Athletic Credit (by Jeffrey and Kari)

Hey! Jeffrey and Kari comin at ya from Montpellier France!
Kari’s host mom is a dance teacher here in Montpellier. She’s been teaching Oriental Dance at a dance studio. Oriental dance has a lot of hip and belly movements. For the majority of the movements you keep your arms up at shoulder height or above. The dance form originated in Asia. It is similar to a game of follow the leader where one person leads and the rest follow at their pace. However the leader can change throughout the dance simply by making eye contact.
Earlier this week we got the amazing opportunity to take a dance class with Kari’s host mom at her studio. Five of us went plus Diana, Awa and Charlotte. We met in the Place de la comedie and walked together towards the studio. There we went up a flight of stairs to discover a small waiting room in front of the dance studio. Kari’s mom was waiting for us and we all introduced ourselves. We changed into dancing clothes and stretched a little before the class.
When the class started, Kari’s mom told us that the entire class would be in french. At first I was nervous about it. I’d never taken a dance class in any language other than english. However once we started it became evident that dance is compatible in any language, (that’s my last really bad cliche for the post, I promise). We started with the movements and then worked on turning them into phrases. Kari’s host mom described this as learning the words and then learning how to make them into a sentence. Something I found interesting in the class is that there are gendered movements. Where boys had to do one type of movement then girls had to do another.
Exercising has been an unexpected relief on our trip. Dancing helped me resolve feelings of anxiety and find peace with the missing of home I had earlier been experiencing. We have been walking a lot since we reached Montpellier, which has also been a really good part of my day. I love walking to school every morning with my friends. I meet Satinder behind the Montpellier Opera house and we then engage in 10 minutes of conversation on our way to school. It is a really nice way to connect with someone else who is experiencing new things each day like I am. I love how Montpellier is a walking city. There are some cars, lots of motorcycles and mopeds and bikers, but mostly people walk from place to place. It makes me feel like I have a more intimate knowledge of the city after walking around it every afternoon, and it definitely makes Montpellier feel more accessible. And with all the incredible food we are eating, it’s always a relief to go for a walk after a big meal. The food is incredible. I am a vegetarian and I have been eating so much cheese! I liked cheese at home, but my taste was very limited, since I came to france I have eaten so many different kinds of cheese! It is a great source of protein and so fresh! The eggs here are incredible too! They are delicious! My host mom makes an omelette for dinner sometimes and it is so delicious! I am in disbelief that we will be returning so soon. It feels very bittersweet!
Love Kari and Jeffrey12776674_959615947419425_1643398997_o

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