Archive | June, 2014

Salsa Picante

27 Jun

Often times when people hear that I salsa dance they will laugh. Guess being uncoordinated and wearing big belt buckles doesn’t seen to fit with people’s picture of salsa dancing.
When my friend Milena was staying in Fort Wayne, studying English I looked for things for her to do since Fort Wayne has less to offer than Rio. We saw that there were salsa classes, and so we started going to the class.
My body rejected dancing the way some people’s body reject an organ transplant. I had almost no musical experience, and the only dance experience I had was taking ballroom dance classes in college, which I did badly at. However the class was on Tuesday nights and since at the time the gym was only open on Mondays and Wednesdays, I would go and totally embarrass myself pretty much every week. Step one on my delusional stareway to success is that dignity (like laws and clothes) just gets in the way of a good time. I would struggle at this like a band kid playing pick up basketball. The other part of the equation is this I’m a very competitive person; so instead of making small talk and trying to do the whole friendly fun conversation deal, I would be super concentrating on the moves that out kept getting wrong. There might of been some screams of frustration, anger grunts, growling, etc. for missed steps. The instructors Lori and Kevin were super nice people and they would always try to make conversation with me , but since I was frustrated and embarrassed most of the time the conversations usually didn’t work out the best . Not that I would respond angrily to them I just couldn’t focus on the niceties of polite conversation. Think about the most strained conversation that you had with somebody who is totally socially inept when someone’s trying to draw conversation out of them; that was conversation for me in salsa class. Then they added salsa dancing at a local bar.
Some of the people were incredibly nice. Emily became my friend despite my incredible lack of social skills and dancing ability. Cesar was another good friend. Oscar and Alex were two Salvadoreños that were cool too. So we would go to the local bar that played salsa and dance mostly inside the group of students that went to the salsa class. Emily was so incredibly nice to me she kept inviting me to go along with her when the other guys had asked her on a date. She would be like me and so I’m so going to an Indian restaurant and then go dancing afterwards do you want to come? I’d be like “Em that sounds like a date. ” So she checked with him and then said “well, just come for the dancing afterwards”. Lori also went out of her way to make sure that I would dance anytime I would go to any of the open dance things.
I know you guys are wondering how I was doing with the ladies. But see I got plenty of kidneys (brains )so I devised myself a plan. I determined that at that time that I would not ask any girl out that I met and salsa class. Because the moment that I asked one girl out, all the rest of them have an excuse to not dance with me because they would think that I’m just there to try and find a date. However, if I don’t ask any girl on a date they have to accept the fact that although I am super creepy I am not hitting on any of them.(kidneys).
Well eventually I was convinced by my oldest brother to go do a five-month stint working in El Salvador. I enlisted the help of private teacher and took a few private lessons before I left for El Salvador. I had been improving slowly but surely at Salsa but when I met Fe , ( the private lesson teacher) I was in a slump. To this day she still will bring me out in front of the class and talk about how terrible I was when she first met me dancing salsa. While I was in El Salvador I took dance classes from a teacher named Daisy. Daisy is a great teacher and the next one dancer but she really made me appreciate Lori. Because Daisy had one night a week that was held at a nightclub, and at the club she would sit and talk to your friend the DJ or hang out with her other friends and dance with the best dancers there; and Lori had always made sure that anybody who came to any of the Latin dances danced with her and try to break the ice for them to dance with other people. However I got better at dancing because I was getting to go to Daisy’s class 3 to 4 times a week, as opposed to once or twice a week in Fort Wayne. Another good part was Daisy taught moves that aren’t used here in Fort Wayne . This has good points and bad points. The bad points are obvious if nobody in Fort Wayne uses those moves the girls don’t know what you’re trying to lead. The positive side it is I was doing things that nobody else around was doing and I could also show people what I wanted them to do when I did certain things. But since I didn’t have a lot of confidence in me doing the move and doing it right often times if the girls didn’t follow along naturally, I just kind of gave up doing that move.

Now I’ve told you about my rule about not asking girls out from salsa class. But we were in El Salvador so the rules don’t apply.( different culture different rules.). So I invited these Japanese girls that were in the class to go out and salsa dance with me and my friends Beto, Nestor and Vlad.
Turns out that the place we went to does a little bit of salsa and a little bit o bachata the two social dances you learn at salsa classes; but they play a lot of Reggaeton.Reggaeton is kind of a bump and grind kind of deal. Well only one of the Japanese girls wound up going, and she brings a friend who is a Salvadoran. Vladimir really wasn’t digging the place, it was kind of upsetting him so him. Vladi and Nestor got up and walked a loop around. The girls wanted to dance and we had with already kind of staked claim at a table and so Beto got stuck
guarding the table. So I got to dance Reggaeton between a Japanese and a Latina for the better part of the night. So the delusional stareway to success really works. I had to put up with maybe a year of humiliation but not letting dignity get in the way of a good time wound up paying dividends. Me and Hiroko wound up dating long-term.
As an added bonus, when she came to the US and visited me she went dancing with me both in Fort Wayne and then Chicago, which put the girls even more at ease. Which led to them feeling more free to dance with me which meant that I kept improving in dancing. My body was still refusing to cooperate with the whole dancing thing. Like an obstinate toddler that’s being told that he needs to go to bed and he just starts pitching a fit because he’s tired.
Just before I left for El Salvador I met Liz at one of the open dances at the bar. And despite how terrible of a dancer I was and she couldn’t follow me at all we stayed in touch chatted on Facebook and whatnot, and she kind of became my replacement for Emily, who had moved to South Carolina. A woman I could go and dance with and not have any worries about. Liz is super cool and she was instrumental in helping me reel in my girlfriend Melinda after I came back from Brazil. We have gone on several road trips together now, and her son goes mountain biking with me and Melinda.
When I moved off to Brazil, Salsa also helped me make friends with some people from couch surfing. They left the big couch surfing meeting to go to a bar that had salsa night. I got invited to go with them. The fact that I danced salsa with them, and wasn’t attempting to use dancing as the first step in my seduction of them, must have made a big enough impression that I got to be pretty good friends with them. Knowing Salsa helped me learn forró (a Brazilian dance) a lot easier. I now mix in a lot of forró into my cumbia. Forró helped me learn Cumbia easier back home. So all in all Salsa even though it’s not danced much in Brazil help me make friends and learn Forrò.
So when I came back from Brazil, I had by that point got over the fact that you have to dance close and the girls are not going to be freaked out by it or think that I’m a perv just trying to get some rubbage . So my dancing improved, at this point girls actually started kind of enjoying dancing with me. This is something that still eludes my reasoning. Near as I can figure it music teleports you into parallel universe where there is no such thing as sexual-harassment. Example: gyrating very sexually is not socially acceptable, unless there’s music. Another example if you were to take the lyrics made a very popular song and say them to a woman you would wind up smacked and possibly in jail, but because the words are in music women will love those songs. Final example is it’s not socially acceptable to grind on another person, especially a stranger, unless there is music. I still try to keep it classy, and one of the reasons I like salsa is it can be sensual without being sexual. Sometimes though I’ve been stuck dancing to Reggaeton and things get a little out of hand.
Around this time I had convinced Melinda to come to salsa class. I had invited her and her boyfriend several times . But her boyfriend didn’t want to go and she doesn’t want to go without him. Eventually though, she started coming to the classes. And after her and her boyfriend broke up; she went with me,Liz, and some other people from the Salsa group on a road trip. That’s when me and Melinda started dating. I still claim that I’m following my rule because I didn’t meet her in the class I’m the one that brought her to the class. She had lived in Central America for seven years and is still active going to Central America on missions trips, so the whole Latin connection there undoubtedly helped me in my pursuit of her .
However I don’t really like the people who just use salsa class or dancing in general just as a way to hook up with people. So me and Melinda continue to go to salsa and we continue to learn new dances. And we have made and kept a lot of good friends. I’m still not a good dancer as compared to people who compete, but amongst the crowd that just likes to go out and dance I usually stay busy the whole night. I am often used as a example of what you can accomplish if you stick with it. And the Salsa group is responsible for probably 70% of my socializing outside the other activities I do. Very few of my jui Jitsu or wrestling friends get together apart from the sport. However the Salsa crew and I get together quite often.
I guess there’s a lot of possible morals of the story.1. Keep trying new things 2. Don’t let your pride get in the way of doing something that you enjoy. 3. If you work at it you don’t have to sit on the sidelines while everybody else is dancing. 4. Only you can prevent forest fires…. Not sure how that relates but I never know how it related to wrestling either and Coach would always yell it out in practice.
PS I still have to proofread this so if there’s some words that don’t make sense let me know and I’ll go through and edit it, try to make it make a little bit of sense.

Why they call it falling……

8 Jun
Flying with the parachute open, feels like a bubble floating on the breeze.

Flying with the parachute open, feels like a bubble floating on the breeze.

landing

About to land, Peter told me to land like this…I wasn’t in the fetal position the whole time screaming and sucking my thumb….promise I wasn’t

It’s like jumpin
It’s like leapin
It’s like walkin on the ceilin
It’s like floatin
It’s like flyin through the air
It’s like soarin
It’s like glidin
It’s a rocket ship you’re ridin
It’s a feelin that can take you anywhere

So why they call it fallin
Why they call it fallin
Why they call it fallin
I don’t know

But you can’t live your life
Walkin in the clouds
Sooner or later
You have to come down

It’s like a knife
Through the heart
When it all comes apart
It’s like someone takes a pin to your balloon
It’s a hole
It’s a cave
It’s kinda like a grave

So why they call it fallin
Why they call it fallin
Why they call it fallin
Now I know

-Lee Ann Womack

Okay so I’ve written then a airplane maybe 50 times including two times with Marshall Mullinax as the pilot and I’ve never jumped out of the plane. But I’m about to do that today.
I have an updated you over the last year because life kind of had some boring points for me. I did go to South Carolina with Melinda, and I want to New Orleans with the Salsa group but not Melinda, and I went to an 80s party with Toledo Salsa, me and Melinda wrote the hilly hundred or at least the hilly 70, and we’ve gone mountain biking several times. But none of these had your typical Dave likes stories although I did get to wear some pretty awesome pants to that 80s party. Oh and a lost a pedal, crank and all while mountain biking in South Carolina.
So my cousin Megan is really in to skydiving, that’s how she met her boyfriend that she’s with now. And she offered to pay for me to go skydiving, so any relatives the bar has now been raised on the trying to be my favorite cousin brother etc. it’s up there buddy. So now were on our way out there. Mom was busy couldn’t come, she had to shampoo carpets. Dad was busy too, he was up at the lake. Melinda made the drive with me, but she’s not jumping out of the plane evidently she has things to live for. So if that’s the case it’s hard to understand why she would ride on the back of a motorcycle I drive.
This event were going to supposed to be a big deal because instead of jumping out of the side of the plane we jump out the back. So it’s kind of like a ride down the road with the pick up truck just open the tailgate down and let stuff come pouring out.
Well The day starts off with me waking up at 8:30 to closed nostrils, not being able to sleep anymore because of an allergy attack. I had took my generic Claritin and some Sudafed and hope that the day will get better. Pretty much the day was nonstop allergy attack my sinuses were under siege from when I woke up until the ride home. Melinda’s allergies were acting up too, she tuffed it out and stayed at the field where the plane was blowing all the allergens in our direction.
Finally I got to go, one of the last jumps of the day. Megan’s boyfriend was strapped in me he was controlling the flight. And Megan jumped out with us. Because it was one of the last slides we got to go up a little higher, which adds to the Falltime. I was like a kid playing a video game that the game over his written across the front but they can’t tell they think there’s still doing everything. As were falling we see Megan and make her way over to her and I give her a high five. Then we do 360, and I really thought I was doing all of this…. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that Peter the instructor was totally the one in control. In fact I wouldn’t have even got out of the plane except for Peter was in total control.
I was a little freaked out when they open the door, we didn’t get to do the tailgate one because there were more people than what they expected. So we had like two minute instructional course inside the building and then Peter had like a 30 second review with me. Basically I just had to crouch towards the exit, and although my heart was pounding and I was on the edge of freaking out…… Before I had enough time to freak out Peter had pushed us both out.
They were having a dinner and concert hang out after that but due to both me and Melinda’s dogged allergies we just drove home.
It was an amazing experience. The free fall part I could take or leave, except it was cool to be out there with Megan looking at her face-to-face. But wants the parachute opens and your gliding like a feather in the wind that is cool. Luckily the parachute works fine so It was a happier ending then the song…..

skydive

Megan and Peter all 3 of us made it safely down….appears that it made me go bald though…..