I like to Zumba Zumba

Zumba! (photo courtesy of Mhyla B)

Zumba! (photo courtesy of Mhyla B)

On Tuesday, I went to the YWCA in Myeongdong to attend a free Zumba class (promotion for a new class at the YWCA location). When I arrived (wearing sneakers), I was told to change into my “indoor shoes” before entering the fitness area where the class was being held. Um… what? I wore my only pair of sneakers TO class, to wear IN class, so that I didn’t have to CARRY anything (and also, that’s how it’s done in the U.S.). I was politely informed that in Korea, you can’t wear “outdoor shoes” into the dance studio, or even into the gym. So… the guys on the treadmills next to the studio were all wearing a different pair of shoes for working out. I was allowed into the dance studio with my outdoor shoes, but “just this once” I was told.

Zumba! Jazz Hands (photo courtesy of Mhyla B)

Zumba! Jazz Hands (photo courtesy of Mhyla B)

Because this was a free class, there were about a dozen people (mostly women, with a few brave men) ready to Zumba. The instructor, to my surprise, was a young man, with a TON of energy. He immediately turned up the music and told us to start following him. It was an INTENSE, non-stop, one hour workout. I was pouring sweat and my thighs were burning by the third song! Our instructor kept on moving, with a huge smile on his face the entire time. The music was fast paced and high energy. Before I knew it, our hour was up. We took a couple of pictures with the entire class, all looking sweaty but happy that we had completed our workout. We learned that we could sign up for a membership for the YWCA for a monthly cost of 60,000 won, and that we could take up to eight Zumba classes. I’m really tempted but the commute was a little long (30 minutes by subway, plus the walking on either end) and I’m not just sure if I’d be able to drag myself out when it’s -20 C outside…

After Zumba, Alex’s MBA friend’s friend, Ji Young, and I met for lunch. She is just a delight to be around! And, she calls me “언니” – which means older sister. 🙂 We had Indian food (Mmmm! So good and filling after my intense workout!), walked around the Myeongdong shopping plaza, and then had coffee at Starbucks. It was a perfect afternoon, especially since Myeongdong was decked out in Christmas decorations, and Starbucks was playing Christmas music!

Inside the IBK Chamber at Seoul Arts Center

Inside the IBK Chamber at Seoul Arts Center

In other news, our landlord is a piano teacher and she was performing with her ensemble at the Seoul Arts Center (IBK Chamber) last Sunday. The concert was called “The Voice of Time,” featuring the music of composers George Crumb and Olivier Messiaen. She sent us a bunch of tickets (which was very generous of her!), so we went with seven other people. None of us knew what to expect… was it going to be classical or modern? Turns out, it was very, very modern. Our landlord played the piano with one hand INSIDE the piano, striking the actual cords with her hand. She was accompanying a soprano singer. It’s very hard for me to “understand” non-classical music played on classical instruments (piano, violin, cello, flute) because it sometimes sounds like discord to me. I think it just takes some getting used to. After the concert, we all agreed that the music was “avant garde.” We were glad that we got to experience something new… and hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy another concert soon.

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