Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Atlantic Crossing - Day 7

The photo of the totally creepy painting which hangs in the entrance to the Kino Cinema on the ship, has nothing at all to do with this blog post.  Actually I suppose in a way it does because tonight I find myself once again annoyed and angry at being told, "If you are female XYZ place is not safe for you.  Don't go anywhere unaccompanied."  Which is pretty much what we've been told in nearly every port. 

Yep.  Every port is filled with people who want to rob you, kidnap you or steal your ATM card, oh and if you are female they want to drug your drink and rape you too. 

Part of the purpose of this journey is to see the world and understand different cultures, which is probably difficult to do if you are told over and over again that you should view every other human with suspicion. 

In any case, this is not actually what I want to write about.  What I wanted to write about is how grateful I am that I decided to teach belly dance on this ship. 

When I was first asked to teach I resisted.  I really wanted to step outside of my usual self while on this journey.  I didn't want to be doing the same things I did back home. I wanted a chance to be just Joie, not Joie who runs Dark Follies, not Joie the belly dancer, not Joie the teacher, not Joie the organizer...I just kind of wanted to be nobody for a while.   But they kept asking and I finally gave in.

There have been days aboard this ship that have been a struggle for me.  I feel very out of place here, I have few peers in my age group, and none of them are students and most disappear into the Fritz Bar on Deck 8 aft at the end of the day; a place students...even 43 year old non-traditional ones are not allowed.  While I have made some friends among the students I still spend much of my time alone.  I've had some days that I am really truly homesick, though that has been lessened during the crossing. I feel very comfortable on the sea and I spend much of my free time on Deck 9 just watching the water roll on by...

There is another time I feel okay, and that is when I am teaching belly dance.  There is a wonderful group of women who take my class.  We've had 8 classes thus far.  There are about ten regulars (8 students, 2 faculty) and most attend not only my class but the daily rehearsals we have for the upcoming ship talent show.   They are quite dedicated to learning this dance. 

Teaching has been my lifesaver, my soul's survival tool while here on this ship.  I look forward to every B day at 5:15PM and that hour of dance.When I am in the Kino, where this horrid picture hangs, every care, worry, sadness, or feeling of  longing just falls away the moment the class begins.  For that one hour I am completely content.   At the end of this trip I will be sad to see the class end, and it will be hard to say goodbye to the students who are learning the dance.  I hope to do something special for them before we go.  I am so grateful to them for being a part of this and I have never been more grateful for this dance. 

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