You asked for it; you got it!

On the morning of our Bangladeshi dance debut, Heather and I sat in a decaying performance hall, waiting for our turn to practice on stage. As we waited, I watched a few of the male dancers attempt to hang a projector from the ceiling using rope netting and a huge ladder that was broken in crucial places. Every time someone moved, the ladder swayed from side to side more than any ladder should. A few guys stood around the base to add support, but as far as I could tell, they weren’t making any difference. Suddenly, one of those, “Oh, I need my camera!” moments struck. Not because I thought anything bad would happen, but because this was so typical of Bangladesh.

Setting up

In this part of the world, you take what you’ve got and you make it work.

I snapped my photo and scanned the auditorium, imagining what it looked like when it was new. The peculiarity of the situation sunk in. Instead of watching a Bangladeshi dance performance later that evening, I was going to PERFORM in one! And for the studio’s 20th anniversary, no less. Kind of surreal, actually. But hey, why sit by and watch when you can do, right?

In the weeks leading up to the performance, we spent lots of time and energy going to practice, getting costumes and finding jewelry. Our biggest stress, though, was hair and makeup. We were clueless about what to do, and we needed help! Thankfully, Bangladesh is full of wonderful people, and an entire family came to our rescue.

Two sisters from our dance class, Shima and Lima, invited us to their home so we could get ready with them. Their older sister, Poly, selflessly turned her bedroom into a parlor and spent several hours transforming all of us into stage-ready dancers. What she was able to achieve with my hair alone was magic. And the makeup! Never in my life would I have attempted to wear red eyeshadow, but it looked better than I expected (and took only five washings to remove from my face).

After a long day of preparation, we were finally ready! We all piled into an easy bike (sort of like a big golf cart) and headed to the performance hall. As we walked up the steps and into the auditorium, we were greeted with gasps of, “Shundor,” (beautiful), and we exclaimed, “SHUNDOR!” right back. Everyone looked amazing! But the little ones were the cutest of all.

Now, take a moment to imagine something: You’re about to perform in front of a large audience. A little scary, right? Now imagine this audience is in a foreign country where the culture and customs are incredibly different from yours, and you don’t understand the language, and you’re not exactly sure what’s going on, and you have to change costumes, and you can’t remember the steps to your dance, and you’re afraid your sari is going to fall off, and you’re pretty sure you’re going to make a fool of yourself.

A lot scary!

But then … you remember that everyone around you is on your side and no matter what happens, they’re just delighted you’re there to share this experience with them.

So you can breathe again. And you perform. And you make a few mistakes. But your sari stays on. And everyone showers you with compliments. And everything is great. And you’re so happy that you did it. But you’re in no hurry to do it again … well, that is, until your performance tomorrow night.

Honestly, I don’t know how professional performers do it. It’s exhausting! But I guess it’s a good thing that’s how I feel because, as you’ll see in the much anticipated VIDEO (!), I’m not exactly a pro level dancer. Try not to laugh too hard, ok?

OK. I did it, I shared the video. Now VOTE FOR ME to win a trip around the world! Please!

Advertisements

Daily Prompt: This Is Your Life

It’s funny when you get a glimpse of yourself through others’ eyes.
Sometimes it’s disappointing. Sometimes it’s better than you hoped.

Recently, I was lucky enough to experience the latter when my friend Susan, creator of Travel Junkette, asked if she could feature me on her travel blog. She’s a creative, talented and inspiring person, so I was honored by the invitation and happily agreed to be a part of her new project.

She sent me a bunch of questions; I sent her a bunch of answers. Then, a couple of months later … voila … (part of) my life story was shared with (part of) the world. You can read it here, if you’d like.

Seasonal Worker

Travel Junkette is looking for more seasonal workers to feature. If you or someone you know would like to contribute, email traveljunkette(at)gmail(dot)com.

As the Daily Prompt says, “If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.”

I’d have to say, “No.”

With the help of Susan’s great questions, I now have a written summary of the biggest leaps I’ve taken thus far in my life, and I’m really thankful to have it, but my favorite thing about life is the mystery and the limitless possibility that lies in the unknown.

Yes, sometimes life is frustrating and it’s easy to become discouraged and impatient, but for me, there’s always hope. I always have faith that the future holds great discoveries and lessons and opportunities for growth. Even the trying times are valuable and beautiful in retrospect. Knowing about those experiences ahead of time would ruin the surprise. It would be like watching the end of the movie in the middle.

What fun is that?

That said, I just read this lovely post with a different perspective worth reading.

Women Who Wander

ImageThese days, more women than ever are seeking–and finding–fulfillment in a more adventurous way of life. As you can guess, I’m one of them.

So in an attempt to connect with kindred spirits, I created a Facebook community page called Women Who Wander … because we adventurous women may seem awfully independent and brave, but we need a community, too.

As my friend Avy posted on the new page: “So glad that you are creating this space for female nomads (and the males who love us…) Community matters, even – or especially – if that community is spread in every corner of the world.”

Truer words were never typed.

I hope the page will foster an online community of both savvy and newbie travelers who can share their questions, experiences and recommendations … and give and receive loads of inspiration.

Even though the page is clearly targeted at female travelers, it’s definitely not limited to women only. If you’re a woman who wanders or you simply want to support one who does, please check out the page, like it and share it with anyone you think would enjoy it. Most importantly, please share your own helpful and inspiring blog posts.

I look forward to seeing you there!