A Gift For Emily.

It’s the end of an era.

Tonight I took my last Zumba class for the foreseeable future and possibly forever. My instructor friend, Emily, is moving to Australia in a couple of weeks and tonight was our last hurrah.

I’ve been taking Emily’s classes for more than three and a half years now. When I started, she had only been teaching for about nine months and classes were held at a local dance studio three times each week, and I was there for most of those. After a few months, she moved to the YMCA and taught three or four classes each week, and I followed. A couple of years ago she moved to a healthclub and only taught once a week, on Wednesdays, and I followed. (Funny thing about me: if I love you, I will follow you ANYWHERE.)

I have loved everything about Emily’s classes. The music, her choreography, her smile, and the joy she brought to Zumba got me hooked and turned me into a groupie of sorts. I wrote about our relationship in January of last year. No matter what has been going on in my life, Wednesday night Zumba with Emily was something I always made time for unless I was out of town.

Melisa and Emily

The timing of Emily’s last move to the healthclub and the decrease in classes from three or four down to one each week serendipitously coincided with the end of my 30-day trial and the start of my becoming an almost daily (Dailey!) fixture at The Dailey Method. The timing felt very much like one door (partly) closing and another opening. Since then, I have doubled up my Wednesday workouts—TDM in the morning and Zumba with Emily in the evening—almost every single week.

And now I won’t.

It’s okay, though. Although I will miss Emily and Zumba so much, I’ll have Wednesday evenings free and my body will probably appreciate it. I’ll go back to doing Zumba in my kitchen on occasion, and of course, taking over the dance floor at any reception. I’ll also be keeping in touch with Emily via Facebook, thank goodness. It’s not like I’m losing her forever, just on Wednesday nights.

I was going to pick up a small gift for Emily, to show her my appreciation for the last three and a half years, but she and her family have sold every possession that can’t be stored with relatives or fit into their suitcases: they’re only taking what they can carry on the plane.

Being a former group fitness instructor, I always considered it a huge gift when someone told me that I had a positive impact on their life, and so…this, a gift for Emily.

Emily, they say people come into our lives for a reason. I know why you came into mine. I had been mostly teaching classes and hardly taking classes for a couple of years when I met you. I wasn’t getting proper workouts in which I could focus on myself because I had to worry about everyone else, and I was unhappy about that.

You made me love exercising again. You brought the fun back for me. You came into my life at exactly the right time and have taught me so much about attempting to bring joy to everything I do, and I appreciate that so much. It’s because of you that I started worrying about myself a little bit more again, and when I stopped teaching classes, I didn’t miss it because I was having too much fun with you (and over time, my Dailey Method family too). I will cherish our laughter and trip-ups and the times we had to remind each other about your choreography and the times when we both blanked out at the same time.

Special thanks for keeping my very favorite Zumba song of all time on your playlist for the last few months and up through tonight’s final class. In case you’re wondering, my final stats say that I only accidentally hit myself in the face during that one part about 27% of the time.

I’m so happy for your family and this big move, and I look forward to keeping an eye on your adventures Down Under via Facebook. Oh, and if you ever wanted to start a blog to keep your stateside family and friends updated, I may know somebody who can help you get started.

Thanks for everything, my friend. It’s been fun.

Melisa and Emily May 15


  • Emily

    You were 100% right, Melisa–there could be no greater gift! And any class I teach in Australia will feel different and not quite as fun without you. I know I’ll miss you, but especially when I’m teaching & you’re not there to laugh with. Thank you!

    • Melisa Wells

      Gah, crying.
      I also forgot to thank you for totally flubbing up on that one song tonight so I could set you straight one more time. HAHA!!

      I’ll miss you!!

  • Bonnie

    This is BEAUTIFUL!

    Emily, you truly are an amazing, energetic, breath of fresh air! How incredible that you inspired Melisa as much as you did! I smile as I think of you teaching Zumba in Australia; what shall you do….without your ‘partner in dance crime’ there to assist you if you happen to forget a step?!! I hope whenever that happens, you grin a bit wider than you typically do…and one person comes to mind!! I also hope you and your family have a safe journey…and an amazing adventure in Australia!! Best of luck to you!!

  • Michelle

    That is such a beautiful post. Beautiful. And so sad. I have to say, the one class I did with you and Emily (back at that local dance studio) was SO much fun and was the one that got *me* loving Zumba.

    Now I’m sad that none of my three (yes, three) instructors use that song in their routines, BUT I have an LAFitness membership with some pretty awesome instructors if you ever want to come play up by me. Mondays 9:45 and Fridays 5:45 are one of my favorite instructors and Wednesdays at 9:45 is another. And ok, Thursdays at 8:30. 🙂

    You, however, are an awesome friend. Always. To everyone. I love that about you!

  • Tracey

    I know how special she is to you. You have been dreading her leaving for a while now, and I’m sorry the era has ended, but glad that you had her in your life for so long.