A Lot of Firsts

IMG_6323We had a lot of firsts this week and they all began on 1st of March.

My baby girl, who turned one last Saturday, started nursery on 1st March. It was heartbreaking leaving her there, but she seems to be settling in OK (I’m still recovering from our separation).

On the same day, my son started going to pre-school. Today, he’s having his first French class. It’s all a bit surreal.

While recovering from my anxiety and distress around leaving kids at nursery/pre-school, I was walking briskly home when a thought popped into my head: I wanted to play the violin. Again.

I had played the violin since I was five years old. In my first year, I performed the programme of the third year. I won my first competition at the age of six. By 13, I had completed seven years of music school. At my graduation concert, my teacher and I performed a piece taught at the conservatoire. I still remember the standing ovation in my first and final years of music school. Upon my graduation, I was offered a job in a symphonic orchestra with a salary of 300 rubles per month (an average salary was 80 rubles). I was only 13.

My music career ended with my grandma’s ultimatum: ‘over my dead body.’ The symphonic orchestra was to travel abroad, and my grandma felt anxious that I might get somehow corrupted (translation: loose virginity and get pregnant). I remember the director of the music school coming over to our house and saying he’d wave off my annual fees if they let me to come and play. By then, my family got worried that I might pursue a musical career. Playing a musical instrument was a sort of hobby in the Soviet Union. It was never meant to be a profession, especially for a girl.

When I was 24, I watched Vanessa Mae performing in Moscow on New Year’s Eve. She played ‘Storm’ by Vivaldi. For a while, I became obsessed with wanting to play that piece. I bought a violin and found a music teacher at the conservatoire who was willing to teach me to play that piece in three months. She said if I learn it in that time, they’d accept me to study at the conservatoire without an exam. My salary at the time was $100, and I agreed to pay her $50. The next day, I went to work and my boss called me to his office:

‘We are doing a bit of reorganisation here. From today onwards your salary is $50.’

I felt gobsmacked. It was not meant to be. I gave up on the violin.

But perhaps the violin hadn’t given up on me.

‘I know what I want for my birthday,’ I said to my husband when I got home the other day.

His eyes lit up and a smile, which makes his face look ten years younger, danced on his lips. This was perhaps the first time I’d ever asked for what I want for my birthday.

‘I want to play the violin.’

Within a few minutes he’d identified a potential music teacher (a young Russian woman) and on Thursday (less than 48 hours later), I had my first violin class. Maria, my violin teacher, lent me her instrument for the first class, and today we bought everything I need to start practicing every day.

I feel ecstatic!

Ask and it will be given to you. Seek, and you shall find.

It’s never too late.

38 thoughts on “A Lot of Firsts

  1. That is so exciting that you will be taking up the violin. I started taking piano lessons several years ago. Playing music is so therapeutic and something that you do for yourself. Which is really important when you have small children because you feel like you never do anything for yourself (at least that is the way I felt when my kids were younger).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gulara, what an inspiring story. However, it breaks my heart that your family wouldn’t let you do what you loved. Now you have your opportunity to bloom again… Congratulations!

    As for the little ones, I remember sending my daughter off to Kindergarten and my son in preschool. It was such a shock not to have at least one of my children with me all day. You will recover, though, I promise… especially if you are playing your violin. Wonderful news!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on taking up the violin again! What a wonderful birthday present to you and also to all your family who will enjoy your playing. Have lots of fun in your re-newed creative venture. I feel your pain leaving you child the first day of nursery – I physically collapsed outside the classroom and worried so much the first week I think I got less done at work than ever! When you see your children’s happy faces, it will get a bit easier – they still need you so much once home – that doesn’t stop. Birthday wishes to you. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Annika, yes, children do need me more after nursery. It’s been a wobbly week, but they are settling in better than I anticipated.
      As to the violin – it’s been a sheer joy. Thank you very much for birthday wishes and stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Delightful post. I always wished I was musically talented… I’m not…not even close to being… unless you count being able to play the first verse of Go-and-tell-Aunt-Nancy on the recorder.

    I wish you all the best with your new(old) hobby.

    P.S Hubby’s a keeper. I love how he was so thrilled to know what you wanted for your birthday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s really cool that you get to do something you used to love so much. One of my daughters considered pursuing music in college and ultimately focused on science, but she still rely on music for her well being. And if you need help for your son’s French classes, you know who to ring, right? Cheers to your firsts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 😀 Thank you, Evelyne, I need to ring you myself 🙂 I’ve been learning French on and off for years. Maybe his classes will inspire me too. And music for well-being is exactly what my violin classes feel like… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, well, so many talents? Whatever next week?! It is very uplifting to read this and to think of the unbridled joy you will get at pressure free learning (to start with anyway because so far, no expectations but you don’t get to be as good as you did without drive so I’ll wait for the Classical version of the voice to see you up there!) This is brilliant and a wonderful child substitute as you begin to hand them over to others to help bring them forward and regain a little more me time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Geoff, your comment made me smile 🙂 I’m excited about re-learning; it’s like my soul is singing. I’ve got very little me-time left. Back to my academic post on 31 March, but hopefully the violin will keep my soul and spirit alive. And of course, I’ll keep writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh this is too wonderful Gulara! You must be blissed out! Please tell your husband that I love him from afar. You too! How happy making (me too) to hear that a dream postponed can be a dream come true. May your heart continue to blossom and grow in spite of the dream being shattered so early on!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Susan, I’m blissed out. It requires a lot of discipline to practice, but it nourishes my soul and worth every minute. I’ll pass your message to my husband. I’m sure he’ll be very pleased 😀 And I feel your love, always, for which I’m enormously grateful!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe 🙂 It’ll take a while, I think, whereas my husband keeps imagining that I’ll stun him with some amazing performance… tomorrow, or even preferably today 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you very much for this question, Norah, it feels like a gift. I’ve been asking it over and over yesterday and I think part of me feels like it took me years to master playing well as a child, so therefore it’ll take me years before I’m any good. The assumption is I’m starting from a scratch. But actually, already by the end of the first class I remembered a lot. So, I’m deeply grateful for the gift of this question. It’s encouraging me to stay open to possibilities. My second lesson is today and I can barely wait! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m pleased you enjoyed the question and the opportunity it provided you to consider the possibilities. I’d like to say it was my intention but it was actually a throw-away response to your husband’s comment. Demonstrates the power of words and that we may never know the ripples that emanate from our words or actions. It’s a bit scary really.
        I hope you were well pleased with your lesson. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I loved my lesson today. I even performed to my daughter 😀 She was an excellent audience, swaying to the rhythm and smiling. I even got a sitting ovation from her – it makes it all worthwhile.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel ecstatic for you. I can feel your love for the violin through your words. I hope one day you can grace us with a concert via YouTube or something like that.
    I had always wanted to learn piano – I got an electric keyboard when I was in primary school and taught myself to play. One day (soon) I’ll get real piano lessons.
    Letting our children go to nursery and preschool can be so difficult for the parents – I cried when Alex first went when he was 3. It gets easier and then you realize that they have a wonderful time and love being there.

    Liked by 1 person

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