Looking ahead to 2013…

American Adventures

I celebrated the end of 2012 and 2013’s beginning in my beloved Edinburgh with some of my closest friends. While a stack of dishes awaits me, I’m taking a moment to look at what lies ahead.

I’m making another international move and returning to the States. I wasn’t able to find a job that would sponsor me for a visa, so I’ve decided to return to the States when my student visa expires. I don’t know where life is going to take me, but with hope my roads will lead me back to Edinburgh. I’ve had an amazing, painful, life-changing time in the UK, and while I wish I could stay, it’s time for me to return to my native land.

I hope to return to Boston, where I lived as an undergraduate. I haven’t enjoyed all that Boston has to offer, and will get involved with the swing dancing community there.

In March we’ll be releasing the first issue of Far Off Places, the online literary magazine I started with three friends while living in Edinburgh. The beauty of it being online and organised through Google docs means that we can continue to work on the magazine while on separate continents.

I hope to take up blues dancing while living in Boston. I’ve heard that it’s the place to learn traditional blues in the US, and I’ve found that there’s nothing like dancing to keep me in a good mood. Blues complements lindy hop excellently, especially as some of the events I’ve attended have had blues after parties.

I will explore. I want to see more of the US (Seattle, New Orleans and San Francisco). I want to read. I want to learn.

Here’s to 2013, may it be a good year. It will be a difficult year, as I continue to navigate adulthood and try to settle in one location yet again. But it will, undoubtably, be a good’un, filled with friends both that I know and have yet to meet, pratfalls and maybe a few scavenger hunts through Boston.

Dancing in the Streets

Edinburgh Expeditions

It’s the Edinburgh Jazz Festival for the next couple of weeks. I’m not the most knowledgeable about jazz, but if its got a rhythm I can dance too, I will be out and dancing. Which, of course, is the mentality of the local lindy hoppers. A group of us congregated in Grassmarket for the Edinburgh Jazz Festival’s Mardi Gras. Tons of bands, local and international, played at raised bandstands or in the streets. I caught three acts–TJ Muller and the Dixie Six, Criterion Brass Band and The Stooges.

Of course, there was dancing. There was laughter.

TJ Mueller and two of the the Six

TJ Mueller and two of the the Six

There was TJ Muller and the Dixie Six in the audience, playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” in the audience.
TJ Muller and the Dixie Six is my favourite local band. The swing dancers do a lot with them–they’ve played one of our events, and we go to their gigs. They’re a really fun band to watch/listen/dance to. So high energy! By the end of the afternoon, I was knackered.

Criterion Brass Band

Criterion Brass Band

A Brass Band played.



The Dancing Bug

Edinburgh Expeditions

“It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively, without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind;–but when a beginning is made–when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt–it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.”
-Jane Austen

I have been bitten by the dancing bug. The jitter bug, one could say. Dancing, swing dancing in particular, is addictive. It is, for lack of a better phrase, my drug. The high that I get from a night of dancing keeps me going through the week, the perfect fix to the Wednesday lows.

Lately, I’ve found that two days a week isn’t cutting it. I want to dance all the time. I was fortunate last week, dancing on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. But just the same, it isn’t enough. My friends and I are panicking, trying to figure out how we’ll continue with our dancing obsession over the summer months, when the uni society stops running.

Jane Austen speaks the truth. One can do without dancing. But once you’ve started, once it’s grabbed and enthralled, you count the days to your next opportunity.

Further Adventures in Lindy Hop

Edinburgh Expeditions

Yesterday, I took my first flying lesson. Me, the happily grounded, afraid of heights individual, decided to take an aerials workshop.

This is what aerials look like:

Given that my programme leaves me little to no time to travel, I decided to take the ten pounds I would have spent on a RyanAir flight or in a disgusting hostel and put it to a more productive use–learning to fly.

In my first aerials lesson, I learned four–a basic frog jump (I think), a frog jump rotating 180 degrees (I jump and my leader turns, so that when I land I’m 180 degrees away from where I started), a tandem Charleston jump, and…the backwards somersault. Or backsault, as they called it. Needless to say, I’m rather stiff and sore from using muscles that I usually neglect.

I’m looking forward to next Saturday’s follow up lesson. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Dancing like a classy, talented person

Edinburgh Expeditions

When I moved here, I decided to take up a new hobby. Something fun, to keep me active, and take my mind off of my studies. I don’t want to get overwhelmed and go mad.

So, in thinking of ways  to get involved, I went to what I enjoyed before hand. Film clubs, theatre groups, even art club. But something stuck at the back of my head. I don’t know how to dance. Oh, I’ve done several types of dance as a kid and teenager, but I don’t really know how to dance.

So I’ve taken up the lindy hop. Why lindy hop? It’s fun. It’s cheap. It’s a social dance. I don’t have to be all serious like in tango, and if I mess up on the steps, I can easily fix my mistake.

That, and the social aspect of the club is really, really awesome. If I want, I can go dancing three times a week. Which, time permitting, I’ll go at least twice.


One of these days, I’ll be this good! But probably not for a couple of years.