As of yesterday, husband and I are members of a gym. In the mountains, we were lucky to have free exercise and aerobics just from walking to the market, although I never thought of it as lucky at the time. Things here in the capital are a lot more Western and modern, so I haven't experienced many funny things like monkeys lately, or noticed myself doing weird stuff like wearing yak wool (my friends up in the mountains are getting quite rugged ;). So I expected my first South Asian gymming experience to be...well, American. And while we were signing up, it was. The woman spoke great English, she showed us around the very nice Precor machines, and she pushed us with her best sales pitch to sign up for a year. All very Bally's or 24 Hour Fitness, except much smaller and with regular power outages. A trainer is even included in the membership fee, and she assured me that mine would be a woman.
So we showed up yesterday for our first workout, extremely excited. They told us when we arrived to change and then we'd meet with our fitness manager to tell us what workout would be best for us. After changing, we were each introduced to who I thought were our fitness managers. Husband and I were separated, and mine spoke no English. And of course my barefoot language learning didn't quite get to exercise related vocabulary, so our conversation went nowhere. I had no clue how this girl was going to be able to tell me what workout I should do, and she looked about as helpless as I felt. Then, out of nowhere, a new girl came in who spoke English and explained that they were actually trainers, and our fitness manager had yet to show up. Then, after only about 2 minutes, without explanation, she passed me on to my third trainer, a man. Dun dun dun! After living in this culture for almost 16 months, let me tell you, I was very uncomfortable at first. Not only would I be talking and making eye contact with a complete stranger of the opposite sex, but he would be directing my workouts? Well I told my cultural instincts to put a lid on it, because he was a professional, and this was his job. Meanwhile husband was working out with his initial trainer, and I realized how difficult of a customer I must be for them to push me onto 3 different trainers in a span of 15 minutes.
It went surprisingly well. Except for one uncomfortable moment that had me scratching my neck and looking everywhere but at the trainer, it was a lot of fun and really helpful. And I feel much more comfortable going there even if I miss the 11-4 women only workout block.
Some pics of our time with the in-laws are coming soon. We've had some computer problems lately, so we're a bit slow with everything right now.