This evening was the first 拉丁套路 (Latin Routines) dance class. I met a Russian girl, Arina, at the West Gate and we went to check it out. By “come at 6 to register”, they actually meant “class starts at 7”, so we grabbed dinner in the meantime. I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk with Arina (in Chinese). She’s really quiet, so at first I thought she had some mysterious grudge against me, but she’s actually very nice.
We spent two hours learning the basic steps of the rhumba, and then I hit the end of my attention span. I started talking to one of the students who was helping with the class. It was really encouraging to hear that she started dancing three years ago, in this class, with this teacher.
She also helped me learn some useful anatomy: hips, shoulders, waist, etc. My favorite was learning that neck, wrist, and ankle share a common word (脖), which means connection. Anatomy is so much easier in Chinese!
Another Chinese note: I finally have a middle name that I like! My Chinese name is a transliteration – 马利亚 – so the characters don’t have special hand-picked meanings like “beauty” or “intelligence” or anything. However, every now and then I learn new Chinese words that use the characters of my name, especially the middle one, 利. First was “fluent” (流利), and then “recycling” (再利用). ‘Spelling’ in Chinese consists of giving examples of words that contain the desired character, so I love ‘spelling’ my name for Chinese people. I get to say “流利的利”- basically, “the 利 from ‘fluent’.”