Dancin’ the Night Away
By Heidi Brooks (NE)
I was completely shocked when I received the email last week from Goldie telling me my number had come up. Wow. And from the Kennedy School – apparently there aren’t enough single men here at HBS. Anyway, I was encouraged when I found out that he had specified “a brunette interested in international development,” because with the state of the world today I figured we’d have plenty to talk about – as long as it was anything but case interviews and CAPM!
In honor of the developing world (and to spice up this article) I suggested that we begin our date by doing something a little different: taking an African dance class at the Dance Complex in Central Square. This was definitely not your typical Friday night! There were 25 people of all shapes and colors moving to the beat of live drums, and though it was his first time, he was totally into it. It seems that Mike is a big fan of dancing: his original idea for the date was to go salsa dancing, and he has a history of polka dancing, which he thinks might be the next big thing.
After the class, he very kindly dropped me off at home and after showers at our respective homes we headed to the highly-recommended Midwest Grill for Brazilian food. After our workout, we felt perfectly comfortable stuffing our faces with skewered meat and delicious side dishes. We talked about his recent trip to the Dominican Republic, my life in Vietnam and about a dozen countries in between. Since he was sweet enough to buy me dinner I treated him to ice cream at Christina’s and the conversation moved to topics like growing up in Utah and New Hampshire (him) and impressions of Boston (me).
We were still talking, so we headed to the B-Side Lounge for a drink, and I was persuaded to try his grandmother’s favorite drink: cranberry and tequila. Though I’m not giving up my vodka and cranberry just yet, it’s worth a try.
All in all, it was a great date and we have enough in common that I’m sure we’ll get together again.A Journey Around The World, With a Nice
Shower in the Middle
By Mike Putnam (KSG)
After my date with Heidi, I now think that every good date should have a shower somewhere in the middle of it. This relaxing intermission in our evening took place an hour or so after my date and I got all sweaty from (sorry to disappoint!) a very vigorous dance class.
This all began as I picked Heidi up and we drove to the Dance Complex in Cambridge for our evening African dance class. After an hour of stretching and timid drumming, I was hoping we hadn’t just stumbled into an aerobics class. Then the dancing began. There were five powerful drummers playing an infectious rhythm. One second we were jumping left, the next we were spinning around, and finally we were laughing at ourselves and each other as we picked up the steps. Early on, I realized that with twenty women and five guys in the room, this wasn’t so bad after all. Of course I sprained a rare muscle or two, but I had a great time.
After two hours of running around, this is where the shower came in: a chance to relax and reflect on the evening so far. We went to our separate apartments, freshened up, and met up again for dinner. We agreed that we had earned the right to go to the Midwest Grill, a Brazilian barbecue buffet near Inman Square. You walk into this place, and the cow mounted on the wall indicates that these people are serious about meat. As we ate our “feijoada” black beans, we sampled about ten different succulent meats from the waiters carrying around spits full of freshly roasted barbecue, all while getting to know each other better.
As we eased into our conversation, we talked a bit about our schools, and then dove into our various international travels. We started by talking about her time in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, traveling by motorcycle, and the virtues of $3 massages. We reminisced about Prague and Budapest, Russian breakfasts and Cote D’Ivoire, beautiful Cape Town and (here’s to you Goldie) Johannesburg. One funny thing about Heidi (understandable after years of living in the developing world) was her, err… strong feelings about poor water quality in Cambridge.
After satiating our well-earned appetites, we sat back and listened to the Brazilian musician crooning to the crowd. A friend from the crowd soon joined the singing, and Heidi surprised me by translating the lyrics, real-time. We left the Grill soon after, as she graciously struck up a conversation in Spanish with our waiter.
We walked over to Christina’s for some homemade ice cream (try the lime and cranberry) and shared many laughs in a conversation ranging from Utah culture to full-contact polka. From there we went to the B-Side Lounge on Hampshire Street for a drin, and the conversation turned briefly to race. I learned that Heidi is a very original person who has lived a fascinating life. She is black and I am white and we have a lot in common. We agreed to go skiing together sometime soon.
I would recommend a date with Heidi to anyone with the spunk to go along – and just remember, a shower in the middle of your date is a good thing.