Today was a day of firsts in India (and in some cases ever) for me. A wonderful day of firsts. I had my first motorcycle ride (without a helmet, no less, as I don’t expect to do this often and don’t own one). It was an unexpected feeling. The power of the machine underneath is inescapable, and the seat is wide and comfortable so it requires little concentration to stay on board. Yet there’s a sense of balance that engages similar to a bike, and a need to stay seated as speed changes and over bumps. Then as a passenger there’s a lack of warning or control that adds to the overall need to stay focused. Throw in the Indian traffic, and the ride gets quite interesting at times (video below). Speaking of Indian traffic, I’m pretty sure I observed traffic stopping at a red light for the first time every today. I suppose a day I’m on a motorcycle without a helmet is a good day to see traffic laws obeyed (sort of) though.

The reason for my ride was a trip far out of the city to take a first aid class thanks to the GHAC (updating my knowledge from the baby-focused class I took when my son was born). My driver was unavailable and a GHAC member kindly volunteered to give me a ride. Have I mentioned how much I love this club and the people in it? Ok first aid is more of a pun than a first, but it still fits the theme.

Another first — first violin in India. After the class we stopped by a music shop that had violins in Secunderabad. I put one together (bridge was down, bow needed rosin) and played my squeaky heart out for a good 30 minutes before the owner had to close up. I didn’t realize how much I missed my viola until I saw that instrument and set bow to string. It was glorious, even with the cheap ingredients and need for transposition.

Final first, which I will enjoy with the kids tomorrow: I saw a pork shop on the way to the music shop, and bought bacon. A whole kilo. With a huge smile on my face, thinking of how happy it would make the whole family.

A reminder that when far from home, sometimes a mix of totally new and totally familiar can be exactly what one needs.