Salsa class

My Salsa lesson: Tribute

I’ve just received my tax return, and so maybe that’s why I’ve been using my extra money for Latin American experiences.

In 20 minutes I’m leaving the house for a beginner’s salsa lesson, and I’m nervous. Since I woke up this morning I’ve been anxious about it. I guess that’s why I hate making plans. I think about the next appointment even if it’s six hours away.

The lesson will probably be great, but I pre-booked it last night (it was $35 which is a lot for an hour group lesson) because I knew that I’d talk myself out of going. Now, I won’t talk myself out of doing it.

I guess I hate learning when other people are involved. I love learning on my own, at my own pace.

As soon as my last pay arrived into my bank account, I ordered a Lonely Planet guide for Chile. I’d like to go next year. Most nights I write in my journal something different I learned about Chile.

During the week I decided to do a ‘swear jar’ and would put in a dollar for every time I mentioned Peru in the office. I mentioned it a lot, but then my colleagues said I should put in money if I hinted at it, or talked about anything remotely Latin American, or talk about Spanish, or speak in Spanish.

It became oppressive to myself and I decided a few days into it that I should stop. Peru and South America were experiences I had for 18 months, and became such a big part of me that my mindset, my passion, the way I see things, has changed. I’m more heartened and enthusiastic because I have this passion.

I chose this class because I wanted to get out the house, and I looked up a meet-up group. This was their next activity and I thought ‘perfect!’ I always wanted to learn Salsa in Peru but I knew I needed to learn Spanish first.

And I never learned Spanish. So I never learned la salsa.

Right now there’s a Latin dance party happening. The beautiful latina lesson coordinator invited me after my lesson. But I’ve decided not to go.

The lesson was good but my rhythm was off straight away. But I learned by swapping with partners. It was amazing what body language from each person could tell me, and about myself. I froze with the women around my age, but relaxed with the older women, who seemed to enjoy the moment a lot more.

“If you smile and just move you can get away with anything,” one of the women said by the end.

There are free two hour workshops on Sunday evenings. I’ll continue to go to them.

The lesson ran 10 minutes over, and to be honest, I was ready to go. I went into the car feeling dehydrated, foggy in the head, and I knew that I came out feeling anxious. I wasn’t ready for a dance party so soon.

It is possible that my journey right now is to discover my self-worth, without my job, my pay check, my clothes, or the opinions of women.

If so, I feel that to earn confidence requires having one true thing I can enjoy, without worrying about how good I am or how I appear to others. That’s the trouble with dancing. Its appearance based, and to not feel the rhythm or know the steps is to feel foolish.

We dance together


THE best moments in Peru are the unexpected ones. You cannot plan for them. Expectations weigh you down, and the unexpected remind you of your freedom.

The truth is that I expected to write a blog post about the Pope visiting my suburb next week. The preparations escalate. Instead I begin my focus on a dancing competition I witnessed in Trujillo’s CBD this morning.


I post my first video onto my blog and I hope it works. Fortunately for me I am tall and can lift the phone camera quite high. I much prefer the video of the next dance of a boy wearing an oversized sombrero as he competes with a woman who might be his older sister.



I was in the city to have a coffee with a fellow Australian. I had not seen Barb in weeks and I feel I can talk to her about anything. We both have much in common but she’s on a journey far ahead of me.

As we ate cake she shared with me one of those generic Facebook links that are designed to be click bait. This one was called ‘which promise should you make for yourself in 2018.’ She loved her promise but wanted to share it with me.

Life is short, live it.

Love is rare, grab it.

Anger is bad, dump it.

Fear is awful, face it.

Memories are sweet. Cherish them.

I should have left it there but I thought I would also click the Facebook link. I am unsure that I like it. I’m not sure I agree.

If you can’t dance in the rain with me, you will never be with me in the storm and if you aren’t in the storm with me, I don’t need you in the sunshine either.

But that’s a bit harsh. I can’t expect anyone to face a storm with me. Maybe I should assume I face each storm alone, to find that one time that I am surrounded.


The Pope visits next week to check the damage of ‘the child phenomenon’, which caused about 80 deaths and affecting more than 100,000 people in the flooding here early last year. The plaza in Trujillo has been closed off, a stage has been built there, and in Huanchaco there has been numerous roadworks and construction, murals are being painted in tribute to the Pope, and there are large posters everywhere – next to roads and on every Catholic church I have seen. Police presence is everywhere.


I guess there’s a little Catholicism in me. A little. He’s an 11-year-old boy who was scared of his math teacher Sister Julian, and this sister was a sweetheart and a source of comfort when he was expelled in Year 4.

But mainly I just admire the good work of the local catholic priest in Mount Isa, and his name is Father Mick. And I admire Brother Marty, who would do anything for the repeat criminals regularly struggling to understand the court system.


So I guess I can’t help but buy into the excitement with the visiting Pope. And I hope it’s a blessing for this city, and has a lot of meaning for those affected by the flooding last year. I wasn’t there when it rained, so I can’t be cynical. I hope the money spent on his visit serves a purpose. I hope it makes everyone happy. I hope everyone dances. I hope it’s okay I dance with them now that everything is okay. If everything is okay.