Tag Archives: Colombia

How to be Great at Anything (Obliterating racial stereotypes in 10,000 hours)

6 Jun
English: Frankie Martinez performing "The...

Could I ever dance as well as my hero, Frankie Martinez?      With enough practice, you bet I could.

Foreign girl: Where are you from?
Me: Ireland
Foreign girl: No your not, hahaha!

Local girl: De donde es usted? (Where are you from?)
Me: Irlanda (Ireland)
Local girl: jajaja, mentira (hahaha, lies)

I was dancing with both of these girls when they asked me these questions.

Apparently it’s common knowledge that I, as an Irishman shouldn’t be able to dance well. Apparently, I do not have the genetic material that would provide me with the bone structure and joints needed to move smoothly nor the ear for beat that would let me react intuitively to the music. Apparently, these genes can only be found in Latin and African populations which is why they’re the best dancers.


This is a lie that has been perpetuated throughout the world and especially so in the dance community for far too long. Preconceived notions like this are what stop people from even attempting new things. If we listen to them we WRONGLY believe that we are destined to fail at a certain activity because we lack a certain characteristic, be it physical or mental, that is necessary to excel in that endeavor. How many times have you heard someone say something like “Oh I could never learn Japanese, I’m no good with languages” or “I’d never be able to play the guitar. Music just isn’t my thing” or the classic “You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks”? BULL S#!T BULL S#!T BULL S#!T

I’m going to put all those lies to rest today by saying this: “I am an Irishman and I dance salsa”.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to base my entire case on that one comment. It’s time to elaborate.

When I first started dancing in Japan, I was constantly told by the people who got me into the scene in the first place, how latinos were the best dancers, that they could move better than Japanese people and really express themselves with the music. I was told this by people who danced salsa well, by the people who were teaching me how to dance. I later remember going to salsa clubs in big cities in Japan on a few occasions and seeing Japanese people dancing spectacularly with passion and rhythm and everything else that dance should be. Every bit as good as their latino counterparts.

When I returned to Ireland and started on the scene there I lost count of the times that people would tell me things like “I’ll never be as good as “so and so” because he’s black and they just move better”. One of my own dance partners (you know who you are ;-)) even told me that I would never be as good as a latino dancer because I was Irish. She was convinced that her own latin heritage meant she could feel the music differently and dance better. Yet despite this I still managed to get many comments like those at the beginning of this post in Ireland, Japan, the US and even here in Colombia, a latin country. Despite being Irish, I still dance well. (I know it sounds like I’m blowing my own horn here but I’m trying to make a point. I know for a fact that I have a very long way to go before I’m a great dancer, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dance WELL now).

Some of the best compliments I ever got were when I went with my friend “la Mulata” (introducing a new character folks) to a party held by some friends of her uncle. La Mulata is, obviously, black as is her uncle and the vast majority of the people who were at the party. I, on the other hand, am super-white so I tend to stick out “a little” at such parties. I’m used to it at this stage. The lifeblood of Colombian parties is of course salsa, so the time came and I took la Mulata out on the floor and started doing what I do. It was a great dance as I had danced with la Mulata many times before but I also felt that every eye in the room was on me. It’s easy enough to justify; the white guy in a house of black people trying to dance salsa in the world capital of salsa. Everyone was dying to see if I’d be able to keep up with the beautiful black girl I was dancing with. The song ended and we walked back to our seats smiling. What came next was a stream of compliments from my hosts about how well I danced. They all expressed their surprise and told me things like “you move so well” and “you’re really able to get the rhythm”. I blushed hard (as everyone who knows me knows I do often) and went on to dance plenty more songs during the night.

A little later the only other white people at the party (a married couple and their daughter) told me how impressed they were by my dancing and I continued talking with the father for a while. He told me that he had never been able to dance, that instead he preferred to to just listen to the music and chat at parties. He thought it was really amazing that a non-Latino like me could dance salsa so well. As we were talking we watched his teenage daughter dance with her friends. She danced just like them. She moved her body, especially her hips, beautifully and in perfect rhythm with the music, just like all the other girls dancing around her. I asked her father about it and he told me that he didn’t really understand why his own daughter danced so well. Neither he nor his wife were big dancers but she simply had always been able to dance well, since she was a child.

Let’s think about this a little: a white girl whose parents can’t dance, grows up in a mostly black community, with black friends, and ends up being able to dance just like them!

Is it possible that the ability to dance doesn’t actually come from some innate genetic ability that varies among races and is in fact something that can be simply learned? YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS IT IS!

Here’s the thing, in general (I have to say in general because I have encountered plenty of exceptions over the years) people of African descent and latinos are amazing dancers. Is it because their bodies move differently, because they have “dancing genes”? I’m going to say “NO”. Then why do they dance so well? I firmly believe it is all down to cultural exposure and the resulting practice.

Latino culture (at least here in Colombia) is full of music and dancing. Children are exposed to this music from a young age and start dancing salsa in primary school and continue to dance it at virtually every social function they go to during their lives. They spend a huge amount of time “practicing” so it’s no wonder they’re such good dancers. Black people in Cali often live in black neighbourhoods where they have an even stronger music and dance culture than non-afro-descended Caleños. Due to all of this exposure many of them end up being spectacular dancers. This explains how the white girl at the party was able to dance so well. She grew up in an Afro-colombian neighbourhood surrounded by its culture and “learned” to dance in exactly the same way as all her friends.

How to be Great at Anything

How can we use this, in practical terms, to improve our own dancing (or anything else for that matter)? We’ve established that even if your not of African or Latin decent you can still become an excellent dancer just by immersing yourself in the culture. So all you need to do is travel back in time and convince your parents to move to a Latin neighbourhood to raise you, right?

Thankfully it’s a little easier than that (no time travel required).

This brings me to the concept of 10,000 hours popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. I first heard of this concept while studying Japanese after discovering a great website with the snappy title of alljapaneseallthetime.com. The whole concept of “10,000 Hours” is that anyone who has ever mastered or excelled in a particular field, be it sports, arts or business, has done so only after putting in a huge amount of time (for example 10,000 hours or so) “practicing”.

Why is Tiger Woods one of the greatest golfers on Earth? Because his father introduced him to golf when he was 18 months old and encouraged him to practice constantly. By the time he was ranked world number one he had racked up years worth of experience. The Beatles honed their concert skills over four years and 1,200 live concerts in Hamburg, Germany leading them to become one of the greatest music groups the world has ever seen. Think about it, how many times have you heard of some prodigy child musician on the news? Do you think it’s a coincidence that the kid started playing the piano or whatever when he was two and practiced 3 hours a day for 10 years? Not at all!


But hold on, if you do the math, it would take almost 14 years of practicing everyday for 2 hours a day to reach 10,000 hours!
Yes…if you want to become one of the greatest in the world.

Some people, however, have less lofty goals. The whole point of this article is to point out the importance of practicing frequently to improve your chosen skill. Practice and you will get better. If you want to dance like a latino, increase your “cultural exposure”; listen to the music every chance you get and dance to it like it’s going out of fashion. Move with the music, make it part of your life and watch how you improve.

My own personal experience with the power of constant practice came about a year after I “started” dancing salsa. As I’ve stated in an earlier post when I first started dancing salsa I had trouble getting to regular classes (due to my schedule, location and interference from other hobbies) so my initial progress was slow. So in September of 2009 after deciding I wanted a holiday and wanted to improve my salsa at the same time I booked a trip to Manila in the Philippines and Hong Kong. My logic was that I could get some private coaching there much cheaper than I could in Japan and there was a more developed salsa scene in both cities so I could dance regularly while I was there. I booked a number of private lessons with some instructors who I found by searching on the net, packed my bags and left on what is known in Japan as Shugyou (修行) (training or the pursuit of knowledge).

A birthday prank by my friends that ended up becoming the symbol for my monthly salsa parties in Miyazaki. Everyone was well aware of how big a part of my life salsa had become.

My holiday lasted about 10 days of which I had a number of hours of private salsa instruction (maybe 6) and I also went out social dancing almost every night (amounting to maybe 24 hours of practice). So when I came back to Japan 10 days later I had an extra 30 hours of practice under my belt. It showed. My salsa friends in Japan noticed straight away a huge improvement in my leading skills and general movement. I moved smoother and more easily and my lead became lighter but more definitive. In less than 2 weeks I had returned a different dancer.

I needed to increase the amount of time I spent practicing so I took matters into my own hands. I started organizing a monthly salsa class and party to get more people interested in salsa and so I could dance more. It took off and once a month my salsa friends and I would teach beginners the basic salsa steps and then dance for hours on end until our feet ached. I tried to practice with a partner on occasion too and I tried to occasionally make the 4 hour bus ride to Fukuoka to dance in the salsa parties there. I improved a huge amount because of all the new practice and because I needed to learn to adapt my style to that of all the other new dancers I was dancing with.

All of this taught me the real value of constant practice. I now know that if I want to improve in Salsa, or anything else, I just need to put in the hours. If I want to learn to dance like a latino dancer I just need to dance (a lot) with latino dancers, to watch and imitate what they do and practice it (a lot) for myself.

Since I’ve come to Colombia on my current salsa adventure I’ve noticed 2 things:
1: My LA style salsa (that is, my technical salsa) has taken a slight nosedive because I don’t have access here to partners that can dance LA (I’m currently training some in to remedy this).
2: My body movement and my ability to feel and react to music has improved significantly. I dance salsa regularly here in much closer contact than I ever have before and that has given me that opportunity to work on isolation in my shoulders and hips that I felt I was lacking in before.

With lack of practice one skill has deteriroated while with added practice a different skill has improved. It’s all about the number of hours you dedicate to a given skill. Simple as that.

So if you want to be great at something (or even just want to improve a little) there really is nothing stopping you except yourself. The only thing keeping you from being as good (or even better) a dancer as Africans or Latinos is time. Go take every salsa class you can find. Practice your basic step while you’re cooking in the kitchen. Get a good partner and practice together as often as you can. Fill your iPod with salsa music and listen to it when you drive to work. Dance socially at every, single opportunity you get. Show the world that you don’t need magical dancing genes to be a great dancer. Put in your hours and reap the benefits.

If you’re not practicing, you’re not getting better!
Use every chance you get.

How many hours have you put in this week?

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What I love about Cali, Colombia

30 May

As the lyrics to Cali Pachanguero go, “Que Cali es Cali, Señoras, Señores, Lo demás es loma”

I’ve been living here in Cali, Colombia for almost 9 months now and I can happily say that although it hasn’t been totally smooth sailing, at ALL times it has been an overwhelmingly positive experience.

I feel I’ve developed as good a feel for the place as one can in the amount of time I’ve been here and I’ve wanted to write about the things I like for a while, both to share with my readers and to help me appreciate my experiences here a little more definitively (I try to be thankful for all I have as much as possible).

So, here we go, what I love about my new home

They’re friendly, easy going, love to joke around, extroverted and on top of that they love dancing. They’re a really welcoming people who know how to have a good time.

There’s a lot to be said for living in the tropics. Here in Cali, the temperature hovers around 29C most days at mid-day which is a little hot for my Irish blood but it’s not too humid and the early mornings and late afternoons are deliciously cool. Apart from 2 short rainy seasons I don’t have to worry about carrying an umbrella too much either.

Free, Live Music
I have really been spoiled here in Cali with the amount of live music events that one just finds randomly on the street or at larger events around the city, many of them completely free. I’ve so far had the pleasure of seeing La 33, currently one of Colombia’s most popular salsa groups, Choquib Town, a hugely popular group playing a mix of hip-hop and pacifico music) and Habana con Kola (of “Vente Negra” fame) all without spending a penny.

When I learned that Cali was famed in South America for it’s beautiful women I can honestly say that it didn’t put me off coming here. With mixes of European, African and indigenous South American blood, Cali produces some of the most beautiful and diverse women I have ever seen.

With more varieties than I can remember (including plenty of fruits I’ve never even seen before) along with the universal availability of cheap, fresh and delicious fruit salads and smoothies, Cali’s tropical environment keeps me supplied with all the vitamins and antioxidants I could ever need.

This really is the world capital of salsa. With virtually every radio in every home, store and taxi spouting out Latin beats, it’s no surprise that virtually everyone here dances salsa (or bachata or merengue or reggaeton or pacifico) on a night out.

Pacifico culture
The pacifico culture is the culture of the African-descended people who populate the pacific coast and make up a large proportion of Cali. Discovering their music, dance and food was one of my most pleasant surprises here in Colombia. Have a look a my favourite song by one of my favourite groups, Herencia de Timbiqui

Respect for the elderly
Whenever riding on public transport, if an elderly person gets on board and there are no seats available, someone will always offer them their seat. The way it should be.

Friendly advice on safety
If I ever have my phone out on the street or even at a streetside table in a café, someone will always tell me to be careful with it or let me know if I should put it away completely. Also, because I stand out so much if I ever wander into a dodgy neighbourhood, the locals will warn me about it pretty quickly.

For the record, I hate coffee (true to my Irish roots I’m a tea drinker). However, I have discovered the godsend that is coffee’s energizing properties (essential for early mornings after a late night salsa session) and the coffee they serve here is cheap, plentiful and a lot smoother than the stuff I’ve had back home which I would consider reminiscent of what Satan’s blood might taste like.

Here in Colombia they use diminutive forms of words like it’s gong out of fashion. You never order “un cafe” it’s “un cafecito”, nothing ever happens “ahora” it’s “ahorita”. I really just love being able to call girls “mamacita” and hearing them call me “papacito”. Makes my day.

Never needing to know someone’s name
Don’t know someone’s name but want to talk to them anyway? Take your pick; mami (mommy), papi (daddy), nena (girl), chico (boy), niño (kid), joven (youth), linda (cutey), hermosa (beautiful), flaca (skinny), gordo (fatty), the list goes on. In my case, everywhere I go I’m known as mono (blondie)!

Street food everywhere
While I am not a fan of Colombian food in general, I’ll never have difficulty finding something quick and cheap on the street. I just wish the menu was a little more varied than arepas, empanadas and chorizos.

Relaxed political correctness
Excessive political correctness is a pain in the ass an has made people (at least in the English speaking world) way too sensitive. Here you say things as they are and people don’t get offended. I call my black friends negrito and they call me blanquito, I call my skinny friends flaco and they call me mono. We are what we are and have to realize there’s no need to be upset by it.

Mornings in my barrio
The sun shines, people sit in the local panaderias (bakeries) drinking café and eating pandebono, things are relaxed and it never seems like anyone is in a rush to start the day. I am getting really used to this.

Champús, looks like vomit but thankfully doesn’t taste like it.

A “drink” I had never heard of before made of a fermented mixture of fruits and corn and seasoned with cloves and cinamon. This is sold by the glass from huge vats carted around the street on special bicycles. It may look a little like vomit (just like salpicon and mazamora) but it is delicious.

I have loved haggling since I first tried my hand at it in Ethiopia 12 years ago and (when I have the energy) I feel I’m pretty good at it. Like when the asking price for a pair of knock-off Nikes was COL$190,000 (this was most certainly the “Gringo” price) and I managed to get them for $35,000, I have to admit I felt pretty pleased with myself.

Feria de Cali
Starting on Christmas day, begins a week long party in Cali that you simply cannot escape. With parades, concerts, food, music and of course salsa dancing every night it certainly is a different way to spend the Christmas holidays.

Hugs and Kisses for everyone
I love the affectionate culture and different perspective on physical contact that people have here. You greet and say goodbye to women with a kiss on the cheek and to men with a hug or at least a good handshake (if you run into a big group of people this can take quite a while to get through). People aren’t uneasy about touching each other (which took a little getting used to) which is something I feel we really lack in Northern Europe and North America.

There’s much more that I could mention but I’ll probably add to the list as time goes by and I remember other things that I love about this place.

I’ll leave you with a nice, little song by Orquestra Guayacán called “Oiga, Mire, Vea” all about this great little city. I hope it gives you the incentive to come and visit.

If you’ve been to Cali before or want to come visit, let me know in the comments

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How I ended up in Colombia (or “Thank you, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!”)

14 May

First off, don’t worry, the title will make sense eventually. I promise.

I moved to Colombia in September, 2011 arriving first in Bogota and then, after 3 days of rain and cold far too similar to Irish weather for my liking, taking the 12 hour bus through the Andes to Cali, the world capital of Salsa. My Mecca.

That off course neither explains why I went there nor the title of this post. For that we need to go back, way back to my chubby childhood. To a period lost in the annals of mediocrity. Back to the nineteen nineties!

I like many easily influenced kids at the time used to spend my evenings after school sat in front of the telly watching cartoons until the children’s programming ended and that waste of air-time known as “the news” started. One day, a new cartoon began that was to captivate me every subsequent Friday afternoon and affect me profoundly (albeit unknowingly, initially) for the rest of my life. That show was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The show had everything; crime fighting, turtles, comedy, sci-fi and most importantly, martial arts. I was hooked. I managed to get my parents to buy me turtle video games and even a turtle costume complete with super-breakable plastic swords that I used with my younger brother who had a pair of super-breakable (although super-painful) plastic nunchuks. I didn’t manage to get them to buy me the pet turtles I wanted which in retrospect is probably a good thing, considering I would probably have tried to mutate them with something in an attempt to have my own mutant play friends (I loved science too which meant it was a genuine possibility).

However, I did manage to get them to send me to the local Shotokan Karate club so I too could be a crime fighter (I would have to try and work on the mutation stuff later). I imagine that many martial arts clubs at the time saw a jump in enrollment when the Turtles first aired, with so many kids wanting to emulate their heroes. A jump that was probably as short-lived as it was sudden.It was the first sport I ever really gave a go at and I did it for a couple of years, getting my purple belt after which I just stopped going, as children are wont to do.

The next stage of my journey with karate began in my 4th year of secondary school (1999-2000). I went through a lot of changes that year. I had decided that I no longer wanted to be the chubby kid who regularly got bullied by the other kids so I started to eat healthily, bought a cheap set of barbells and dumbbells and returned with a new passion to Karate. I practiced diligently and became relatively decent, winning a few trophies in competitions, getting my brown belt and gaining a new found confidence in myself that I never had before.

It was during secondary school that I started reading books about karate and other martial arts and this obviously led me to learning about the history and culture of Japan. I began to understand the origins of many of the things I did in my karate training and most importantly I learned and really came to appreciate the Japanese concept of “dou” (written in Japanese kanji as 道) which means road or way and is used as a suffix to signify the “the way of…” in numerous Japanese art forms such as sadou (茶道) “the way of tea” for the study of the Japanese tea ceremony or shodou (書道) “the way of writing” for Japanese calligraphy and of course in martial arts like karate-dou (空手道) “the way of the empty hand”.

I liked the fact that in Japan there was traditionally a correct process, a way, to do things and this left me with a strong desire to go there and experience it for myself. So strong in fact that I even asked the school guidance counselor about it and she let me know about a teaching programme called JET that paid university graduates to go to Japan and immerse themselves in Japanese cultures (this also happened to be the only time that the guidance counselor provided me with anything useful in my six years at that school). I was 16 years old and completely sold on the idea. Once I graduated from university, in 5 years, I was going to Japan.

When my final year of secondary school came around I decided to focus on my studies (as I was I good boy and deep-down, a total nerd) so I put Karate on hold. I did well in my final exams and got into the university I wanted, University College Cork, studying biological sciences (the sci-fi aspect of the Turtles leaving its mark in yet another way I believe. I also learned that mutation in real life was nowhere near as cool as it had been portrayed in the Turtles).

In college, I took the opportunity to try out the various clubs that were available; boxing, scuba-diving, gymnastics, break dancing and I even went to a couple of salsa classes thanks to their clever advertising campaign pointing out the shockingly large ratio of women to men (in my 2 classes I neither learned to dance nor met any girls, imagine that!). I did however become a pretty dedicated member of the kickboxing club and to a lesser extent, due to scheduling conflicts, of the karate club. I remained a brown belt throughout college, as I never took the opportunity to try and advance further while I was there (i.e. like many college students, I was just too lazy).

During my 4 years at college I had almost forgotten about going to Japan although the idea must have kept hold somewhere in the back of my mind. Luckily, at the careers exposition of my final year I stumbled across the JET information booth, remembered my teenage dream, applied and was eventually accepted (it was not quite as easy as I’ve made it sound and MAY have involved lots of scrambling for deadlines and a little bit of crying. MAY!)

So in late July of 2006 I was shipped out to Japan and to my final destination of Miyazaki prefecture (which I had never heard of in my life) where I would spend 4 of the best years of my life.

At this stage you’re probably wondering “What does any of this have to do with salsa or living in Colombia?”. It’s coming, bear with me.

In Japan, I did so many new things; learning Japanese, Japanese archery, calligraphy, surfing, organizing Irish cooking classes and phenomenal St. Patrick’s Day parties that I almost completely forgot about Karate until my final year there when I found a great club with some great people, started training again and finally got my black belt, almost 15 years after I started karate for the first time (never let it be said that I don’t get the job done… eventually).

While in Japan, one of my best friends, Nahoko, a very international girl who was very socially active invited me to a salsa party that she was hosting at a local bar. I went, a little reluctantly, with my girlfriend at the time. There was an introductory lesson given by two people who were to become very important in my life; Yano-papa and Yano-mama (as they like to call themselves).

Here’s the thing, I had always wanted to learn to dance as I always watched jealously whenever I saw a couple dancing on TV, moving in perfect unison and harmony with the music and pretty much just looking much cooler than I ever could with two-step, back and forth, Irishman sway. My girlfriend at the time had danced ballet when she was younger and so had no problem picking up the rhythm instantly during the lesson and I have to be honest, watching her dancing in front of me, smiling and gently swaying her hips with to the music was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen (I, however, was a little less than coordinated).

We had a blast at the party, and “danced” (as well as an Irishman with no rhythm can) until the party ended. I made a pledge to myself that night that I was going to get better at salsa, dance well with my girlfriend and impress the hell out of her.

Now, as you can imagine, finding regular salsa classes in a rural prefecture in Japan is not the easiest of tasks but I managed to do a few classes, kept secret from my girlfriend, where I picked up a couple of new “moves” and some “dodgy” rhythm. Over the next year and a half, thanks to new found motivation and few journeys abroad for “training”, I improved a lot (how and why I’ll explain in some other posts) eventually organizing and teaching at a monthly salsa class and party in my city to try and promote salsa to the masses. I can proudly say that that party is still going strong in Miyazaki city thanks to the help of my Japanese salsa friends.

In my final year in Japan, after breaking up with my girlfriend, I began to look for new challenges (filling the void that develops after a breakup is something I’m sure many of you are aware of). I was pretty happy with how I had progressed with Japanese so I wanted to try a new language and Spanish was the obvious choice thanks to my desire to actually understand the lyrics of all the salsa songs I regularly listened to. I gave it a shot (without much dedication) and began to think about what I might do after I left Japan, where I would go etc. and all the signs (Salsa, Spanish and a desire to experience a culture completely different from Japan’s) pointed to South America.

Around the same time I met a very beautiful Colombian woman, living in the neighbouring prefecture, who I mentioned my idea to. She told me straight away that I had to go to her hometown, Cali, the world capital of salsa, to truly live the “cultura de la rumba”. After asking my reliable and knowledgeable friend, Wikipedia, all about Cali, my mind was made up. I was moving to Cali, to learn Spanish and real salsa (I also learned that Cali is apparently home to some of the most beautiful women in the world and that didn’t hurt either).

I finished my contract in Japan and moved back to Ireland where I worked for a year after managing to get a great job at the Japanese Embassy that I thought would look nice on my CV and would help me smoothly readjust to western culture. It did.

I was more than happy to discover, when I moved back, that there was a very healthy salsa scene in Dublin and I became a regular at the various events and parties around the city and was very lucky to befriend some amazing salseros and salseras, both from Ireland and abroad. I learned and improved my salsa a lot that year and really came to appreciate Dublin (as it was my first time living there). However, my mind had been made up and I made all the arrangements to travel to Colombia as soon as my one-year contract at the embassy finished.
And so, after a little holiday back to Japan to visit my friends and get my fill of sushi I returned back to the family farm for a couple of weeks to get my affairs in order and say goodbye to my family and friends once again.

After a week’s layover in New York, relishing the chance to reconnect with some old friends, enjoying good food and dancing salsa I arrived in Bogota and then made my way here, to Cali where I’ve been ever since, bailando, rumbeando y gozando all that this very special city has to offer.

There’s a great deal more to tell you about but I guess that’s what a blog is for. I can’t wait to write the next post. Stay tuned.

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Who am I?

7 May

I’m an Irishman, with a beard!

I live in Cali, Colombia, the world capital of Salsa.

I dance.

Basically I am living my life the way I want to live it right now and I am very happy the way it’s working out.

Everything that has happened to me in my life has brought me to where I am right now and I am enjoying being taken along for the ride (while making sure I’m staying on the right track). I’ve lived around the world, met many incredible people, seen some unforgettable sights and taken up some really fun hobbies.

So, on the advice of some friends and out of feeling the necessity to share some of my insights and experiences with the world (which apparently is waiting for me) I’ve started this blog.

I hope to talk about everything that interests me, everything that makes me tick so I’ll be covering a lot of topics. From food to world travel, language learning to skill acquisition, nutrition to exercise science and maybe even how to make a good cup of tea (because I am, after all is said and done, an Irishman).

Oh yeah, and I’ll probably mention something about dancing too.

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Fiona Uyema

Japanese Cookbook Author

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Dreams. Memories. Stories.

Oh what a world!

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

My Brailzian Adventure

A record of my time living and teaching in Brazil

Just Dancing Salsa~ Cape Town

Feel. Play. Express.


Cuba reflected through food

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