and loved it, though I also put my neck out of commission doing so (watch those stylized head whipping around moves!). It's hard, but it takes you completely out of yourself. One of my dreams is to take tango lessons with my husband, who would LOVE to learn. Maybe you've inspired me to dig around a little and see if there's anything in our neck of the Wisconsin woods! And I have tickets to a Tango dance concert here end of January which should heat up the winter quite nicely.
Switzerland, heh. Not funny at the time, I'm sure, but amusing from a distance!!
Hang in there, it's Friday and you've learned to TANGO!!!

OH.MY.GOD. I HAVE to do that!!!!! Where can I sign up? I'm going to start looking immediately!!!

Wow! You go! Tango!

Switzerland: Too bad you had to be the adult but sounds like you did a good thing and made some folks think.

Regarding class, you are right to rise above and set your goal on getting through the class. My work has been like this lately.

Tango sounds wonderful, immersing, involving and just the thing. Wheeee!

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!! Look how happy you are! That's fantastic! Sometimes pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone is EXACTLY what we need. I just have the biggest smile on my face thinking of you and the TANGO. WHOO HOO!

WOW!!!!!!!!!!! That's all I can say ;)

You GO, Vicki! What a great post and excellent reminder for us all to step out of our comfort zone and try something new.
Love this!

My tango days are pretty much in the past, but I completely understand what you are feeling. Enjoy every moment. Even the sweaty ones.

Yahoo, you go! I dance with two left feet, so tango would be a sad affair between such lovely music, movements and myself. How utterly exciting for you! So now you have two passions...fiber and tango!

Well, there's one in every family. There's 4 in mine...How very cool to get a moveable culture lesson after a suffering! Hope the class goes by swiftly and all calms down in the family tree.

I am so glad that things turned out good in the end. Yay for the Tango!!

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