The last time I wrote something I had kicked off at the gym, needless to say, that didn’t last. I had clean forgot that whenever I went to a gym it was always for a cardio work out; Zumba, Afro dance or aerobics etc, it never was direct hardcore training. I don’t like it at all, and more so the last time I did hardcore gym I ended up undergoing 9 months of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to align my back muscles.

After a few days at the gym, I caught horrible flu and fell ill, I was bedridden for about 4 days and then spent another 7 days trying to get my strength back. Clear signs my body has had it. I took time off and flew back home.

The word was, “it’s so cold you need two heaters, two sweaters and socks to stay warm in the house in Nairobi.” So I rocked out of sweltering Dar es Salaam in a polo neck. A darn polo neck and sweated my butt on to a plane only to land hours later in sweltering Nairobi! Come on people! So darn annoying, I could smell myself when I arrived, I felt sorry for my pal who drove me home.

7 days sure go by fast, I barely was able to rest and my butt was back in Dar in a blink. It has been a struggle my body is fighting to keep going and my mind, on the other hand, is on shut down mode, it is super worn out.

I decided to find alternatives to the gym because you know what, this woman is not going back, so I took up swimming, much more relaxing in the evening on some nights and others, dancing. Dancing just fires me up.

Today was my first Tango class ever! I walked into the dance studio and found people changing shoes and I was wearing sneakers, awkward! I felt like I was imposing myself in a class of aficionados of Tango – in a beginners’ class. I felt like the new kid in school at the beginning of a school year in a new class, everyone’s new, but you are the odd kid from out of town, who dresses, speaks and has a weird lunch box that just yells “Odd Newbie”!

Then a man with long wavy hair tied in a ponytail dressed in Kikoi pants looking like he just rolled out of a hammock walked up to a lady and hugged her as I turned to take a swig of water, my ears were heating up and there were polka dots of sweat on my brow and cleavage, I was glad I did another dab of roll on. Because if I didn’t swear I would have cleaned out the class in this Dar heat.

Just as I put the water down on the table, and I looked to the front of the class at the laptop and speaker set up, this man walks up to me arms stretched with a huge Colgate smile, I couldn’t resist. I stretched my arms out pecked him on the cheek. And we introduced ourselves,

“I am Rose.”

“Juan” he pronounced his name with so much gusto, I thought to myself I can’t afford to mispronounce that after such a robust introduction. I giggled thinking to myself and blurted out, “Where are you from Juan?”

“Argentina!” Again the pronunciation, I just thought to myself this reminds me of Narcos. Those Spanish accents – spectacular! It reminds me of my friend Wanny.

“Perfect! Straight from the home of Tango! What a privilege.” I was genuinely excited.

“Is it OK if I dance in sneakers, I didn’t carry the right shoes.”

“Not to worry, we will start without shoes,” Juan reassured me with a big smile.

I peeled off my shoes and socks and was introduced to Tango footwork; honestly, it seemed simple when I watched it in movies, trying it seemed more calculated. But as I progressed I realized it was because I was being too clinical about the process.

As the class progressed, I had a new found respect for professional dancers, learning to listen to the music, allowing your emotional centre to guide you still respecting the rules of a specific dance. At the end of the class drenched in sweat and chugging the last bit of water I had, I loved every part of the class.

Juan and the rest of the class helped me feel Ok about my awkward first day of class applauding me as I made horrific baby steps almost stepping on him most of the time.

What I found amazing with Tango was the difference it makes in a single grip of your partner. A good grip of your partner allows you to actually exchange an interesting energy, not carnal, but kind of like waves which naturally guides both of you in the direction your partner is leading. It is quite something.

Next class, Afrobeat, time to shake my African self to remixes of my forefathers’ sounds. Can’t wait!