On social predjudice

“Why are you fun?!! You’re English!! …and I thought English girls couldn’t dance”

“uh..”

Gotta love Americans πŸ˜‰

Skiing, skiing, more skiing and the perils of saunas and after-skiing-parties

Yes.

I realise this post is months overdue. Naja, I suppose weeks is more accurate, but for some parts it’s enough weeks to be more than a month…

***

I can’t ski without hobbling about for days afterwards.

I asked my teacher back in February how long it takes to train your muscles to cope with walking after skiing. He said if I keep it up (ski every weekend) I’d be okay by about June.

Thanks buddy.

It’s not even as if it’s just my legs either. I would understand if it was. I mean, I ski with my legs.. Why my ribs, shoulders, bum, arms and hands of all things should join in the hurting party beats me.

***

I went skiing with D (my Ski-partner) and some of the luffly peeps from my Hauskreis on the 23rd Feb – another brilliant day πŸ™‚ – practised jumping some more, this time over much bigger ramps, and got more (occasionally unexpected) airtime. In case anyone’s interested, I’m getting better at it. By jumping I obviously still mean riding over big lumps of snow, Only these lumps were bigger and steeper and scarier. And sometimes there were several in a row. I only fell over a couple of times, and 2 of those were while getting off the lifts πŸ˜‰ We still haven’t quite got the hang of that yet.. But we’ll get there :).

I woke up more crippled (muscle ache due to skiing) than after any other ski-day this year.

The weekend after that I was ill, which was incredibly annoying, because the weather was beautiful, and cold enough for the snow to stay where it was.

Once I’d recovered, the snow was gone. Or at least too melted to ski on.

***

On the weekend of the 8th – 10th March I went as part of a group of 12 to some ‘real’ mountains – the Bavarian alps – for a couple more days of craziness πŸ™‚ Some of the crowd hadn’t ever skiied before, others had been once (last year), D and I had been practising lots, and the others were almost professionals ;). My teacher came too, which was very cool, even though he was too busy with the beginners to teach me much until the second day. A couple of snowboarders tagged along for the ride, but I didn’t see much of them over the weekend.

I practised jumping, and teaching, and skiing on one foot, and skiing backwards, and skiing with ‘bigfoots’ (which are very short, very fat skis, and pretty scary, but also good fun),Β  and skiing on ‘Neuschnee’ (virgin snow? the deep stuff no one’s prepared or skiied on yet) and riding on chair lifts.

= more brilliant days πŸ™‚

***

We were staying in chalets – very swish, makes the whole thing incredibly refined – with a sauna in the cellar. I’m not a big sauna-fan, but occasionally I give in to peer pressure πŸ˜‰ There was only one other girl (F) and she didn’t want to go by herself. Who am I to spoil her evening?? So I joined her and 5 or 6 of the others for an evening of being baked alive.

After roasting for 15 minutes or until golden brown (go with the 15 minutes, I don’t do brown, golden or otherwise, I go from white to red and back to white ;)) one is supposed to shower with cold water. That seemed like a very silly idea, but everyone was agreed it was the thing to do, and since I was doing the done thing, I figured I could at least try it out. I’m not thrilled at the idea of cold showers at the best of times, and after figuring out that the shower was directly in front of the sauna’s glass door I was even less taken by the idea. There’s something incredibly offputting about showering in full view of a group of guys you can neither see nor hear. While the others laughed at us, F and I made extensive plans for leaving the oven and showering without exposing ourselves: I’d leave the oven first, she’d follow directly behind me, one of us would hold a spare towel over the glass in the door while the other showered. Then we’d change roles. Only once we’d both finished, would we let the others out of the oven. They’d got in after us, so they were due a few minutes longer anyway. A perfect plan.

I’m not sure quite what it is about perfect plans that make them entirely useless and more open to sabotage than any other sort of plan, but there it is..

The door wasn’t very willing to be opened, despite me pushing as hard as possible. Admittedly, ‘as hard as possible’ wasn’t very hard, but what do you expect when I’m dizzy from standing up after spending 15 mins sitting in a box of 70 degree hot steam, and while holding my towel with the other hand? Honestly. Anyway, as unwilling to open as it had been seconds before, when it finally did agree to open, it sprung outwards, with me heading out faster than could be considered genteel. The floor outside, having been completely soaked by the previous showerers, was still wet. I slipped and went flying and landed on my back, losing my towel and stubbing my toe* on/under the wooden bathmat a couple of metres further into the room in the process.

YEAH.

That was exactly how I’d always wanted to get out of a sauna…

…not.

F followed me out and after we’d mopped up the blood, the rest of the plan went exaxctly as we’d planned it to.

The cold shower didn’t seem cold, and because we’re very strange people we went back for more baking once we’d stopped steaming and my head had stopped spinning.

We went out to look at the stars while trying to cool off the second time.

I didn’t even complain much when one of the guys trod on my stubbed toe and said it was my fault for putting my foot where he wanted to stand.

***

After the second full day of skiing, because it was a ‘proper’ (ish) ski-resort, we didn’t go inside to fall asleep with a hot chocolate and a cake like usual, we chose to jump about like mad things while someone sang, very loudly, with a microphone and a back-up CD but without knowing all the words. The someone wasn’t one of us, although I suppose I ought to admit we helped out… It’s rather amazing to dance about in a group of 12 people (amongst another 2 hundred or so) who are all high on mountain air and adrenalin and sing silly songs together, loudly, without anyone minding. Besides the singing there was tea, and gluehwein, and chocolate, and salami, and a lot of laughter.

At some point in the proceedings, it was decided that it would be remarkably cool to learn to spin people round 360 degrees and carry on dancing. I was ‘elected’ to be the willing victim (don’t ask why, I’m not sure either. I didn’t have any part in the discussion leading up to the decision and I think ‘willing’ is a little different, but it is true that I didn’t actually object very much).

The next thing I knew, I was flying through the air…

..until I wasn’t..

…and was lying on the ground instead.

Or more accurately, half on the ground.

The spinner had very kindly thrown himself underneath the other half of me, so I hadn’t actually broken anything. I also hadn’t been dropped on my head, which is apparently what most of the onlookers thought was going to happen halfway through.

His wrist and my elbow were bandaged up by the helpful fireman we’d brought with us, and once we’d driven back to the chalet, I was allowed (or forced, depending on how you look at these things) to lie on my back and rest while everyone else took it in turns to pack and tidy up or bring me grapes and sympathy ;).

In all, it was a great weekend, and I’m still mourning the end of the ski-season πŸ™

And as I said, I can’t ski without hobbling about for days afterwards…

 

*the kind of stubbing, which breaks the nail and makes a mess of the floor…

On dancing with my eyes shut

For some reason I can dance better with my eyes shut.

I’m going to assume it’s because when they’re open, they fully occupy my brain with all the visual imput, too selfish or attention-seeking to let my hands and/or feet join in. Once I close them, I’m much more aware of what it is my dance partner’s hands are telling me to do, and I’m much more able to follow his lead. He is also forced to lead better/more accurately, because I can’t see what is likely to happen next and position myself correctly. I am competely dependent on his guidance and don’t(/can’t) compensate for his mistakes πŸ˜‰ It involves a fair bit of trust, but you kind of have to trust the people you dance with anyway. I also find I don’t have to think so much – my feet go where they’re supposed to by themselves and leave me free to enjoy myself πŸ™‚

Today I kept them closed almost all the way through the evening and afterwards the guys all thanked me and told me it was good leading-training πŸ™‚

For all of you who don’t know: I’m learning to dance Forro which is a very cool brazilian partner dance. If you’ve never heard of it, look it up, and if there’s a club near you offering taster-sessions or parties, go to one. Even if you’ve never really liked dancing until now. It’s a lot less formal than most partner dances, and a lot easier to start. You can get involved with intricacies later. You also don’t need to take a partner with you because you all swap around and dance with everyone.

Anyway. I’ve been dancing at the weekly Forro-parties for almost a year now, on and off, and have recently started proper lessons. Today was lesson day. I almost didn’t go, but I’m glad I did πŸ™‚

On walking in the snow

If it’s snowing when you want to go home, remember to put your ‘real’ shoes back on before leaving the dance hall.

Especially if your dancing shoes have (on-purpose) holes in them.

Even more especially if you’re wearing floor-length trousers.

On late nights and strange men

– Thanks Ed Sheeran for the title πŸ˜‰ –

This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a week*. I can’t say I didn’t have time, because I had as much time as in any other week, I just used it for other things…Β  πŸ˜‰ I think it’s going to be a long one… πŸ˜‰ Admit you wanted one, and don’t tell me I didn’t warn you..

I haven’t been in bed before midnight since I can’t remember when, maybe last week sometime.. And men are strange. I’m going to provide some examples, but they probably won’t begin to cover the strangeness of men in general πŸ˜‰

***

I changed the workshop round on Monday. Most of the move had to do with the atmosphere in the workshop and my inability to work when distracted as well as wanting to create distance between myself and the ‘unhappy’ person (man) with whom I share my workshop..

***

I went dancing on Tuesday. I think I wrote about how I have a whole group of new people to get to know. As a woman, I tend to dance with men, which makes getting to know the women a little more difficult. Naja, at the end of the dance class, all the women vanished, leaving me and 3 of the guys to decide what we were going to do with the rest of the evening. There was the offer of meeting the intermediate danceclass for waffles, but they’d been there for an hour or so already and were on the verge of going home. The dance teacher had mentioned a bar/club/restaurant which has a Brazilian evening every Tuesday. We dance Forro, a Brazilian dance, so that sounded pretty cool. When we got there we were greeted by a rather underdressed lady who presented me with a coupon for a free cocktail; ladies only. I was a little disturbed by the idea, but maybe my imagination is too active. The others tried to get her to give them coupons too, but she wasn’t covinced by their feminine sides. The dancefloor was entirely empty as we finally made our way down the stair into the underlit bar. An even scantilier clad lady sat on a stool singing while a couple of guys accompanied her on a DJ mixing deck (???). A this point I wanted to bail out. I didn’t because.. actually I don’t really know why because.. I just told the barkeeper-bloke who appeared out of the gloom that we wanted to sit somewhere, and that there were 4 of us. It’s probably not fair to assume the others were too busy oggling to answer. It was pretty loud, maybe they didn’t hear him ask….

*grins* A short while later things started looking up. The others ordered burgers (Tuesday special) and one of them offered to buy me a non-alchoholic cocktail in exchange for my ‘surprise’ cocktail which the waiter kindly explained was premixed and therefore couldn’t be made without. I ended up with 2 half-burgers (the special involved buy one get one free and all 3 of them ordered them. Only one managed to eat both of his) in addition to my non-alcoholic contail. In return, I let myself be persuaded onto the dancefloor by one of them, where we were the only dancers. A couple of songs later, one of the others demanded it was his turn, and a couple of songs after that we all decided it was late and we should probably go home. And that was the end of another interesting day.

***

I spent a lot of time between Thursday and yesterday with a man with metre long dreadlocks who has been staying at my house for the duration of the film festival in the city. He’s a pretty awesome guy. Runs a film school for people who aren’t interested in making Hollywood style films. He knows EVERYTHING there is to know about films, and shared a minute fraction of that knowledge with me. I am now a million times more knowledgeable about films than I was before… He got me a film festival pass, and helped me decide which films would probably be worth watching.

***

I walked home last night and was asked, “Can I know you, please?” by a random stranger on a bench. I’m not really sure what that means. I know the Bible occasionally refers to sex as ‘knowing” someone, but I’d never heard anyone use it in normal conversation (as far as yelling at passing strangers counts as normal conversation) so I assume he was foreign (though I couldn’t say where from) and just wanted someone to talk to… I don’t particularly need more strange men in my life at the moment, so I smiled, pretended not to understand his broken English, and carried on home. He went back to his beer. Which is probably a good thing, considering.

 

* I’d almost finished it too, but left it in Drafts. I’ve finished it off (wasn’t much needed) and posted it today, 29.7.16, 3 1/2 years later, but it the ‘rightful place’….