If I had to list the top 5 things that bring me happiness in this life they would be….
I know. I know. Some of you just can’t wrap your mind around that last one. But it is true! Believe it or not, group fitness is one of the great joys of my life. I love the feeling of working hard and sweating harder. I love the endorphins. I most of all love it when I get to be in charge and teach group fitness classes.
In the states I get to feed that addiction every day with my wonderful job at Sun Oaks Tennis and Fitness. You know that saying, “Do something you love and you won’t ever work a day in your life.” Well, that exactly describes my job as a group exercise instructor. It doesn’t feel like work. It feels like a blessing.
On the very rare occasions when I get cranky, my husband jokingly says, “You need either caffiene or endorphins right now. So go drink a cup of coffee or go to the gym!” And it’s true! I can get cranky if I have not had my endorphins for the day!
Being here in Ethiopia has challenged me to find new ways to fill this need in my life. We have a beautiful, flat roof-top here at the guest house so for the last 7 weeks I have transformed this area into my home gym. I even had a couple of ladies join me! Jessie – the missionary who lives here and works with Bring Love In – and Dawn – a fellow adoptive mom who is sharing the guest house with me.
Jessie and Dawn doing exactly what I tell them
Dawn has learned quickly. She now says many times during the workout, “Whatever you want, Natalie.” Love the brainwashing going on here!
Deeper, Dawn! Lunge! Work those legs!
Dawn’s “crafty” husband Alan made these amazing weights for us. He simply filled two cans with concrete and secured a stick in between them. Perfect! My guess is that they weigh about 10 pounds each. The big weight acts as sort of a “kettle bell” and weighs maybe 20 pounds.
What do you think, Lisa? Our next purchase for Sun Oaks group fitness classes?
But even with all of that, my husband noticed a slight crankiness creeping in sometimes. He knows that one of my greatest passions is ZUMBA! And sadly, this was lacking in my fitness routine. So he suggested I look online for Zumba classes here in Addis. I thought he was crazy. I have never heard of Zumba in Addis. I even asked our in-country director of our adoption agency if she had heard of Zumba before. She had no idea what I was talking about! I am sure she has never been asked that question before by the other adoptive moms.
But I went ahead and googled it. And oh my stars! There was ONE class listed! I immediately emailed the instructor and asked her if this was a joke or if she was really teaching Zumba here in Addis. She assured me that not only was it true, but I had excellent timing because she had just received her work permit and her first class was going to be on Thursday at 10:00.
Thursday at 9:45 I was at the door of that gym.
But she wasn’t.
She had gotten sick and the guy at the front desk told me that class was cancelled.
Why would we let a little thing like the instructor’s sickness keep us from Zumba? I told them that I was a licensed Zumba teacher in the states, I just happened to have my music with me, and if they wanted – I would teach their Zumba class for free!
Now, let me say that in the states, something like this would never happen. We have to check things like licensing, certifications, liability insurance, etc. But here in Ethiopia – none of that was a problem! 10 minutes later I was teaching a Zumba class at Maxview Gym in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
38 ladies showed up to class that day. They were amazing! The room was filled with music and dancing and yes, even some screaming and shouting. It was wonderful!
Some of the sweaty ladies after class
After that first class, I went back and met the Zumba instructor. She is a sweetie and is so happy to meet a fellow Zumba teacher here in Ethiopia! In fact, she invited me to team-teach her classes with her for the rest of my stay here. How about that?
Kim and I
You know, God didn’t have to do that for me; work out all the details so I could teach some Zumba while I am here in Ethiopia. That was something I hadn’t even dreamed of being able to do. But, He knew how much it would bless me. And He loves to give good gifts to His children, doesn’t He?