Bueno, solía necesitar tanto tu amor Entonces vine a vivir con eso Últimamente tengo un sentimiento lejano Y todo comienza de nuevo Oh si, estoy bien Solo me siento un poco solo esta noche Estoy bien la mayor parte del tiempo Solo me siento un poco solo esta noche -The Apartment Song, Tom Petty (Google Translated)
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.
This is part of my playlist that I listen to on my Iphone every day, when I am on the bus early in the morning and on my way home from work.
I use it to escape the daily routine, but I cannot understand most of it. Still, a little bit more occasionally I reach a breakthrough with a word, even if it’s only to tell it apart from another noise.
- Bella (Wolfine): Beautiful
- Tres (Libido): Three
...Love me, lie to me, touch me,
Think of me, miss me, hold me…
After a day without you, I can die,
Tell me I lost my reason.
- La Ruta del Tentempie (Charly Garcia): The Route of the Tentempie
…And I will not wait
And I will not run
And I will not win
And I will not lose…
- Estadio Azteca (Andres Calamaro): Aztec Stadium
- Mayores (Becky. G. and Bad Bunny): Greater
…I like them older
Those we call gentlemen,
The ones who open doors and send flowers…
- Hojarascas (Kraken): Fallen Leaves
…I’m not a puppet that gets tangled in your fingers,
No longer pretend,
Because I feel more compassion…
- De Musica Ligera (Soda Stereo): Of Light Music
…I will not send (her)
Ashes of roses
Nor shall I avoid
A secret contact…
- Matador (Los Fabulosos Cadillacs): Matador
…If we talk about killing, my words themselves kill
It hasn’t been very long since the Leon Santillan fell
And now I know that at any moment I am going to be next.
Ahh matador…. Ahh matador.. Where are you matador?…
- No Me Dejan Salir (Charly Garcia): They Do Not Let Me Out
I’m green, they will not let me out
I’m green, they will not let me out.
I can not start, I can not leave,
I can not feel love, that feeling….
It’s time to commit, to focus truly on the culture I live in if I wish to be a part of it. A colleague and friend from Colombia, Nox, is as good as I am at speaking English. He claims to dream in his second language.
Nox said rather bluntly to me that I actually need to make an effort learning Spanish. I was taken aback by the bluntness at first, except he was correct. I was only frustrated because I didn’t want to commit. Colleagues had given me a list of Latino American songs I should listen to weeks before, and I didn’t. I never practised my vocabulary. I kept forgetting to use Duolingo.
Music has been my escape. I listen to it at the gym, on the way to work, at lunch, and on the way home, and whenever I walk anywhere. And that’s the trouble. Not only have I isolated myself in public, I am absorbing all the songs I already know and heard a thousand times, in English.
On my new phone I downloaded the recommended music on Apple Music (I’m so bad with technology that two months ago I hadn’t heard of Apple Music, or comprehended the benefit of listening to music on the phone), and the recommendations are all I have been listening to this week. I
My favourite song is from the band Kraken, recommended to me by Nox, and when I first heard them I thought “where have you been my entire life? I have spent years listening to bands in English that have your same style but aren’t half as good.”
The song Sobre Esta Tierra (On This Earth) has a paragraph that I absolutely love, which I will quote in Spanish, and then in the Google Translate version:
que dan la vida, por un ideal
hay otros que son solo herida
porque son, su propio puñal.”
I understand this to mean (through Google):
“There are men, that give life, for an ideal. There are others who are only hurt because they are, his own dagger.”
I listen to this song constantly, not understanding most of the words, but practising the pronounciation. The more I listen to it the more the sound of each word stands out to my ear. It’s no longer blabber.
That’s number 1, but the other four songs so far would be:
2) De Musica Ligera, by Soda Stereo. (I could have sworn I’ve heard either the band or a cover when I was out drunk one night. I love it.)
3) Flaca, by Andres Calamaro.
4) Nuestros Nombres, by Heroes del Silencio.
5) Casate Conmigo, by Silvestre Dangond and Nicky Jam.
I’m starting to get a taste, or a sample, that there is far more to art in the world than that which can be understood in English, and to truly move beyond my identity (of new clothes, or a new job) then a new language is the key.
The song Despacito is a source of inspiration to me, and the other night I heard it played on a pan flute.
Last year I entered a modelling competition. The competitors had to practice how we would arrive on the stage and in what order, and with which movements. This is how I knew the song Despacito. It was the song being played during our routine.
The moments walking on the catwalk to a full room of supporters was one of those powerful moments I will always remember. I was the least toned among the competitors and it felt embarrassing competing among them for four days in Cairns, and when I returned home I promised myself I would work hard so I could compete in the future.
For months I ate a strict protein based diet, quit alcohol, and trained at the PCYC gym six days a week. It seems to be mandatory for V-Hits to be played in any gym and Despacito seemed to be airing the most.
When I would hear the familiar “Sí, sabes que ya llevo un rato mirándote
Tengo que bailar contigo hoy” while lacking motivation, or struggling with weights, I would flash back to the catwalk. I remembered what I needed to do.
The gym was important to me because it helped me focus mentally, and it reminded me I could care for myself. When I moved to Trujillo, Peru, I joined a gym and it’s one of the best things I’ve done here. It gave me a sense of control that I really didn’t have with many other things.
Despacito has become a siren to me when I’m in a foreign country surrounded by different music and language. Sometimes it plays in a taxi, or at a shopping centre, or on a friend’s phone. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not my favourite song. I don’t listen to it frequently. For example, I’m listening to Amy Shark and Dope Lemon on repeat (and tried The Wombat’s new album that just came out but I’m just not a fan). But Despacito is about hearing something familiar tied to my past memories. It’s an encouragement. It reminds me that I have a wonderful future, and that I have to take care of it.
The other night a busker visited the hostel my friends and I were drinking at, and he played the song on a pan flute. My phone was dead so I’m using Lutie’s video that he’s been kind enough to share.
I hope you have a song that encourages you as well.
I SAY goodbye to Huaraz. I have been there for most of two weeks and have attracted much attention on the street for carrying a camera worth almost the average annual salary, zoned out listening to my Ipod shuffle.
For the first time in a long while I am fatigued with words and so for this post between the photos I will use lyrics from songs I have been listening to while out in Huaraz.
“Can I just fight for the winning side
And feel that I’m building a
Home and a life to behold
Till it’s robbed from my sight?”
-Sjamboksa, Gang of Youths
“Now well, when I was young, we connected
When we were little bit older, both sprung
I got issues and chips on both of my shoulders.”
-End Game, Taylor Swift ft Future and Ed Sheeran
“We need change, we need it fast
Before rock’s just part of the past
‘Cause lately it all sounds the same to me.”
-Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio, The Ramones
“I’ll be animating every night
The grass’ll be greener on the other side
And the Vampires and Wolves won’t sink their teeth.”
-Tokyo, The Wombats
“Triple dj let the bass drum go like – Bam, Bam, Bam………Here’s Johnny!”
-Here’s Johnny, Hocus Pocus
“If you fade out without me
Will you know all about me?
If you fade out without me
Will you know all?”
–My Heartstrings Come Undone, Demon Hunter
“Here we go again, another drink I’m caving in
Stupid words keep falling from my mouth
You know that I mean well.”
-Can We Dance, The Vamps
“And I felt I was in a trance
And my spirit was lifted from me
And if only someone had the chance
To witness what happened to me.”
-Dance of Death, Iron Maiden
“Go forth and suffer for your art,
-If it’s all you look for, you will always find the dark.
-Suffer, The Smith Street Band
“Nothing’s gonna hurt me with my eyes shut
I can see through them
I can see through them
I am drawing pictures, I’m evading.”
Eyes Shut, Years & Years
“I’m trying to keep up with the latest trends
You pulled me up so quick that I got the bends.”
-We Spend Too Much Time Together, San Cisco
“I been running Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday…….
What have I done?”
-Police On My Back, The Clash
“What’s been happening in your world?
What have you been up to?”
-Snap Out Of It, Arctic Monkeys
“For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside,
That it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive
I wanna find one face that ain’t looking through me
I wanna find one place.”
-Badlands, Bruce Springsteen
“And here we go, life’s waiting to begin.
Life’s waiting to begin.”
-The Adventure, Angels & Airwaves