Live, love, ZUMBA!!

This weekend I visited Manila, the capital city of the Philippines for a Zumba instructor training course.  The people I met were so incredibly friendly and inspirational.  We had a great time, learning the four basic rhythms of Zumba; the Cumbia, Salsa, Reggaeton, and Merengue.  We also practiced choreographing different sequences and identifying Latin rhythms.  It is a lot more complicated than it looks, to design an entire Zumba class!!


Out to dinner after day 1:

 As a side reflection, the young Philippina girls were also amazed that I traveled by myself to Manila, since "it's so dangerous".  In addition, they were amazed that I only traveled with a medium sized weekend bag.

Living overseas in Shanghai has made me a less fearful of crime.  It still amazes me, two years later, that a city of 23 million has such a low crime rate.  Also, that police don't carry guns here, and there's still order and control.

Then again, maybe I've always been a little ignorant of the "danger" lurking in foreign cities. I recalled my first solo trip to California from New York at age 18.  

I traveled with two matching upright suitcases that were stuffed to capacity with frivolous things that I never used (poncho, anyone?).

The friend I was visiting was not very helpful in the navigation of the metro LA area.  She had no idea how to direct me from LAX to Rancho Cucamonga, a suburb outside of Valencia, which was not easily reached by public transit.

I remember standing in the parking lot of LAX, looking around for a city bus to take to Union Station, in order to arrive to her friend’s house, (who would then take me up north to this Rancho Cucamonga town).  I remember a older lady looking bewildered when I asked her how to get to Union Station via city bus.  She asked me if I was sure I wanted to take a bus.  I later realized why she had such apprehension to direct me to the bus stop!
Me at 18 in California, after finally arriving to Valencia!
The most enjoyable thing for me while traveling is taking mass transit, and seeing how local people move and operate in their daily lives.  It's funny to recognize the differences between cities--people in NYC freestyle rapping with earphones in, oblivious to those around them; people traveling with their bicycles on the BART metro in San Fran; people in love in Madrid; women-only subways in Japan.

We are united in our similarities more than our differences.  One of the most beautiful things about dance is its universal appeal and connections.  For that reason, Zumba has flourished in over 75 different countries, and has helped millions of participants stay active, happy and healthy. 

It's cold and rainy here in shanghai, but after being in the Philippines for the weekend, I am determined to spread the warmth of Zumba Love!!  I would like to give special thanks to the fabulous and inspirational instructor, Prince Paltu-ob and to all the lovely people I met this weekend- for their hospitality, for their happy spirits and for their positive energy!


paz.amor.felicidad <3

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