Yesterday. A sunny and warm afternoon in Lisbon. I was sitting outside a cafe, waiting for my lunch to arrive and - as so often nowadays - texting with my beloved...
... when a pair of arms embraced me from behind and a soft kiss was placed on my cheek.
I finished the sentence and looked up. It was a lovely swedish dancer accompanied by a slovenian friend who lives in France. They sat down and she noticed upon how calm I had stayed in the moment that she kissed me: I was not startled, I did not even stir. She found this remarkable.
And it got me thinking.
Should I not at least show some reaction of surprise when I am sitting all on my own in a town that I have never been to before and someone suddenly kisses me? But, no. This is what Tango life does to you. It changes your perception of strange places and people.
In the last year - since Detlef and I split up in our private lives, I‘ve been traveling a lot on my own, either to meet someone or for work, joining my dance-partner at the venue or in the hotel. I spent a lot of time alone in trains, planes, walking through cities, taking meal in restaurants... Just normal life stuff that I had been mostly doing as a couple for many years.
I never felt lonely.
Because I knew that there would be friends or Tango wherever I arrive. Walking through a strange city feels different, when you know that there are Tango people all over the place. You will never be surprised to meet someone you know in the streets or in a café. You don‘t even have to spend a lot of time with the Tangueros - it is enough to know that they are there, to create this feeling of „being at home and at ease“ wherever you are. Well, this is how it works for me anyway. Call me a romantic, but I see this as one of the most beautiful qualities of our international Tango community.
And a couple of weeks ago, I could even feel at home in my home town.
As you may know, I do not spend a lot of time in Saarbruecken and when I go out during the day, I will rarely meet someone I know. My non-tango-friends work all day and I will only see them when we agree upon a date. As I have not been visiting local Milongas for many years, I don‘t have any close Tango acquaintances. So I often feel like a veritable stranger in the town where I live. This is actually the huge downside of the life as a traveling Tango teacher. You totally get out of touch with your home town. But a few weeks ago it was different. We were having our annual „Festivalito con Amigos“ and friends from all over the world joined us. I met them in the streets, in a restaurant, in a store - wherever I went, they where.
I was not a stranger anymore.