Diggin’ the Dancing Queen
July 16, 2014
As my eyes follow the dance instructor I start smiling because I know I cannot do that. And if by some miracle I do succeed in moving my hips and swinging my arms like I’m supposed to, I know that there is no possible way I will look half as good as the instructor. I go for it anyway, guiding my hips in what I hope are smooth circles and swinging my arms in some rhythmic fashion. My smile quickly grows and I break into a laugh because I’m sure I look ridiculous. I continue stomping around in a desperate attempt to mimic the instructor, laughing as I go. I am hot, I am sweaty, I am dirty, I am tired, and, despite it all, I am ecstatic.
During the first week of orientation, at the start of our first dance class I remember considering two ways I could go about the class. I could either be my usual timid, shy, embarrassed self or I could totally not care if I look ridiculous, have fun, and actually learn something too. My decision? Look absolutely ridiculous and enjoy myself! Sometimes it takes a lot to keep smiling. I get so caught up in all we have to do. Stepping in time, swinging my hips and shoulders from side to side, and moving my arms around in a big circle while consciously thinking about breathing in and out is a lot to do at once. It’s enough to make me give up and stop because I know I can’t do it, at least not the way the instructor is doing it. And then I remind myself to smile and keep going. I stop thinking so hard about every little detail and just enjoy myself, moving whichever way and laughing all the while.
And in my short time here I’ve figured that that’s the best way to go about studying abroad. It’s going to be overwhelming at times because it’s never just one thing. Going abroad is throwing yourself into a world of new: A world of new food, new places, new phrases, new customs, new people. Thinking about every little thing, is enough to make anyone give up, especially if you don’t know how to laugh at yourself. So my advice to all who care to hear it: be prepared to look like a fool because at some point you undoubtedly will, and when you are in one of those moments of ridiculousness, laugh. Laugh and enjoy the fact that you are abroad in the company of awesome people and incredible memories waiting to happen.
An exhausted amateur salsa dancer,