Friday, May 25, 2012

The paradox of time vs. things

Why is it that I took 2 pairs of shoes for a 2 month long trip through Iceland, France and Spain, and am taking 3 for a 2 day trip to Gorzów Wielkopolski (a town in Poland)?

How come I have more changes of clothes for this weekend than I had for those 8 weeks? @_@

Oh, 'cause I'll be sweating my cute butt off during all the Zumba activities in the coming 36 hours, that's why.

*     *     *     *     *

Am about to leave my place and go to my parents' place, as I'm getting picked up at midnight from a McDonald's parking lot 2 mins away from their flat. Then the estimated 7 hours in the car to arrive in Gorzów early in the morning, get breakfast and start a Zumba Gold training at around 8:30am. Get trained till 5pm or so and then immediately participate in a 3 hour long Zumba marathon, which I'll be kind of co-hosting for a song ("Sexy Movimiento" - very fitting, if you ask me). Apparently, there'll be an after party in the evening but I very much doubt I'll have and strenght left in me to continue the party in some club.

Originally, I was supposed to take another training on Sunday (Zumba Aqua beginning at 7:30am...) but have decided against it two days ago. The truth is, I registered for it only because it was the only training of this type in the following year, so I wanted to be one of the few instructors in Warsaw certified to give the class. I paid the 250$ it cost and felt pretty good about myself. Yet I started thinking - I neither really want to work at a pool, nor do I need another title. Too bad I realised it 4 days before the training, because now I had to block the money on my account and have two options: 1. ask for a refund and pay a fee of 75$ or 2. move the money to a different training and pay the fee of 15$. There's a Zumbatomic (for kids) training coming up in July and I know there's a big demand for such a kind of classes but when I started thinking about it, I'm not really sure I wanna be teaching kids. So there's no point getting a certificate for the certificate's sake.

Also, was planning to mostly try living off Zumba in the following months but I can already see that, although a lot of fun and quite gratifying when I see how much women like my classes, it's not enough. I need and miss intelectual stimulation. Having said that, I want to spruce up my CV and, well, for the first time in my life, look for a job. My attitude towards certain things has been changing so much lately, it's all been one big rollercoaster. However, I think a longer straight road's ahead, regardless of whichever this issue gets resolved in the end.  
Ideally, I'd love to be doing something part-time, so I could still have a decent amount of Zumba classes and be making my way up in the community, building a name for myself among Zumba lovers and hopefully be going places. But now I desperately need some challenges outside of the danceroom, so I'll take an interesting full time position without a blink.

Anybody knows an employer who could benefit from a flexible, ambitious,  eager to learn, well-travelled employee with great people skills, more or less fluent in 4 languages? Shoot me an email!

*     *     *     *     *

Food for the road and tomorrow's lunch is ready (couscous with raisins, cranberries, almonds and honey with milk/ rice pasta with avocado, surimi, fried sprouts and seeds+sesame), the huge 5l water bottle as well. All shoes ready and set to go.
Enough of the blabber, time to hit the road!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another kick ass day

aka my life still kicks ass!

First, my early morning class got cancelled, which is great - it's faaar away and very few women come to take part in it (I'm hoping it's the time, not the instructor, that puts them off), so it's not that much fun to lead. I didn't sleep in, though - was up before 8am, as I was running at around 9am.

I've done much longer runs than today's (the longest and most satisfying till now was around 15km) but I think I'm getting a bit protective about my knees (about time, I hear my friends shout out...), so I tend to back off the moment the slightest pain arrives. Thus, didn't do all that much running.

However, after getting some km and sunbathing done (it's crazy how strong the sun is at 9:30am already!), I headed to a shopping mall to get the rest of necessary groceries for tonight - I was hosting a "When aunt's away, the girls will play" all girls culinary night in. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to prepare anything interesting and that what I'd prepare would, well, suck but I guess it wasn't all that bad... Was planning on doing: 1) sweet couscous with delicacies and slices of peach on top and 2)  broccoli with beshamel sauce. So what came out was1)  peaches stuffed with couscous+delicacies, served with a peachy white sprakilng wine with added peach pulp and 2) mashroom-broccoli-garlic cream soup with a touch of sour cream and fried sunflower+pumpkin seeds+white and black sesame, served with home made crusty toasts. Oh, and small canapes with 1) basil and olive pesto with sun dried tomato and 2) shelal cheese with a drop of honey. 

The girls brought some good good goodies as well - rice pasta with teriyaki marinated chicken+sesame (yummm!), home baked cookies, carrot cake, caprese salad, couscous+fudge+coconut (Brazilian inspired), avocado inspired dip with chips, ice cream that was served with a fresh strawberry topping...

But before all this madness started, I gave my first time ever reggaeton class. I was a bit anxious, seeing how I've never really done "pure" reggaeton, if such thing exists, and I prepared an easy choreo to one of my Zumba songs. I arrive at the shool and it turns out a) the receptionist doesn't know there was a change of teacher, b) apparently there were some levels during the class and it was supposed to be the highest. There goes my easy routine... But then I decided to do what I think I do best - teach how to move and listen to music, instead of how to memorize steps. And it seems the girls enjoyed it a lot - a couple of them came up to me afterwards to tell me how much they liked it and that it was a great class. We ended up doing no choreo at all but practicing different moves, shakes, pops etc. I have to admit I was improvising all the way and was surprised to see how many different ways of booty/chest shaking and popping I could think of. So I guess that's good news, right? 

Finished the reggaeton class and had literally 40 minutes at home to stuff the peaches and clean out the flat, change and run for my Zumba class. I love the group I have today! Had two subs with them previously and already after the first one they were asking if I could take over the group. I couldn't then but end of last week the school's manager contacted me to ask if I'd be interested in doing it regularly - hell yeah! Today I could see they were already a lot more comfortable with me and themselves (although they were a cool bunch to animate from class one). When I brought them the (good) news of my taking over they were very enthusiastic and, actually, happy! Such a great reaction to get when you tell a group you'll be teaching them. We basically burned it today and left the danceroom having problems breathing. The coolest thing was the fact that they finally started giving in to my madness, were singing along and so on. Great great energy I could feed on and give even more back.

I then had 20 minutes to go back home, shower, change and be ready before the guests arrive. I made it just in time - was putting the dress on when the first phone call came (the key pad dowstairs is broken, so every time another person joined someone had to run down the 4 flights of stairs to open the door). I loved the evening, but seeing how it was a Wednesday and the starting time was set at 9pm, we all felt kinda pressed with time, so somehow the flow of the meeting was a bit off, with every next dish being rushed out of the kitchen one after another, without enough time for its appreciation. And there was a lot to appreciate.

The meeting had no theme when I was creating it, but then, as I was taking the quickest shower in the history of time, I thought how great it was to have short hair to wash in such a situation. And so it was decided - it was the official farewell for my hair - RIP!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Stage fright my ass

One of the reasons I never wanted to take part in any dance contest (apart from the sever lack of self confidence) was stage fright. I always used to tell myself, and all those who'd care to listen, that I didn't like being in the spot light, in the sense that I go out and show off. It was totally fine if I somehow found myself put in one, but not if I were to be the one to search for it.

Then I realised that, yet again, I was just repeating something I somehow one day decided was the truth and implemented that stage fright on myself. Because once I took a couple of minutes to analyze the thing, I saw how I would usually end up entertaining my friends when out dancing etc., which obviously meant I liked performing. And by the looks of it, I wasn't too bad at it either.

*     *     *     *     *

Last month I was contacted by a girl who offered me to do a dance gig at one of Warsaw's clubs. It later turned out that by accepting that offer, I kind of joined this hip hop ensemble, which now goes by the name of Warsaw Dream Team (I just realised how well it goes with my blog's tittle!). How it works, basically, is that we have those little stages that we go out on 3 times during a party, for about 15 minutes each, look pretty and dance pretty, or at least we try to. I was a bit nervous the first time we did it back in May, but I did thoroughly enjoy the experience.

The second time around, last week, I was not nervous a bit about performing. Maybe anxious about how my friends would react to my new hair, though not all that much - I felt great and that's what was most important. After I made it official that there was almost no hair left, a lot of people were urging me to put up a picture. I dragged it on on purpose, as I knew we would have professional  make up artist work on us this time, so a stage caption would be perfect for the hair debut. Man, do I like to be right. 

There were more photgraphers this time, also a guy recording the party and our dancing, so we could prepare a promotional video. And you know what? I didn't mind either!

So as soon as I got off the stage, I told Adam, the best dance and clubbing partner I've had, that I guess my stage fright was gone. Or was actually never real in the first place. I guess he agreed.

Oh, and a close up of the make up, 'cause it seriously kicked ass!

*     *     *     *     *

Today I was co-hosting a Zumba marathon in a town called Wołomin, about 25 km away from Warsaw. I've been a Zumba instructor for exactly a month on this day and been giving classes for 2 weeks, not that much experience I hear you say. Yeah, I think so too.
But as I've finally come to a point where I'm letting myself try out for things I wouldn't have in the past, as soon as I read they needed instructors to show some routines, I signed up. And boy am I glad I did! There weren't all that many people dancing with us, but the ones who were had some great energy and seemed to appreciate us and the whole event. Surprisingly enough, no stage fright at all, even without any experience in such things. 

Actually, I really really enjoyed it. 
I can't wait to be able to fill in a big room of people and show them how to have some good Zumba time!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A creative Zumba Saturday

The sun is back for the first time in about a week, so everyone is out and celebrating.

I spent this beautiful morning in a room where I was locked up with 6 other people for a 5 hour long product management training. I can't say it was the best or most informative training, as I seemed to know most of what was being said, but still it was nice to do some brain storming for other people's projects and for my own. Although I have to admit it looks as if I have almost all my ends covered and kind of reflected upon already. Strange. I always thought I had no idea about how to run a business or introduce a product but the theory seems to be there. Let's see how well I can actually make it work.

After the training, I set off to a really cool space called 1500m2, where they were holding a designer boutique bazaar type of an event called Love&Trade. A lot of really cool and creative pieces of clothing, bags, purses and accessories. Definitely worth a visit the next time they organize it. Hopefully, by then I will have made back at least a part of the money I've been putting into Zumba trainings and business related stuff, and will be actually in a place where I can consider buying something.

From there, I took a stroll to the Royal Route passing through Foksal street, which in turn was home to some kids and arts related little festival, with children painting all around, some works already put up on fences and buildings etc. So much fun and positive energy to go from one creative space to another! I've been craving my first Soprano ice cream of the season, so paid my dues waiting in the line to get one. 
It was finally time to get back home and as I was approaching the Royal Castle Square, I heard loud singing and saw a lot of people wearing the same red tshits with some white writings on them. I got closer, and sure enough, it was a religious event. They put up a stage just in front of St. Anne's Church and were performing along with some guy screaming "Allelujah" and "Jesus is worth it" from time to time. The good thing about it is definitely the fact that there was a stand distributing, what seemed like, free food - there were lots of homeless people around munching on bread and sausages. Oh, and the folks' tshirts said "Jesus has a plan for your life" and then something else. Cute.

*     *     *     *     *

When it comes to my life - tiring, I'd put it. I've had quite a lot of subs of Zumba classes this week and had to commute a lot. Like a lot lot. For the first time, I'm considering getting myself a Kindle or a similar device. Not only will I be fit from all the Zumba going on, I'll also be well-read! As I'm new on the instructor market and want to make a brand for myself, I'm trying to get out there as much as possible, which means taking subs in all crazy parts of town. Today I've a sub as well, in about an hour, later am thinking about dropping my things back at the flat, repacking (spending the night at my folks' place) and going to catch the last hour of an open-air Zumba marathon, before hitting a club for a Zumba party. I guess you see the key word in my world lately?
The good part is I can eat all I want - I'm almost happy with how the body looks like right now and don't really wanna loose all too much weight, so have been stuffing myself with carbs. Not too healthy but at least I won't get a totally bony bum. It already hurts to sit when the chair's too hard. 
*le sigh*

Also, tomorrow I'll be taking part in a Zumba marathon, in a town outside of Warsaw called Wołomin, but this time as a co-host. I think it should get me a bit stressed out - I'll be leading a public Zumba event after 3 weeks from getting certified and after 2 weeks of actual classes. Somehow, however, not that much freaking out going on over here. Probably because the feed back after my classes has been pretty kick ass so far and I figure my teaching won't get that much worse overnight... Apart from that, I got my first regular dance classes scheduled, I'll be teaching reggaeton in one of Warsaw's salsa schools. Next weekend I'll be away, taking two more trainings in Gorzów Wielkopolski, so I can do Zumba Gold and Zumba Aqua classes. The first week of June I'll be in Prague, the Czech one and not on the other side of the river, joining a big fitness convention with Beto, the creator of the Zumba madness, present as well.

*     *     *     *      *

I was planning on getting a nap before hitting that sub class but seeing how it's 6pm already and it starts at 7pm, I might not make it.
Shower it is then.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another one bites the dust

Magic week, I mean.
Another magic week was here and my jaw still hurts from smiling.

Actually, now that I wrote it, I realised there were two magic weeks already this month! So basically, the whole of May has been magical!

I am going to take a shower and go to sleep now, as I've a morning Zumba sub in a far away part of town, but I'll make sure to write down all the cool things about May in the following days. 

Oh, and the best part? Seems like those magic weeks are here to stay, at least for the next tewo weeks.

Though I guess I shouldn't jinx it...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gone mad

I have.

Oh yes, there is a good story behind it. 
Just that I promised not to make it public, at least not now.

But when I do, it's gonna be awsome.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Logo and flyers needed

Yep, it's official - I signed a contract with an Academic Entrepreneurship Incubator (AIP SGH) and starting from yesterday, I've offcially a tiny part of their company to govern and lead away.

But now I need to decide on a final name, get a logo and start branding up...! Yay! :)

I have a couple of ideas but not sure yet what will come out of them. Logo-wise, I mean. Then again, business-wise as well!

*     *     *     *     *

Starting a new class today, in Salsa Factory - one of the salsa schools here in town. I'll be teaching there twice a week, Tue and Fri afternoon. Am excited to see what their groups are like and what energy we can build up together.

Wed and Fri I've my other two regular classes, in a joint called Energy Fitness Ursus, which is, unfortunately, quite a way from my place and has some financial practices regarding instructors I'm not all too happy about,  but let's see how things go.

At the same time am mosted excited about the individually organized classes I'll be giving, starting with the one on Bemowo next Mon, and then following with Bielany and Żoliborz on the 21st and 22nd of May. I so hope I manage to gather up some fun groups! 

As for tomorrow, need to think of a routine for my Thu evening dance class

*     *     *     *     *

Now, time to get ready and go about putting up some posters, signing contracts with two schools I'm taking space from and well, design those flyers asap, as I still need to distribute them in local businesses. Have already done a round near the joint on Bemowo and business owners (hair salons, medical ones, some groceries, clothes stores) were kind enough to let me advertise through them. Hopefully it works out! 
Someone's got bills to pay and food to buy!...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sweet dreams

Be it day or night dreaming. 

 All men dream: but not equally. 
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity:
but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. 

T.E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Warsaw loving

Do you like your hometown?
I for sure never used to.

The first time it started changing a bit was when I lived in Brussels. I'd be coming back to Warsaw every month and every time I'd notice a little thing here or there that I missed or discover something new I liked. There were also bigger advantages of the city I started appreciating, f.e. how awsome and efficient public transportation in here is. I always used to be surprised when I heard a foreigner tell me they really liked my city but after a couple of months of not living there, I wasn't any more.

The fact that I grew up in Bemowo, a hood quite some way from the city center, a pretty poor one when it comes to entertainment and local architecture, never helped Warsaw's cause. However, having moved to the Old Town in October, I started enjoying the capital in a new and more relaxed way.

And recently I've been falling in love with Warsaw, more and more all the time.

*     *     *     *     *

Today was a most perfect day, which was to be expected after yesterday. I think I used up all my bad luck reserves for a while!

Together with a bunch of people from WITC, the club I've started running with (oh, by the way - did I mention I did 15km on Tuesday? ), and some other friends we met up at one of the city beaches <yes, we have natural beaches by the river in the city center, how cool is that??> for a 'beach bbq brunch'. I didn't expect many people, as the event was created only yesterday and there was a picnic event organised by an expat network at the very same time, but we were quite a group in the end. Everyone brought something to share with others, we had a couple of types of salads, a lot of different meats, chips, fruit, and loads of beer. We stuffed our faces with food, played football and the guitars, had many a laugh. The weather was simply amazing and it trully felt like being on holiday! The ones who stayed behind till around 7pm moved to a beach bar where we chilled some more on comfy sofas and chairs, while sipping on our drinks of choice. Looking for a delicious refreshing drink? I totally recommend a sorbet drink at the Big Buddha Beach bar!

*     *     *     *     *

Before heading off to the brunch thingy, I met up with Weronika and Fernando, as the graphic designer was kind enough to offer his help designing my new Zumba poster. I can't say how grateful I am for his time and talent, and how much I love what he did!

So, if you happen to be in Warsaw and want some Zumba - hit me up! I'll also be posting updates on the new Zumba blog (still to be worked on), such as special offers, 'bring a friend day' etc. Hope to see some of you somewhere along the way!

*     *     *     *     *

Today Warsaw was even cooler than on your regular Thursday. 

3rd of May is our national holiday, the so-called 'Constitution Day'. This year we were celebrating the 221st anniversary of our first constitution's adoption, which happens to be the world's second oldest document of such type. You can read more about it here

Seeing how:
1. the 1st of May is a day off as well, many people took Mon, Wed and Fri off, which made for the longest 'weekend' possible - a 9day one;
2. the weather has been beautiful during the whole week,
the city center was literally flooded with people. Especially the Old Town, already busy in the spring/summer season anyways, now even more so as the main celebrations were held here. 

I managed to get myself stuck in the crowds carrying a big bag, a guitar and a 6l bottle of water while on my way to the riverside and as much as I enjoy crowds, it got pretty annoying. However, it was a completely different story when I was coming back home at around 8m - I got off the taxi in the middle of the Royal Route, because it felt like a waste to deprive myself of a walk on such an evening. Lots of flags, a light show on the Presidential Palace, hordes of smiling people, music coming in all forms from every corner, fire dancing to live drums - dreamy!

I haven't actually almost ever posted any pictures from Poland, so here's to start making up for it:

(actually home to the authors of the 1793 constitution)

 flags all around
 the moon overlooking the Royal Route
 the first sneak peak at the Castle Square
 the new National Stadium, built for the 2012 Euro Championship

and we're back at the Castle Square, saying 'hi' to King Sigismund III Vasa, who moved the capital city from Cracow to Warsaw back in the 16th century (the column he stands on is one of the three most popular meeting places of Warsaw)

some impressive fire dance
(I overheard that guy telling one of the onlookers that it took a year of practice to even think about setting those on fire)

 on the way to the Old Town Square

To see what follows after the Cathedral, check out the video I posted on fb.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Just be over already, will ya?

Wow, this was one unlucky day.
You know how people always go about talking how Friday 13th means bad luck? Well, from now on May 2nd sure does!

*     *      *      *      *

Couldn't sleep well because I was worried I wasn't well prepared for my first Zumba class. I was waking up regularly from 2:30am (went to sleep at 1am) till 6:40am (overslept an alarm clock set at 5:30am to repeat the routines). I quickly got ready and set off to the far far away land called Ursus (a pretty outskirtish hood in Warsaw) and arrived there only to find out, from the very-much-surprised-to-see-me receptionist, that my class was cancelled.

Got back home and took a quick nap to compensate for the Zumba lack of sleep, got up and went through the routines again - was a sub in one of the fitness clubs in Mokotów (another hood) in the early evening. On my way there I broke one of my fav shoes (pretty green flower-shaped sandals I bought in India). I arrived at the club to find out I wouldn't be able to play my music, as they didn't have a cable I could connect to my computer with, nor a usb port. So I was left with 8 songs from the official Zumba CD and one routine (I was planning on using only the first song from the CD). But then nobody showed up, so I guess the problem was solved.

I later met with Olga for some chit chat and groceries (it's a national holiday tomorrow, so no stores open) but needed to take out cash, as the discount market I was going to doesn't take cards. We were talking vividly while I was putting in my pin code and making the transaction, so I didn't really read what the ATM was telling me. I started paying attention once there was no money coming out, even though I had already finished the operation and had my card back. At frist I thought the ATM decided to con me but then after actually reading what it said, I realised I was just introducing the wrong pin code. Or the wrong card, whichever you prefer. Doesn't change the fact that I did't remember this card's pin (I specifically changed cards before leaving home, so I would have the one I rememebered the pin to. yay me).

After finally getting back home for the night, I decided to cook rice for tomorrow's salad (I'm meeting some friends at one of Warsaw's beaches [yes, we have beaches in the city center - I know!], so if you're around and wanna join - shoot me an email! ), as to save time tomorrow - I wanted to add long grain rice, which usually takes ages to get ready. I have a meeting early in the morning and no idea when I'll be back. The BBQ brunch starts at 1pm, so I didn't want to have to waste an hour waiting for the rice. So, I put it on and came online to pay for another Zumba training and somehow got so distracted by the Internets, the rice managed to turn black and smelly. I don't think anyone'd appreciate it in that salad any more.

*     *     *     *      *

Ok, it's 0:10am, May 3rd.
I'm not unlucky any more! 
Well then, time to get some sleep.