One of my last blogs was dedicated to my newfound passion for dancing. Little did I know that when I returned from Thanksgiving weekend, I would be doing little else for the next two weeks. I am writing this blog on a rainy Friday morning as I wait for a break in the downpour for a chance to bike to school. I would much rather be sleeping though as I an utterly exhausted. Let me start from the beginning.
As you probably know by now, I have been participating in a program called The Samoa Challenge II, a group weight lose program which began in September and ends this coming Monday. The general idea of the program was to encourage women to lead healthier lifestyles through better eating and exercising. Once a week we met to discuss different topics in a seminar form and following the meeting we would do jazzercise (or modified aerobics for all you Americans). Because of our success with the jazz, my group was asked to prepare a dance to perform during the awards ceremony on Monday. This meant step up the dancing to make sure our routine was spotless.
A few weeks ago we started practicing twice a week, then two weeks ago we bumped it up to three. Last week, with only one week to go, the women asked if maybe we could meet every day as a final push to the finish and of course I said yes because it is great to see their positive attitudes towards exercise (or at least competition…!)
We met on Monday for the final “weigh-in” and of course, to “Waka Waka” as we now call jazzercise. Midway through the meeting I was thrown a surprise. My counterpart, Vern, approached me with a huge smile on his face: “Um Rachel, the women want us to help them with their dance for the competition in town.” I was confused. “What competition?” I asked. He told me that every year during the Christmas season all of the villages compete for “Best Jazzercise Routine,” and the winners get featured on TV for the entire month of December. Unfortunately the competition is on Monday at the same time as our ceremony, so our group will not be able to participate, but for the 40-50 women who are not doing our program, they were all eager to make a dance.
Of course, I signed on again to this task. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Like I said, it is Friday now. Tuesday I spent 4 hours learning how to make music mash ups with Garage Band (amazing program!) and Wednesday and Thursday I pretty much moved into the fale komiti from 12 noon till 10pm to rehearse dances on and off all day. When not dancing, Vern and I were busy organizing the uniform for our group to wear on Monday. Around 9:45pm last night as I was tensing up over all the work we have been doing I closed my eyes and let myself just zero in on the situation. Here I am in Samoa, leading an aerobics class till all hours of the night to a great mash up of Silent Night and Hey Soul Sister, and although it’s tiring now, in a year when I am no longer living this lifestyle, you can bet I will be thinking back with great nostalgia on these evenings. Just the thought of where I am and what I am actually doing was enough to let the funk pass me by and I was energized and excited for the rest of the evening.
Today I am taking a break from the rehearsals to go to town, but between school and my trip to town I will be printing 15 tee shirts with the Mali’oli’o logo for our ladies and tomorrow to compensate for my ka’a (my being a slacker pretty much), we are having two practices. While this is an intense schedule, the thought that America is just a few days away has been pushing me on, and in a few days, I can sit down on an airplane and just sleep. I am so tired. I can’t wait!