My love for Salsa started in 2003, in Daegu, South Korea. Wait whaaaat 😱? Yep that’s right! After University, I found myself with a huge student loan that needed to be paid off, and after hearing about the opportunities awaiting young graduates across the ocean, I decided to pack things up and head on over.
However, after six months of working in Daegu, the culture shock finally got to me, and I found my self needing a hobby. Drinking at bars with fellow English Teachers every weekend just wasn’t cutting it. I wanted to dig into the culture, and meet more Koreans.
Well before I knew it, the perfect hobby landed on my lap – when I was invited to the grand opening of “Salsita” – in Daegu city.
My best friend’s girlfriend invited him and I to the event – and after the first night, I was totally hooked!
The rest of my time in Daegu involved a regular schedule of working my butt off as an English Teacher 9am-7pm, learning how to be an English teacher for kindergarten students, middle school students, and even adults – and then finding some reprieve on the weekend with Salsa.
From wiping the dangling snot from little Joey’s nose each day, to getting “Dong-shimmed” in the behind while photocopying notes for the next class, I truly got the ‘authentic’ Korean experience. It was hard work, but Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday definitely made it worth it!
Every week like clockwork, my two friends (then living in Kyung-Ju, the next town over), would hop on a bus on Thursday evening, come to Daegu to Salsa with me, then crash at my place in the spare bedroom.
The three of us became an unstoppable Treo!
- On Thursday we would join Social Dance night, which was open for all.
- Friday night – was when the experts came out, and amazed us with their great dancing skills
- Saturday night would then be a repeat of Friday night, but better (and with more Soju and Korean Street food tours)
- And Sunday, was our Weekly salsa lesson at the club.
Life was pretty sweet – as we rinsed and repeated this schedule for the next year and half.
Unfortunately, I did get teased a bit by the other English Teachers, when I started learning how to dance.
This certainly did not dissuade me though, as I was aware that they just didn’t know what they were missing! And by the end of my 1.5 year stint in Daego, their attitudes swiftly changed.
Especially when the fifty plus Korean friends whom I had met at the Salsa club over the past year, joined me for a party on the roof of our rented apartment complex – complete with a rented stereo system, salsa music and fireworks.
To this day, I don’t know whose jaws dropped farther, my fellow English Teachers who saw me dancing with the super talented (and beautiful) Korean dancers, or the entire Korean neighborhood wondering what madness was occurring on the top of our apartment building!
Below is a video which was captured in front of a live Salsa Band in Squamish B.C. recently.
I wanted to share with you because it reminds me of the awesome times I had in Korea before Facebook existed.
It’s amazing how salsa sits in your bones… so many memories come back to me when I hear the Latin music start playing.