Mark Vicente

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Since Apr 2010

October 2 - My thoughts on the Convention 2015

Check out my special newsletter regarding the Convention in August !

June 4 - Touching base

I hope you have all been well. Today I am writing to you all from Turku, Finland! Toni has a conference here. It's a very pretty town: quiet and clean.

I had plans to go to Germany for a weekend in May because I was invited to participate in a Zumba party. I was really excited for the opportunity but as the date drew near I wasn't getting that much information about it from the organizers. In the end the party had to be cancelled due to some complications. Of course I was disappointed but it wasn't meant to be. It also worked out better because it meant that I got to teach at a new gym in Amsterdam where I will be teaching permanently in the Fall. Also my Dutch lessons were taking more of my time and my end of class exam was coming up.

It's been tough. All I have been doing the last four weeks was prepare for the exam which was in three parts: Vocabulary, Listening and Writing. It was probably the most stressful thing I have done in a while. The exam was on Monday so hopefully in the next few weeks I will find out in the mail if I past or not.

Finishing my Dutch course (at least for now) has been such an immense relief. Now I can finally relax a bit and get back to working on more DJing, Zumba and writing. The sun has been quite unpredictable in Amsterdam but right now in Turku the weather is quite beautiful. I am definitely looking forward to some hot weather in Montreal in August. As predicted, my Fall Zumba schedule is already getting a bit tricky to manage but hopefully everything will fall in to place. There have been challenges (which most of you have read in my newsletter) but all in all I am so grateful to finally dance and teach. Amsterdam has definitely expanded my style and my expression with Zumba Fitness. I'm looking forward to all the summer adventures that lie ahead. June newsletter coming soon!

April 26th - Sun is coming

Hello Zumba family. Lots of news to share. My Zumba colleague, Petra went away for vacation to Cuba so I taught some of her classes, mostly in Biljmer which is a suburb in Amsterdam and also in the Oost (East) at a place called Sports World. It's been really nice getting to know new people and to share my style of Zumba with the dutch people. 

Yesterday I taught at a place called Life and Kicking in Ijburg which is another suburb here. I got to meet two filipino ladies which was really great. I also got to meet another Zumba Instructor who was visiting from Atalanta who was also filipino! We took pictures after class and it made me think of all of you back in Montreal :)

Looking back on this month I am really humbled and grateful for all of the opportunities.  Sports World was where I took my fist zumba class here in August and to think that now I got to teach there means that I am moving forward and making progress.

This monday is King's Day which is a big holiday here. Many people from all over Europe come to party in the streets of Amsterdam so I expect it will be a pretty crazy day. I will definitely have my camera ready to go!

And lastly, Toni and I found our first apartment! If all goes well, we move in in August before we come to Montreal for a visit. Looking forward to seeing you all this summer!

April 5th - Happy Easter Zumba Family

Happy Easter everybody. It's Spring! I cannot believe it's already been a week since Toni and I got back from our quick visit home. I really, had an amazing time and I truly miss each and everyone one of you. Even though I am happy making a new home here in Amsterdam, I feel most myself in Montreal. It really did a lot for my spirits. Some things were challenging of course: not having an apartment anymore, and finding places for our wifi to work to make plans with people was frustrating at times. But overall I had so much fun reconnecting with you all. Thank you to those who came to the Zumba classes both at Saint James and at Saint John Fisher. It's great to see the community doing so well. Keep it up! I'll be looking forward to dancing with you all again in August.

It's been a bit of a tough week here. The night before I left Montreal I actually got a really bad flu/cold and the evening Toni and I went to the airport I had a pretty high fever. This week I have been doing my best to get over my jet lag plus my cold! But I was able to pull through teaching my two classes this week so it must mean I am on the mend. Next week I will be at Fitness Zuidas again and I also get to be a guest teacher at Sport World in the Oost so I am looking forward to that.

March 17th - Spring is in the air

It's been a bit too long since I've last written but things are slowly moving a long here in Amsterdam. I cannot believe it's been six weeks already since I began my Dutch lessons. My first exam is this thursday and it's been on my mind a lot! Tomorrow will be spent on studying. I'm looking forward to a little break before I begin Beginner's (if I pass). Cross your fingers! I am feeling very grateful these days because for the last week or so the sky has been clearing up and there are less grey days and a lot more sun. I am reminding myself that in Montreal, Winter likes to hold on for as long as possible so it's truly amazing to have an actual Spring for a change. Can you imagine? A full season of Spring. I feel very fortunate.

I have also started to teach! Right now it's in a gym just outside of the city centre called Fitness Zuidas. It's a small space but the students are great. Last week was my very first class and I was so nervous since it had been a while since I taught a full class. Everything went really well and I was relieved to hear that the feedback was really positive. Teaching a class, even if it's only once a week for now has brought back so much joy and happiness back into my life. I am looking forward to new possibilities to teach and hope to have a nice full schedule for the spring and into the summer. I cannot believe that in less than a week I will be back in Montreal. It's incredible how fast time flies when you're having fun. As most of you know I will be teaching two Zumba classes, one downtown and one in the West Island with my sister Liz so I am looking forward to seeing you all and catching up. This winter was a tough one for many of us. Changes, transformation, loss...all of these things can leave us feeling uprooted and unstable. For me, dancing has always kept me grounded and connected. And that is what I am looking forward to the most; dancing and connecting with you all. Tot ziens!

February 17th - happy news!

Today was one of the final steps in my application before I can officially work as an entrepreneur here in Amsterdam. This is a huge accomplishment for me. I have been so worried that the process would be complicated and full of obstacles but it looks like Amsterdam has an invested interest in people working (and, of course, paying taxes!) I am so thrilled that in a few weeks time I can really start looking for work and sharing some zumba love with this new community. 

February 15th - making learning fun

I've got a little secret I'd like to share with you all: school makes me nervous. It's not that I'm not a good student, I think I am a pretty good one. But I think I take school and studying a little too seriously. It's hard for me to find the fun in it. I always want to be perfect, I never want to look or feel stupid or that I don't know anything and I constantly have that little voice in my head that says I'm not good enough. I have recently started to learn Dutch. It's been close to twenty years since I have stepped into a classroom setting and it's amazing how all those old emotions of inadequacy come rushing back in an instant. Most people might think that Zumba is just a group fitness class but Zumba, to me, is also a philosophy and a way to approach life's challenges with laugher and love. Every time the gremlin in my head threatens to get the better of me I try to remind myself that learning is fun, that as a beginner (or in this case Absolute Beginner!) I will never get it right the first time and that everything new takes time and patience and a sense of humour. It's going to be a pretty long road before I am somewhat proficient in Dutch, I might as well enjoy the journey right?

Zumba class is the same. Once you "master" the latest salsa or cumbia after a few weeks a new routine comes into the mix and you're back at square one, feeling uncertain and unsafe. The practice of Zumba is to have fun along the way. So what if you get a few steps wrong? Zumba is not about perfection, zumba is about play.

This is a powerful message about how life COULD be if we brought a bit of that zumba love to everything we do. Especially the things that challenge us most. 

So whether it's a new dance step or a new language remember to take everything in stride, keep your chin up and smile. It's not serious, it's zumba! There's always a new meremgue around the corner ;)

February 5 - Back from Germany

I just got back to Amsterdam from a week long trip to Germany. Toni and I spent four days in Berlin and then the last few days on Rugen to visit his family. Being in Berlin was pretty powerful. There is so much history in that country that's impossible to ignore. I was especially moved to be at the Jewish Museum and monument and the berlin wall. I was really grateful to be there with Toni because he spent many years living there so he had many friends and I got to see not only the major sites but a lot of the great cafes and neighbourhoods in the city. I was hoping to go to a Zumba class but one of my contacts fell through and I also twisted my foot a little bit on the cobble stone streets so I was in a bit of pain through some of the trip. I'm not going to lie, it's a bit of a catch 22 when you're visiting cities in Europe during the winter months. There's a part of me that absolutely loves it because there are much less tourists and I feel like you get a true feeling of what the city is like. But it is also very cold at times and damp and grey. I was glad that I had the opportunity to go even though sometimes I just wanted to curl up indoors with a hot cocoa and watch netflix! I still have to apply for one more thing before I am officially allowed to start guest/teaching here in Amsterdam. Toni and I had a great time, but I think we're both glad to finally be back "home" :)

Jan 24 - "back to school"

Can I share a little secret? It's been a challenge to get myself back to the gym after the holidays. After Feel the Joy my body really needed rest. And the jet lag has been tough. Sometimes I feel like my body is a little whiny child who doesn't want to go to school in the morning. It takes a little extra effort to be a kind parent to myself and give myself that gentle push it needs. This week I was able to attend two Zumba classes. I met Rianne through her sister Petra who is also a Zumba instructor. She invited me to her class on wednesday and even asked me to do two numbers for her class which was really generous of her. On monday I realized I hadn't done any cardio at all since I got here (other than biking around town which I will get to in another entry!) so I did my McGill playlist in my living room. It was crazy how much I was sweating after only forty five minutes! Rianne's energy is really great in class and Zumba seems to have a very strong cardio base here judging by both her class and Peter's class I did the following night. It's given me an opportunity to see how I can marry my approach two Zumba to the "style" I see people are accustom to here. The Zumba Fitness program, for me, will always be rooted in a passion for movement rather than sculpting or the pursuit of "fit" body. There are other styles of fitness for that. Even Zumba has Zumba toning and now the very popular Zumba step. I hope in time I will be able to find a pace that will let me showcase my abilities as a instructor and motivator. Until then, I am happy to dance and move wherever I am welcome :)

Jan 16 - Amsterdam: my new home

I have officially been in Amsterdam for one week. To be honest it has been an adjustment of sorts. First off, the city is gorgeous and I am so happy to be here with my partner Toni. After many months apart it's nice to finally be in one place together. Our Bike rides have helped with the jet lag. It feels good to move my body and get some fresh air. I imagine this weather is very similar to winters in BC. There's a chill in the air but it's mostly just grey and rainy. Hopefully once I get out of this fog of the jet lag I will find my equilibrium again. I have to remind myself that these things take time and to breathe. I have yet to take my first Zumba class here but I am excited to get going. I'll be heading to Berlin at the end of the month so I hope I can find a class to take while I'm there as well. I plan on making entries at least once a week so keep following my webpage. I will be sending out a newsletter soon as well! xo

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