Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2011 to all!!

I hope you all enjoyed the festivities.  I spent Christmas afternoon in bed after spending the morning chucking my guts up from what I can only assume was food poisoning from the night before.  Possibly the worst Christmas ever.  But it only lasted a couple of days so I'm planning to enjoy the rest of the season.

The Portuguese learning has been a little lax over the holidays and is happening sporadically.  I'm formulating resolutions and goals for 2011 and daily Portuguese learning is on the list.  Plus a little cultural immersion, food, books and film.  This will be yet another year where Amazon continue to bankrupt me.  However my feet remain firmly planted in Cuba, so Wednesday night Salsa beats Tuesday night Samba every time!

Monday, 20 December 2010

this is hard

In general I'm good at compartmentalising

As long as I have a suitable distraction

Portuguese, Dancing, whatever

But I'm having a hard time tonight.

I feel sick

My chest is tight

I'm choking on swallowed curt one-liners

Nobody to hear them


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Samba aint easy!

I wore a few more clothes than this!
In the spirit of embracing all things Brazillian pre-trip (and because Nayz has been talking it up for months) tonight I checked out Brazilian night at Bar Salsa.  Fuelled by cheap Caiparinhas* (check spelling!) I attempted the free samba class. 


For future reference, samba is WORK.  You wanna know why Brazillian women have such fantastic bums?  SAMBA.  Good God y'all my legs are killing me.  It's so fast, and a hell of a lot of effort, but the most fun I've had at Bar Salsa for a very long time. Without sounding cheesy the music is actually uplifting, it put a smile on my face and an (extra) wiggle in my step.

After the class and a bottle of water to rehydrate we attempted some Forro (pronounced For-ho if you're bad).  Forro looks a lot like salsa, but it is very important to realise that it is not.  Otherwise you will step on your partners toes.  And if your partner is a hot but impatient Brazilian guy, this could be a problem, theoretically.

(Please note my repeated use of the word "attempted".  Nayz is awesome and knows what she is doing.  I could use some (a lot) work - but it was my first class so I'll allow myself.)

The night continued with a private introduction to Kizomba, a style from the Dominican Republic that I have been meaning to learn for ages .  It didn't fit the Brazilian theme but it fit with the music so I thought why not give it a try?  I met a guy who does Kizomba lessons in South West London and he taught me the basics.  Apparently in Kizomba your hips are supposed to move back and forth and not side to side.  This is DIFFICULT if you are a bonafide salsa chick like me, so I'm not even going to pretend that I knew what I was doing.  Kizomba is also danced ridiculously closely.  Head to head, chest to chest, arm to arm, belly to belly, groin to groin and leg to leg.  Usually this would be a huge problem for me, the grinders in Bar Salsa are legendary, but my impromptu teacher didn't have the seedy, crotch thrusting vibe that usually concerns me, and I didn't feel dirty afterwards - progress!

I'll definitely be back next Tuesday - and practicing Samba steps any chance I get!

*This drink consists of lime, sugar and copious amounts of rum

Monday, 6 December 2010


Maybe I've just picked a language and a country out of the blue, but this week my focus is Brasil.

This is an improvement on my focus last week which was revenge (a dish I rarely find satisfying served at any temperature).  Luckily this was short lived.

I want to travel to Brasil this summer as a graduation present to myself.  When I'm there I want to be able to speak and understand people, rather than remaining in my English speaking tourist bubble.  Hopefully my linguistic genius of a friend will be accompanying me, but relying on someone else to speak for me for a month is not my style.  So I'm about to start learning Brazilian Portuguese. 

It's an emotional moment for me, with guilt being the prevelent emotion.  I started learning Spanish before I went to Cuba and actually managed to speak pidgin Spanish (Spanglish) if you will, by the time I left.  Unfortunately 5 years later I have forgotten everything except "hola, que tal".  I also recently have been trying to update my year 9 level French, and with the ideal base in the South of France with which to practice, it's pretty embarrassing that my skills remain sub par.  Currently I'm a Jill-of-no-trades but I'd like to be master of at least one!  And maybe starting something new, where I already enjoy the film, music and dance of a culture will motivate me.

The plan so far is to use a well known language course which is completely speaking and listening focused (the most difficuly parts!) and this should take me 3 months to complete.  Based on other peoples' experiences of the course I should be able to understand a local news broadcast when I have finished the 3 months and have a decent conversation.  After that it's up to me to maintain and increase my vocabulary and grammar, practice reading and writing and plan my trip!

I have approximately 7 months.  It's plenty of time! (*gulp*)

Here goes lesson 1....

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Moving day part 3

Before you scroll down for parts 1 and 2 let me just establish that they do not exist, not even as drafts.  Any attempt to search for them will be fruitless and dull.

I moved today into my own little studio flat nearish the river, walking distance from an underground station, cinema and 24 hr tescos and cycling distance from uni (these were important criteria on which the decision process was based).

Today also coincidently marks the start of my descent into brokeness.  You may have guessed that the two are related.

I'm hoping that the expense will be worth it - so far my neighbours have shown no psychotic tendances, no antisocial behaviour, and no "in your business" over friendliness.  Its peaceful.  There is a park opposite the block leaving me no excuse not to get my ass into gear and run. I've definitely been slacking and its beginning to show.

So I'm gonna be keeping my eyes open for money saving deals, scamming dinner invitations off unsuspecting friends and family, and definitely spending every sunday at Mum's for that roast and apple crumble goodness (you see why the running is necessary).

Hope this goes well!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

I'm baaaaaack...

...although since it has been so long I think that it is safe to assume that my return won't be heralded with much pomp and circumstance.

I missed this blog as a tool for venting about the mounting frustrations of life, and celebrating the good things and good people that I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by.

So it is once again operational, when something interesting happens you'll be the first, second, on the list of people that should know :)