Saturday, September 06, 2008

I'm IN!

After a number of failed attempts, I have finally done everything it takes to become a certified Jazzercise instructor. Although many people who know me think I've been working on this all year, the truth is, I started down this path seven years ago.

In 2000 (1999?), I was living in Lake Charles, Louisiana and had been going to Jazzercise classes where my friend was an instructor. She was constantly suggesting that students become teachers (mostly, I think so she could have a substitute so she could take breaks).

Even though I was in lousy shape, and even though I had NEVER had the thought of doing ANYTHING physical on a regular basis, a little voice in my head said "that would be fun..."

So I packed my bags and headed toward New Orleans for a "screening," to judge if I could execute the choreography well enough to learn to teach it.

I couldn't.

The district manager at that time told me, very kindly, to "go back home and get better at it." (I'm sure those weren't her exact words, but it's what I remember - she was so nice about it, even though I'd failed, I was still excited about the possibility).

Over the next year, I went back to New Orleans three more times, and each time was told, "just one more thing." Finally, I did pass the screening (in 2001), and was accepted into the program.

I did my best to prepare for the audition (in which you must demonstrate the ability to not only execute the choreography correctly, but also cue it from stage an lead a class). But somewhere along the way, my regular business took off, and suddenly I didn't even have time to practice. I withdrew from the program.

Fast forward to 2008. I've been Jazzercising on and off for almost 10 years. It is THE thing that keeps me moving; it's where I've made a ton of friends; it's where I found my hairdresser, my optometrist, three babysitters, and learned to tie my shoes properly.

I find out we are moving to a place where there is no Jazzercise. Which upset me more than anything else about this move. Being in class is so fun for me, and it's been such a tremendous source of community, it is the thing I knew I would miss the most in this overseas move.

This time I applied to the program so I wouldn't have to give it up.

Pardon this post for being so long... I've been wanting to tell this story for a long time - but I didn't know the ending till yesterday!

I started the process this time around in February. I practiced like crazy, put my whole heart into it, planned my life in France around it (bought support items in the USA, because I knew they would be exhorbitantly expensive in France), and went to the audition in April. And failed.

I spent the day crying and ranting. And then shopping (retail therapy, you know). There was NO WAY I was going to be able to do it now, because I had to prepare my family (and my MIL) to move overseas. There just wasn't any more time.

Even though that all was true, I did actually keep practicing and keep trying. I obtained permission to audition again in June, the same week as our pack out - we were going to stay in the hotel for an extra two days, my last chance to do it before we left the states.

It became clear though, that I did not have the time, energy or "bandwidth" to practice on top of all I was doing to prepare to move. Sadly, I dropped out of the program, returned all of the materials, and decided I'd have to find something else to do for exercise for the next few years.

But then something interesting happened when I was visiting Denver (my last stop before expatriating).

I went and visited a class I'd been a guest at before. The instructor remembered me. She commented on how well I danced, and asked about when/if I'd consider becoming an instructor myself.

As I was telling her the whole, sad story, I realized that trying to learn all this while in the middle of a move was incredibly crazy, I had learned it. And while learning to live in a new environment was stressful, if I kept exercising it would help me stay healthy and sane.

So, to make a long story, just a little bit longer... I re-applied, continued to practice amid hotel living, moving in, getting settled, receiving guests, potty-training, and getting the kids into school.

And got on a train to the United Kingdom (after a false start, forgetting my passport and having to go all the way back home from the train station in town).

And passed.

And now, the learning really begins. But, I'm IN.


  1. Kelley1:17 PM

    Good for you!! I'm glad you've achieved this goal for yourself! So often our goals are tied to our's a great thing to find that satisfaction. Good luck with everything and getting the franchise rolling!!

  2. Wow! Congratulations, Rachel!