When B and I were looking for homes in Riyadh, I realized that living in a compound with activities for the children was really important to me. We almost chose a villa in a nearby compound but their lack of amenities, despite the lovely villas, caused me to choose a different compound. I'm really happy about our choice. Our villa works well for our family and is both comfortable and functional. But the amenities of the compound really take up our living a notch. (If I'm going to live in a country where I can't drive, where so many things are restricted, I might as well have some fun, even if I'm not exactly soaking up ALL the local culture, right???)
On Thursday (which is like Saturday for all you "Westerners") I happened to meet a neighbor taking her daughters to a ballet class. She gave me the information and A and I promptly followed her to the class. Things are a little less formal here so I hoped the instructor would be willing to let my daughter join her class.
While waiting, I met some other mothers and we chatted, exchanged the basic information (where are you from, how long have you lived here, how many children do you have, etc.). Then the teacher, a Russian lady, arrived. The Russian ballet instructor was unlike any other ballet instructor I have seen. I'm used to seeing lithe, slim teachers dressed in leotards. This teacher was a bit stockier and was dressed in black pants that resembled Genie's pants (in I Dream of Genie) with a loose flowing top over it. Her hair had seen better days and was long and a dry-looking. I admit, I was a bit skeptical of this teacher.
I spoke to the teacher briefly and she agreed to let my daughter try one class and then she would make a decision. Then, she began to dance. It was really a beautiful thing to watch this woman, who on the outside didn't look so beautiful, transform into beauty and grace when she danced. She led the girls through warm-up exercises. A hasn't had so many dance classes so she really didn't know what she was doing, but she kept her eyes and focused on the teacher and did her best. Even though there were younger girls at the class, A was one of the smallest girls there.
After about 20 minutes of warm-up exercises, the teacher turned to me and said, "She confused about some of the positions, but she is flexible. She can stay." The teacher didn't always communicate clearly with her words what she wanted (how I can understand that language barrier, so hard!) but always demonstrated with her body, which was very clear.
I'm so proud of my little A! She really gave her best effort and seemed to enjoy the class. I'm excited that we've found a place for her. And the convenience can't be beat. We have to walk a few yards (versus driving for several miles) to get to class. I can workout in the gym while A takes her lesson. It really works out perfectly.