Monday, June 21, 2010

Week 9: "Make Sure You Have Talent!"

Just like summer camp, teacher training ended with a talent show.  Dom's rule for the talent show acts was, "Make sure you have talent," and someone was clever enough to have those words projected on the screen throughout the show.

More on that later, but first things first: week nine kicked my ASS.  I suspected from the beginning that this would happen.  Every time Manali told us that week nine was "just the winding up week," I was like "Mmmmhmmmm... right... we'll see if that's true or not."

It turned out to be a ridiculously busy week for me.  So busy that I didn't even write in my journal (which I had religiously updated every single day up until that point), which means that I don't even know exactly what happened.  If I don't write that stuff down, it all turns into a blur!  But anyway.  On Monday night, I was picked to be in the graduation demonstration.  There were 30 of us, and our job was to all get up on stage and do the whole series together, nicely, in synch, to music.  Brandy and Ida rehearsed us, which was great.  But we were supposed to rehearse for an hour (at least) after every class, which cut down our free time to ZERO.  And on TOP of that, I somehow wound up being in charge of the Bollywood dance act for the talent show on Friday night.  (We got very last-minute approval for the talent show from Bikram.)  So I ended up with less sleep and more stress than most people, and that was probably good - if you don't get your ass kicked at SOME point, you can't really say that you've been through the fire of teacher training!  But it was tough going for a little while in there...

Fast-forward to Friday.  On Friday night, we had the last class of teacher training with Bikram.  I squeezed into a spot near the podium and had less than an inch between my mat and my neighbor's mats.  On the last day, everyone finally wanted to be up front!  It was a fun and surreal class.  At the end, right before camel, I suddenly realized that the class was almost over and thought "Oh no!  That was it!  It's ending, right now!"  After that, class was so weird, because I could feel that the last minutes of class were disappearing and there was nothing I could do to slow it down...

After class we listened to track 3 of Bikram Lounge (the BEST song!!) and it was basically a giant disco party in the room.  There were at least 600 people in there, so for a while I couldn't find my friends and I was wandering through the crowds like a lost puppy, but then I started finding everyone and we all were hugging and jumping around and taking pictures.  Lots of hugging, lots of pictures.

Then, that same night, talent show!!  There was quite a LOT of talent.  The show started with a nice guy who sang "The Impossible Dream" - of course.  Thanks for trying to make me cry right off the bat.  One of the girls from my group sang the most beautiful, fitting song.  Another girl played this gorgeous Canadian folk music on her violin.  Near the end, our two professional opera singers got up and sang together.  Measha and Fenlon, both amazing.  Measha sang "Summertime" as a solo, which is one of my favorites.  There's this one part that I love: "One of these mornings you're gonna rise up singing/ Then you'll spread your wings and you'll take to the sky/ But 'til that morning, there's nothing can harm you/ So hush, little baby, don't you cry..."

The Bollywood act closed the show, and I was afraid that we were about to make total assholes of ourselves, but the act was a huge success and everyone loved it.  Hooray!!  The song that we used is from the first Bollywood movie that we watched with Bikram, back during week one.  (Kaho Naa Pyar Hai was the title.)  The movie has this really distinctive theme that was used many times during its FOUR HOUR run-time.  The theme goes like "Laaaaa, laaaaa.... la la LA la laaaaaaa, laaaaaa."  So we opened our act with a little skit where my friend Susannah uses her newly acquired CPR skills to save a guy named Wyatt from choking, and then they looked into each other's eyes, and the music played, "Laaaaa, laaaaa... la la LA la laaaaaaa, laaaaaaa...."  This was a huge hit.  And then this happened:

This has got to be one of the most absurd things I've done in my adult life, but it was seriously one of the biggest accomplishments of my teacher training, because I did NOT think I could ever get it done! (Huge shout-out and thank you to EVERYONE who was involved and helped me out!) At the end, when we called everyone up on stage to dance, I jumped down and tried to get Bikram to join us. He shook his head no, but he smiled at me. Everyone had fun. It was great.

The next morning, Saturday, I had planned on going to the optional 8am to warm up for demo, but I totally overslept. Sad! So I went to plan B: stretched in the steam room, then did some postures in the yoga room after the class was done. Then we had a demo rehearsal, then my sister got into town, and then I suddenly had only an hour to get ready for GRADUATION! Fortunately, my hair dries quickly. Hehe. I was running around my little hotel room like a chicken with its head cut off. So nervous for demonstrating in front of hundreds of people, with Bikram and all the senior teachers in the front of the room!! I know it was among friends, but I just didn't want to mess up my final duty of teacher training!

Next thing you know, all of us demo kids are hanging out at the back of the auditorium stretching out, and then we see Bikram come in on the arms of two Vegas showgirls. (They were both Bikram teachers, I think.) There was also an Elvis. It was hysterical. Only in Bikram yoga.

Like the talent show, the demonstration turned out to miraculously be a great success! It was terrifying at the beginning - I have NO idea how I held that standing head to knee with my body shaking around so much - but then it got really fun when everyone started clapping and cheering for us. Bikram himself actually helped us out a lot - when we got to standing separate leg stretching, he said (on the microphone), "Woooowww, look at that, amazing!" and he started clapping, and then everyone in the audience realized that they should be clapping and making comments, too! Also, Rajashree was doing our voice-over, and for some reason she turned into a Bikram yoga infomercial (in the sweetest possible way), and started saying stuff like, "Are you still trying to lose weight? Getting bored at the gym? You should try a Bikram yoga class!" This made me giggle, a lot. And I didn't fall out of ANYTHING!  I was so relieved. Here is a picture (I'm in the blue):

After demo, we all ran and got changed in the bathroom, and I got back to my seat just in time to hear the awards. Which was good, because I got one! Best Dialogue!! And it was presented by Diane!!! Yay!!!! What a ridiculously perfect moment. It was like watching a movie of someone else's life. It didn't feel like reality at all. Here is a picture of that happening:

It looks like we're at the fricking Oscars!! Diane looks great and I look totally freaked out. I think I need to get this picture framed. After that there was some talking - Bikram looked more like a mobster than ever - and then we got our diplomas. Here is the picture that says it all:

Huge kudos to the fantastic Bennie Shapiro from Vegas, who took all these pictures! Thank you so much, Bennie!!

After all this craziness, there was a lot of picture taking and hugging, which was really all that I was capable of at that point. (I got emotional at the weirdest times on that day. I didn't cry at all during graduation, but I cried before it and after it. I cried when the cleaning lady came to my room with new towels and said, "Is this your last day? Are you happy to be leaving?") After the ceremony finished, there was a nice buffet dinner for us. I had dinner with my roommate one last time, everyone wandered around trying to take pictures with everyone, and then we just sort of slowly dispersed. It was so weird to see the group breaking up, knowing that the 360 of us will never be together like that ever again. It only happens once... On Sunday morning, I packed up the hotel room, got in the car with my sister, and drove back to California, and that was the end of that.

The rest... well, I'll tell you about that later...

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