10 July 2012


Last year sometime during the late spring (I think), the BodyPump-esque (I say -esque because BodyPump is a licensed Les Mills program and one must be a Les Mills licensed instructor in order to teach true BodyPump but lots of gyms offer something similar without the license) instructor at the Army gym was getting ready to go on vacation.  I asked her who would be conducting her class while she was gone and she said I should do it since I've been taking the class for years.  I jokingly said, Sure!  She wasn't joking.  So she helped me learn the script (it is totally scripted) and I got myself psyched up to teach a class. Then the gym manager found out and said that I wasn't allowed to teach without some sort of certification.

Fast forward to last summer when the NATO gym said there would be no classes for 6 weeks because everyone goes on vacation and not enough people come to class.  We were trying to figure out what we would do on our own for 6 weeks and I told some friends that I didn't really know what I was doing but that I could try to lead the BodyPump-esque routine for them if they wanted.  That was a year ago.  I'm still doing it. 

Last fall I got the idea in my head that I would like to be able to teach other classes and so I looked into what it would take to get certified as a fitness instructor. I found a certification program and registered.  I had 6 months to complete the coursework, take a written exam and make a 10 minute video of myself conducting a sample class.  Of course, I waited until the last minute to get it all done!  Once it was all in the mail they said it usually took about 4 weeks to get your results.  Due to the extra-long mail delivery times to/from here, it took 6-7 weeks before I found out I had passed the course and was officially a certified group fitness instructor. 

So, a few weeks ago when the NATO gym again announced that they would not offer classes for 6 weeks I said I could teach once/week plus an extra BodyPump-esque class in addition to the class I was already offering.  I offered to do a bootcamp-style class in place of the usual circuit training.  Because bootcamp/circuit classes require planning and I already work a more-than-full-time job I didn't want to get in over my head trying to do it too many times per week (the BodyPump-esque class, being scripted, doesn't require planning so I can just show up and teach). 

On Monday I taught my first, self-planned group fitness class!!  I think it went well (and for the record, there were 20 people in the class so that excuse that there's no point in having classes when everyone is on vacation...well, it doesn't hold much water).  A few people didn't like the new format; preferring the circuit training they're used to (remember, this is a military base and many military folks get antsy when things change) but several people said it was nice to do something different and that it was a good workout.  Now I have to start planning next week's class!

08 July 2012

Had To Go *Somewhere*...*Anywhere*

The Netherlands has a fabulous train system.  I rarely go anywhere here that's beyond biking distance in my car unless I'm buying something that I can't haul on the bike.  I pay for a yearly pass that gets me 40% off my train tickets.  Sometimes, though, stores will sell discount train passes for around 15 euro.  They're good for one day (whatever day you choose to use it) and you can ride anywhere in the country.  A round-trip ticket to Amsterdam with my 40% discount is 27 euro; just to give you an idea of what a deal the passes are (assuming you're going far enough that a ticket would cost more than 15 euro).  I bought a couple passes a while back with a trip in mind but the trip never happened.  So there I was with two passes set to expire today.  What's a girl to do?  Go somewhere!

Having just come back from Budapest earlier this week I really wanted to relax and get stuff done at home this weekend but I hated the idea of letting those passes go to waste so off to Rotterdam we went.  It was raining and chilly and really just not a nice day to walk around a city.  In fact, I didn't stay very long. Less time than the round trip train.  But, I had some yummy Indonesian lunch and part of me is happy that the passes didn't go to waste.  The part of me that has 2 loads of laundry that aren't put away and some other chores that aren't done didn't appreciate the trip so much but sometimes you just have to go *somewhere!*

07 July 2012

Please and Thank You

Whenever I travel to a new place I try to learn a few key words (assuming I don't know the language...which happens more often than not): please, thank you, hello, goodbye, yes, no, without onions...  These are usually easy enough to manage.  Until I went to Budapest.

Magyar (Hungarian) does not resemble any other language I've ever learned.  Most of the time I can usually decipher some words based on my knowledge of other languages.  Not this time. The most closely related languages are Mansi and Khanty of western Siberia.  Silly me for never having learned those! The only word that was at all familiar was Hello...which means goodbye. The Magyar alphabet has 39 letters; 14 of which are vowels.  Nouns can have up to 18 cases (this number varies from different sources as you'll see below).  Having learned English in an American public school, I have no idea what a noun case is or how many there are in English!  Word order in sentences is free.  So you can say, "I'm eating an apple," or, "I'm an apple eating," or, "An apple I am eating," or "Eating an apple I am..." you get the point.  According to our walking-tour guide, Yoda's lines in Star Wars were translated from English to Magyar and then back to English resulting in the odd word order.

Consequently, learning even a few key words proved difficult.  I got please and thank you and that's where it ended. I got confused every time I went to leave a place and someone said, "Hello!"  Still, it was always nice to see a shop owner's or waiter's face break into a smile after saying, "köszönöm (thank you);" and that's the real reason for doing it.  Especially after you just gave them a dumb-founded blank stare when they told you the price, usually resulting in them showing you the number on the register. Even words that are usually really easy to pick up while traveling like, "Egészségédre! (Cheers!)," (heard any time you go to a pub or bar) look impossible in Magyar. Thankfully, many Hungarians speak English...at least in Budapest.  But when they didn't there was absolutely no chance I was going to understand anything they were saying!

A quick Google search for difficult languages has Hungarian at #4:
4) Hungarian: First of all, Hungarian has 35 cases or noun forms. That fact alone makes it a candidate in this list. Hungarian is full of very expressive, idiomatic words, and suffixes. The high amount of vowels and their deep-in-the throat sound makes it very hard to speak as well. It takes more effort to learn it and maintain what you learned then most other languages.
Other lists had it at #2 or #9.  Of course, it depends on what your native language is and your overall language-learning ability.   Despite it being the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe, I don't see myself making a study of it!

06 July 2012

Spain vs. Italy

Despite this adorableness:

The Netherlands lost all 3 first-round games and were eliminated in humiliating fashion (the coach was either fired or resigned...either way, he's out).  In the end, Spain played Italy for the Uefa Cup with Spain coming out the victor.