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Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

  1. 920 Special – See you in February!!

    January 26, 2012 by Jo

    SAN FRANCISCO!!! Woooooo!!! Yup, that’s right! Kevin and I are coming back to San Francisco to teach at the 9:20 Special again and we’re freaking thrilled!!

    In case you want to brush up on the material we taught back in September, here’s a friendly reminder!

    So what’s next?

    Review the material. Come to class. Tell your friends that you’re going to have a great time and that they’d be missing out if they didn’t join you. Aaaaaaand then dai-ance!!!

    See you there :D


  2. Residency in San Francisco

    August 30, 2011 by Jo

    For the month of September, Kevin and I will be teaching weekly classes Wednesday and Thursday night in San Francisco!!!!! I’m pretty excited to get to teach locally again; it’s been over two years since I last taught a series.

    Here are some of the details:

    Wednesday Night Hop
    1400 N Shoreline Blvd #A
    Mountain View, CA

    Every Wednesday night features new lessons & fun dancing at Cheryl Burke Dance in Mountain View. Class includes free admission to the dance party.
    Here’s the schedule (prices vary on band nights):
    9:15pm to 11:45pm — Swing Dance Party — Only $8 ($6 for 24 & younger)
    8:15pm — Level 1 Lindy Hop & Level 3 Lindy Hop — $16 drop-in
    7:15pm — Level 2 Lindy Hop & Balboa — $16 drop-in

     

    Thursday at 9:20 Special
    2450 Sutter Street
    San Francisco, CA

    7:20-8:20pm
    Special Extensions
    Special Extensions – The Lindy Hop: Kevin & Jo Style!
    with Kevin St. Laurent & Jo Hoffberg
    (NEW Drop-ins 1st or 2nd week ONLY) Class Details »
    8:20-9:20pm
    Level 3 – C
    Intermediate+ Lindy Hop Series with Kevin St. Laurent & Jo Hoffberg
    (NEW Drop-ins 1st or 2nd week ONLY) Class Details »

    Register here for classes!!


  3. Rocktoberfest 2010

    October 20, 2010 by Jo

    GAHH! What an awesome weekend. I might even go as far as saying it was better than last year. I unfortunately didn’t throw hot chocolate on a student this year (that was a complete disaster/accident), but I think I scarred some of them for life. :D

    The motto from the weekend: Don’t Dance like a Jackass, Just Act Like a Jackass.

    You’re welcome.

    Movie we referenced while teaching: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Blades of Glory, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Wedding Crashers, Spaceballs.

    To all the students: Thanks for hanging in there and only being slightly offended. Great job with all the technique we showed you…keep working on your leading and following!

    To the organizers: Thank you for letting Kevin and me talk some major jive and for having us forever-change-the-lives of your students and for taking us to some amazing restaurants (Knead, Haiku Sushi, North Star Cafe, Jenni’s Ice Cream).

    To the Johns: Thanks for the wristband and the music and the dances!

    To Mark: Great job getting into those pants!

    Video Clip Time!

    Winning Showcase Routine from Mark Mutherbaugh & Ellen Huffman!

    The Jack & Jill Finals

    Kevin and Jo performing “Communication”.

    Patrick and Natasha performing “Please Don’t Talk to Me”.

    Jam Time!


  4. Monday workshop in Quebec

    November 10, 2009 by Jo

    Yesterday I taught a lindy hop, blues, and burlesque workshop and it went rather well. I wasn’t as funny as I normally am while teaching, but I taught a lot of new material. I thought the first class was the blues class so I did a slow warm up with them. Needless to say, everyone looked horrified. I then introduced myself and then said “Welcome to this workshop. We’ll begin with a solo blues routine.” Shriek, gasp, OMG! Wait! It’s a lindy hop class!! Hahah, I looked a tad sheepish, but I changed gears just as quickly. Lunou was my follow and we did basics. I tried to make sure everyone could do weight changes through their center, rock steps with their heels up, and then triple steps. I did some figures, but focused on improve. All in all, I think the class went well AND my lead is getting better. Nice.

    In the blues class I worked on hip bumps (using the bum to help accentuate the movement), walking through the hips, and really using the legs to make shapes. Lunou has a group of girls she’s working with and all of them attended. I worked on stuff with the entire class that those girls specifically needed to work on, so I hope they can apply that knowledge to their routine they did (this weekend and at CSC). I made up the routine as I went and then had to remember it (eeek!). It changed along the way, but again I think the class went well.

    The burlesque class was a riot. I made the assumption that since winter was coming, every girl would have a jacket and a pair of gloves. In fact, most of them did. So I showed them an act of striptease….not the “art of…” but an act. I didn’t claim to be a master, but I did give a general explanation of the burlesque scene as I understand it and told the girls if they wanted to know more, they could look up the ever-so-talented Sharon Davis and would be able to find heaps of info. I felt like I wasn’t discounting myself by saying that, but was also redirecting them to a master of sort by referencing Shaz. So…… I showed them how to unzip their jackets, how to use their shoulders, and how to make similar shapes that sent different messages. After we did that to music a few times, we moved on to glove removal. I showed the ladies six different ways to remove gloves (and having them remove winter gloves was hilarious because of how big they all were) and then put on the music. At the end, the girls dance around, removed a glove, removed their jackets and then posed. Even though the girls didn’t end up removing clothing, some of them had a hard time with it at the beginning, but by the end of class, most of them were sassy with their gloves and jackets!

    Thank you Lunou and Port-O-Swing for having me!!


  5. Followlogie, Part Deux

    November 18, 2008 by admin

    My flight to Quebec was uneventful, but passing through customs was a different story. The night before I left, I checked the details on a few of the websites and from what I understood, I only needed a copy of my contract and I’d be fine. That wasn’t the case, apparently.

    I had the contract, but because it wasn’t on letterhead, it didn’t look official. The custom’s lady didn’t want to let me through and was very annoyed by me. She didn’t know what lindy hop was and couldn’t understand why I was in Quebec; obviously I was trying to take work from Canadians! After some bickering and the declaration of “I don’t think we are going to let you in”, she had to double check with her superior on whether or not I could pass. He, a sweet old man, asked me a few question (which took all of 120 seconds) and then said “Oh, she’s fine. She’s not taking away jobs from Canadians. She is basically giving a seminar. No one else can do what she is being paid to do.” OMG, what a star! That man totally made my day. In my head I was thinking “IN YOUR FACE!!!” to the lady, but said nothing. I gloated to myself once I completely cleared customs.

    Fast Forward.

    I finally get where I need to go, am picked up, I swing by the house, change, grab some food, and get ready to teach. My first class was a charleston class (see previous entry) and it went super well. I was so pleased with myself. What was most amusing for me was that I was trying to speak in French, but mostly Spanish was coming out, and occasionally German. I’ll be totally honest, I have NO idea how people keep multiple languages separate in their heads; what a skill! (There are photos of the class that look awesome floating around somewhere, and if I find them, I’ll provide a link.)

    After class, the dance started and I had some awesome dances. I danced most of the night and was the only instructor from the weekend out on the floor (small victory moment for me!). I was super sweaty and gross by the end, but man, did I have a good time!!!

    Saturday was a great day as well. I taught my class on details, did a private, had an awesome lunch, and then Mickey and I walked around the city. It was rather gray outside, but it didn’t stop us from window shopping!  We wandered into the Crock’s Shop, Aldo (which was having a sale), a pastry store (but didn’t get anything), and then a Ren-Fair store. It had clothing from the middle ages, swords, quills, trinkets, fairies, potions, and more. It was quite the experience. We then hustled back to the classes to eat dinner and then prepared to go home.

    Tonight was the big dress-up night, so I got all dolled up in a vintage dress I bought about 10 years ago. Here I am in the dress with Nina. There were some great performances that night and some fun social dancing. For late night, I changed out of my gown and got into some clothes I could dance in. I had some more great dances that night and probably got in bed around 3am.

    Sunday was my big day, but I got to sleep in because I didn’t have the first class. Yeah! I started my day teaching a technique class which was packed. I couldn’t believe how many people were there! Lots of great questions were asked and lots of good swivels were done. I had a cute guy named Martin teaching with me (he was my Demo Boy) and he did an awesome job of following me. He could pull in on one, on two and on three every time I asked. Shout out time: He ROCKED! The leads also asked a lot of great questions too. I feel like I got them to think about the options they have, or could have. Any class that gets students thinking about what and why they are doing what they are is a success for me.

    The choreography class ended up being a lecture. I walked the students through, step by step, how Kevin and I choreograph, from picking a song, to putting on the final touches of a piece. I thought it was a good class. I haven’t taught it before so I didn’t have a flawless flow, but I still think it went along nicely.

    The last class of the day was a class on power moves. I had a bunch of ideas, but only got through 2 of them. The biggest challenge was teaching people to do kick-steps down a line while keeping their rhythm. We added arms on top of that, but mostly it was the legs that proved to be a problem. But everybody looked great in the end. :-)

    That night there was no dance, but there was a dinner for the instructors who stayed around. It was really cool to get to hang out afterward, chat about the weekend, drink a beer, and eat some awesome food. They have a really great thing going in Quebec, and Dominique and Vero did an awesome job getting the weekend together. The students asked great questions and were soaking up the information. Yeah!!!

    My flight home took ALL day. I got up around 830am, and didn’t get home until about 8pm that night. That sucks, but that’s what I get for not looking at my ticket more closely.

    The exciting thing a bout my flight was that I had a bag-check issue. I almost never check my luggage. I don’t have time for it to get lost or miss a connection, and frankly I just don’t need that much stuff (laundry can be done, after all). Well, the plane from Quebec to Toronto was rather small, and my suitcase wasn’t going to fit in the over head, so I gate checked it, assuming it’d be there at the gate when I arrived. I was wrong. I got off the plane, checked with the stewardess, and she said it’d be there at baggage claim. So I headed towards baggage claim, but for where my connection was going to be. Mistake. My bag went to normal baggage claim, but because I had walked through the special glass doors leading to “American territory”, I couldn’t leave to get my bag. After waiting for my bag at the wrong conveyor belt, and some chatting with the guy at the help desk, he went downstairs to get my luggage. How sweet. Those Canadian – they sure are swell!

    All in all, the weekend was awesome on a personal and professional level.

    If you have pictures, please link them here, or send them to me. Cheers!!


  6. Followlogie 2008

    November 12, 2008 by admin

    This was a very special weekend for me, perhaps more than most.

    Back at CSC, Dominique and I chatted about her putting on an all-girls weekend in Quebec and wanted to know if I was interested in teaching there. I was stoked to be asked. I also found out that I would be headlining alongside of Nina Gilkenson and Annie Trudeau, both of which are exceptionally talented dancers/teachers.

    A little while later I needed to come up with class titles. I am very comfortable teaching solo classes, so I figured a charleston class and jazz movement class would be a piece of cake, but I still needed 3 more ideas. I thought teaching a class on choreography would be cool; I didn’t know whether or not I’d have anything profound to say, but I’d at least share how I go about choreographing. Something that was inspiring me at the time were Power Moves. Mostly I feel like the guys dominate in this field, so I liked the idea of working towards something that girls could do….more of a challenge for me, really. Finally, I needed to do something that would be a partnered class, and what do I know how to teach best at that point (partnered)? Connection!! I figured more technique never hurt anyone.

    The official class titles and material:

    1.20′s Charleston – a routine to ” Putting on the Ritz” by the Pasadena Roof Orchestra. This was a very girly routine that I picture the girls wearing top hats, tux jackets, and something gold underneath. Oh, and let’s not forget the legs!! This was choreographed as a leggy routine!
    2. Focus on the Details – this was a jazz class where I taught [what I consider] “proper” jazz technique and some variations. We covered boogie forwards, suzie q’s, and shorty george. We focused on arm positioning, knees, direction of the feet, and heels.
    3.  “Things I wish I knew 5 years ago” – partner technique class. There were soooooo many ideas that I had, but in the end I decided to go with bring the girl in on count 1 vs. 2 vs. 3. There were soooo many students in the class that it was a little difficult to teach, but the students were such troopers about the size and the chaos of learning…..it was great. The leads had to work on how to change their body in order to delay the lead, and I asked the follows to keep their swivel going instead of dropping it on 1 or 2 (what I mean is that follows will often swivel on count 1 and then walk in on count 2). Finally, I told the follows that I wanted them to swivel under their bodies instead of letting their feet get out in front of them.
    4. Choreography 101 – picking a song, mapping it out so you know how many 8 counts, where the phrases are, musical instruments playing, time codes, etc. Some key points: don’t start on the first music beat, I prefer shorter songs than longer songs, learn to edit music, if you have aerials, figure out how long they take and what kind of entrance you need and choreograph around it. We unfortunately didn’t get to the dancing, so it was more lecture….but people held in there.
    5. Power Moves – we did brushes that looked like corkscrews, but they had African-inspired arms. We also worked on turning and kicking down a line and adding in some fierce arms. This was my smallest class.

    So now to back it up a bit. A week before I left for Quebec I was down in Argentina testing out my charleston material and I found out the routine took at least 2 hours to teach. Not only that, but in that 2 hours I didn’t even finish the routine. The attention to detail that I wanted the students to pay attention to was a bit higher than I normally require, but for me, the greatness of the routine is in the details. The day before I left for Quebec (which was about 15 hours after I got home) I finally accepted that I wasn’t going to be able to teach the whole routine. Perhaps someday though!

    Before leaving Argentina I had a tiny moment of panic. “OMG, what if I don’t have any material?” I thought to myself. Well, I already had class titles and I knew what I was going to do for them, so that was me being silly. “OMG, what if I draw a blank and have nothing to teach?” I furthered. The truth is that I would have to make something up on the spot, and over the years I have being proficient at “pulling things out of my ass” (pardon the phrase) and would just deal with it. “GAAAAAHHH, what if they don’t think I am funny?” I questioned. Well, I have had a record of going to foreign countries and having all my jokes bomb (ehhem….Ukraine), but Quebec wasn’t that far away from the States and many of the students were sure to speak English….and I knew some French which due to that lack of my ability to conjugate and some caveman like phrases I was bound to get a laugh or two. “EEEK, what if I taught things that everyone already knew?” See freak-out number 2.  So all of the things that freaked me out I actually had under control. Thank god!!

    So after my little brain-fart, I realized how freaking cool it was to be invited to do something like this. There really have only been a hand-full of ladies that have been invited to teach at an all-girls weekend, and I was going to secure my name on that list. Whoopie!! I am very honored that I was invited to teach, especially the part of getting to headline next to Nina and Annie. OMG, how freaking cool!!!

    By the end of the weekend I was very proud of myself. Not only had I taught all of my classes, but I felt like I rocked them. I had a blast teaching in my pseudo-French and was stoked that so many people came to my class. I don’t know if anyone really knew who I was before I showed up, but they do now. But more to the point, I did it. I did this on my own. This is an accomplishment that I can give solely to myself. I have had help preparing for this moment for the last 2 years or so, but I had the opportunity to step up to the plate and prove that I am a great teacher on my own, and I did it. Toot Toot!!! Pat on the back!! I am so proud of myself!!!

    Moving along.

    To be continued….


  7. My Story

    September 14, 2008 by admin

    For a list of award, please scroll to the bottom.

    My Story

    In my younger years, I was a champion level springboard diver and épée fencer, but as a teenager, I was looking for something that was going to be more social. The Gap had some new commercial out that were trying to show how cool khakis could be, but these videos also highlighted various forms of dancing. One of the commercials was called Khaki Swing, and after seeing aerials and hearing the music, I knew that is what I wanted to spend my time doing. That day I told my parents that I wanted to take swing dancing lessons and we found a local ballroom where I could take lessons.

    I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it when I started, but I was able to pick on the steps pretty quickly, so I felt like I should stick with it. I wanted to do what I saw in the commercial, but something was missing. After doing a little bit of research, I found a place to go social dancing and dragged some friends along with me. I had such an awesome time because everyone there was my age and they were dressed up. I realized that prior to this night, I was missing to social aspect of the dance, and to top it off, I loved the idea that there was hair, makeup and costumes that went along with this new, cool thing I had stumbled upon.

    I later joined a teen swing dancing troupe and started dancing as often as I could. Between driving to Danville and taking BART out to San Francisco, I was dancing six nights a week, much to my parent’s chagrin. I couldn’t get enough; I needed to dance every moment of my life.

    When I was 16 I started traveling around CA with my instructor, Jane Barnes. I had no idea that the swing world was so big and that so many people loved the same thing I did. After I discovered the competition circuit I decided that this was my end-all, be-all and that this is what made life worth living. I had the great fortune of finding a competition partner who was about my age and who was wildly passionate about lindy as well, Todd Yannacone, and spent my waking hours rehearsing in SF and practicing jazz in my room (I had a bed which folder into the wall and a mirror in my room). I competed, performed, and social danced as often as I could. Life was amazing.

    After I went to college, my friend Dax Hock helped get me a job at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan. I was nervous about taking the job because I had just moved away from my parents house and I felt that I didn’t have enough training to be there, but I went because I decided that I wasn’t going to miss out on the experience. I had a fun year of training other dance styles and preparing for the 2003 US Open. I also started going by the name “Jo”. After completing my contract I went back to school and decided to start taking dance classes again; my experience in Japan opened my eyes to other dance forms, but I also felt like my lindy hop had fallen behind the times (but being absent for a year will do that to you). A year later I turned my attention back to lindy hop, hooked up with the OC Swing crowd, and started working with Shesha Marvin and Mikey Pedroza. Dancing with them provided me with an awesome teaching experience, fabulous friendships, and a constant inspiration.

    Before I was able to finish at the university, I was invited out to the south of France a few times to teach, and later to train for four months. Other than feeling like I was NEVER going to graduate, life was great; I was dancing internationally, I was teaching, I had a dance partner (albeit he was in France), and I felt like I was getting to push myself again, like I had when I started. While in France, Kevin St. Laurent was hanging around Europe and we got to chatting and throwing some aerials, and we did some teaching together. That was the turning point in my professional lindy hop career, but at the time, I didn’t know it. I reentered school and within a few weeks, Kevin invited me to teach in the Ukraine with him. After rearranging all my midterms, I met Kevin in Kiev, taught an awesome 18-hr weekend of classes with no prep time, and decided that maybe I could do “this dance thing” professionally.

    Four months later, I finally graduated from school, moved out to Pittsburgh and “went pro”. Since then I have taught in US, Asia, Australia, South America, Western and Eastern Europe, have put together two award-winning routines, learned to fan dance, and helped form the performance team, The Killer Dillers.

    I guess that brings you up to date. What am I doing now? Follow me along in my journey of making sense of what it is to be a professional lindy hopper and the adventures along the way!

    Stay tuned!

    If you’d like to CONTACT HER about dance, movie quotes from recent comedies, or how to better become a secret agent, you can do so at jo@johoffberg.com. If you would like to buy instructional DVDs, please go to www.ilindy.com. If you’re into buying a stranger something (referring to me), go here:

    1st Place

    * ILHC (Arlington, VA) Team Division – The Killer Dillers (August 2009)
    *Beantown (Boston, MA) Strictly Swing with Bobby White (June 2009)
    * Camp Jitterbug Contest (Seattle, WA) Lindy Hop Couples (May 2008)
    * National Jitterbug Championships (Los Angeles, CA) Invitational J&J (Aug 2008)
    * Canadian Swing Championships (Montreal), Fast Division (May 2008)
    * Canadian Swing Championships (Montreal), Just Do It (May 2008)
    * New Years Dancing Eve (Danvers, MA), Strictly Lindy (December 2007)
    * Swinging New England (Cape Cod, MA), Invitational Jack & Jill (November 2007)
    * American Lindy Hop Championship (Stamford, CT) Showcase Division (October 2007)
    * Virginia State Open (Herndon, VA) Strictly Lindy (October 2007)
    * Ultimate Lindy Hop Championships (Minneapolis, MN) Slow Division (September 2007)
    * SwingDiego (San Diego, CA) Jack & Jill, Am. West Coast (January 2006)
    * US Open (San Jose, CA) Lindy Hop, Showcase (November 2003)
    * Jitterbug Jam (Monterey, CA) Junior Lindy Hop, West Coast Regional (February 2002)
    * Jitterbug Jam (Monterey, CA) Jack & Jill, West Coast Regional (February 2002)
    * Broadway Studios (San Francisco, CA) Open Couples 2001
    * American Lindy Hop Championship (Stamford, CT) Junior Lindy Hop, East Coast Regional (October 2001)

    2nd Place

    * International Lindy Hop Championships (Arlington, VA), Solo Charleston (Aug 2008)
    * National Jitterbug Championships (Los Angeles, CA) ProLindy (Aug 2008)
    * Canadian Swing Championships (Montreal), Showcase Division (May 2008)
    * US Open (Aneheim, CA) Strictly Lindy (November 2007)
    * Virginia State Open (Herndon, VA) Showcase Division (October 2007)
    * Virginia State Open (Herndon, VA) Adv/Pro Jack & Jill (October 2007)
    * Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown (Minneapolis, MN) Showcase Division (September 2007)
    * Boogie By the Bay (San Francisco, CA) Lindy Jack & Jill (Oct 2006)
    * Ultimate Lindy Hop Championships (Minneapolis, MN) Slow Division (September 2006)
    * Rhythmic Arts Festival (San Diego, CA) Charleston Contest (Dec 2004)
    * National Jitterbug Championships (Anaheim, CA) Junior Lindy Hop (July, 2002)
    * Broadway Studios (San Francisco, CA) Jack & Jill (2002)
    * U.S. Open (Anaheim, CA) Junior Lindy Hop (November, 2000)

    3rd Place

    *International Lindy Hop Championships (Arlington, VA), Solo charleston (August 2009)
    * International Lindy Hop Championships (Arlington, VA), Showcase Division (Aug 2008)
    * International Lindy Hop Championships (Arlington, VA), Classic Division (Aug 2008)
    * National Jitterbug Championships (Los Angeles, CA) Showcase (Aug 2008)
    * Beantown (Boston, MA) Strictly Swing with Bobby White (June 2008)
    * Boston Tea Party (Danvers, MA) Strictly Lindy(March 2008)
    * Boston Tea Party (Danvers, MA) Invitational Cross-Over J&J (March 2008)
    * Virginia State Open (Herndon, VA) Cross-over Invitational Jack & Jill (October 2007)
    * The Rhythm is Jumping (LA, CA) Strictly Lindy (Oct 2005)
    * Ultimate Lindy Hop Championships (Minneapolis, MN) Champions Jack and Jill (September 2005)
    * Ultimate Lindy Hop Championships (Minneapolis, MN) Champions Jack and Jill (September 2004)
    * Jitterbug Jam (Monterey, CA) Junior Lindy Hop, West Coast Regional (February 2001)


  8. Camp Hollywood

    August 7, 2008 by admin

    What an awesome time in LA we had being at Camp Hollywood. The weather was lovely, Hillary (the organizer) took great care of us, and the students were amazing!

    We taught some new Flash & Trash, Charleston Challenge, fast lindy, aerials, and Jam Routines and the classes were packed! There were about 150-200 people in our two largest classes (OMG). And everyone was so nice. Not to toot our own horns, but Kev and I were given an impressive amount of positive feedback about our material and our teaching style – it was really nice.

    On the competition side of things, Kev and I, along with our buddies Juan and Sharon, cleaned house!

    1st place – Advance J&J – Lead – Juan
    1st place – Advance J&J – Follow – Sharon
    1st place – Showcase – Kevin and Juan
    3rd place – Showcase – Kevin and Jo
    2nd place – Pro Lindy – Kev and Jo
    5th place – Pro Lindy – Juan and Sharon

    We had so many trophies that we couldn’t take all of them home, especially with the new excess baggage fees.

    And a special shout out to Nick Williams and Laura Keat for their showcase piece. It was lovely, innovative, musical, and well performed!


  9. May 6 – We’re in Italy!!!

    May 7, 2008 by admin

    I can hardly put my Italy Experience into words, but what I can say is that I have arrived.

    Let’s back up. I woke up at 4:45am and started packing. Kev woke up a little after 5 and after he finished packing, we headed down for breakfast, which was more impressive than dinner. There were pastries, breads, bagels, and cakes; fruit, yogurt, and fresh squeezed juice; waffles, French toast, veal sausage, and eggs; lox, meat, and cheese section. It was the best breakfast I have ever eaten. Bloody amazing. Perhaps we ate more than was necessary, but every bite was out-of-this-world.

    After our morning feast we headed over to the airport and checked our luggage in. We were off to Munich and then to Genova. Sweet!!!! This whole situation couldn’t have worked out any better. The flights were easy, security was a piece of cake, and there was internet. Life was looking good.

    While we were taking the bus from the plane to the terminal, in Genova, we saw a darling, old couple who turned out to be from the Bay Area. The Missus and I chatted about her and her husband’s adventures and then our luggage showed up. I caught myself looking at the luggage sign; part of it was in English and the other was in Italian. Holy shit Batman, I am in Italy. I am really here!!!
    I verbally exploded onto Kevin about how excited I was to be here but had to cool my jets once we exited baggage claim because I didn’t want to startle our new host, Silvia and Bruno. She has dark brown hair that is cut at neck length and is about my height and curvy, and Bruno looks like an Italian Rock-a-billy. They are darling!
    Bruno must go back to work so Silvia takes us to her place so we can drop her stuff. Once we arrive, her three dogs happily greet us. They have a 12 y.o. husky, a short haired golden lab, and a new puppy that looks like a mastiff. We eventually get inside after lots of wiggling and petting and the view from her “villa” is amazing! Jaunted green hills stick out for miles and they are peppered with villa with orange-tiled roofs. Just lovely. It’s just as I was hoping it would be.
    After dropping of our stuff and doing a quick change, we headed to lunch. Many windy road later we arrived at a place that didn’t look open; however it was overlooking a cliff that had a spectacular view. Here is me and Kevo: (coming soon)

    Kev had a salad, some of the best pesto gnocchi ever made and some ice cream. I had a salad, handmade lasagna strips with pesto and Crème Brule, and Silvia has penne with pesto. Apparently everything is handmade there, and pesto is very popular in the region (go figure!) :-D
    Ooh, we also talked about government and the Italian government sounds worse than ours! They have a president they compare to Bush (note: this is not a pro-Bush author), and their vice president is a huge racist! He doesn’t like Muslims, Blacks, Jews, Homosexuals, and other minority groups. Apparently they government is trying to do away with abortion and there are no gay rights. Appalling, just appalling. And and and, it’s so expensive to raise children there that there is now a negative population growth. The reason it’s so expensive there is that most things are now privatized meaning there is no help from the government (i.e. no tax breaks or free education). Everything needs to be paid out of pocket: primary school, middle and high school, and a college education cost about what ours does. AND to top it off, most college graduates can’t find work so they learn a trade afterwards. They are most likely going to do some form of manual labor. Wow. Oh, and they are trying to privatize health care too. OMG!! Well, other than all of those details, I’d still love to live in Italy, ride a Vespa, and say “Ciao” while my scarf is blowing in the wind.

    After stuffing ourselves, we headed back to the house for a nap. After a few hours of rest, we got up and then went for drinks and tapas. OMG, there is so much food! And people are drinking! Not that that is a problem for me at all, but it seems like alcohol is appropriate to have at lunch, before dinner, at dinner, and then again as a digestive. Wow. But nobody seems to be an alcoholic here. Hmm…..makes me think about American Society….shame we can’t drink responsibly. Note: I am not saying drinking that much (above) every day is responsible; I am purely noting that people in the US seem to either drink like Frat Boys or not drink at all.
    After drinking and eating, we headed to go teach class. And what a surprise, we taught people how to lead and follow again. I am kind of feeling like there is a trend here…people are not learning to lead and follow when they learn to dance; however, people are still dancing and having fun, which is “most excellent”. After class, we headed to a pizza joint, and I had the best pizza, ever. OMG, food is insanely good here. Italians really do Italian food!!!! I can’t describe it other than saying that think of the best pizza you’ve had, and it was better than that (unless of course you ate it in Italy). Kevo and I had beers, and I only made it about half way through before I was heavily buzzed.

    We are now home and Kevin is watching the first season of Weeds, and I am organizing my Itunes. I have soooooooooo many songs: 38.4 days of music. Wow. That’s completely unnecessary, especially since I listen to the same 4 hours worth of stuff regularly. It’s about 4:15am so it’s time for bed.