I headed to the first salsa class of the semester on Wednesday night super excited to show off my moves, but to my dismay I was thwarted by an island off the coast of Florida.

The intermediate class was scheduled to follow the beginner class, so I started with the beginner class to hang out with some of my friends.  I was super confused when we kept doing the basic step in place (not stepping forward or back on certain beats as I’m used to), but I assumed it was for simplicity.  It took until halfway through class when we partnered up and still stayed in place when doing the basic step in closed position for me to realize that this class teaches cuban salsa, not the LA style that I’m used to.  Oh.

I stayed for the intermediate class to see if I could catch on quickly enough, but within the first 5 minutes the teacher had called out a series of Spanish words that apparently correspond to basic moves that I didn’t know.  On the bright side, I wasn’t alone and about half of the others were confused as well so he went through them a second time a bit slower and they were easy enough to pick up, but I still couldn’t connect names to moves which forced me to really pay attention to the guy leading.  That’s also probably a good thing considering my backleading tendencies when dancing to choreography (sorry Irving).  But I survived, and by the end I was able to follow some of the more experienced guys pretty well, although I’m pretty sure my arms have never been that tangled up before.

On Thursday my friend Morgane from Caltech was in Paris with her boyfriend so we met up and walked around the Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre for a bit while chatting.  Warning: Apparently there are a lot of naked old people on the beaches in Croatia.  We then headed to the 5e arrondissement (where there are a couple of French universities) to meet up with another friend for happy hour and then an all-you-can-eat sushi dinner.  Apparently the boys didn’t eat all day in preparation for this moment.  I, on the other hand, was not as well-informed and had eaten both breakfast AND lunch, as well as an afternoon crêpe (because Paris).  I guess I’ll know for next time.