In all things in life, there is a always a First. Your first cry, when you were first yanked so rudely out from your mother’s womb. Your first word “mama”, sending your father into a jealous fit. Your first walk, sending both your parents to rush for the camera.
I remember my first time riding a bike. I was about 6, and my dad decided that it was time for me to ride the “grown-up” bike. He removed the back-wheels from my tricycle, and took me to the park. I was reluctant to ride the scarier, wobbly-looking bike—how the hell do you balance in two skinny wheels? But my dad was insistent that I learn to bike in two wheels. “The first time is always scary,” he told me. “But once you learn, biking will become second nature to you.”
So I got on the bike, but not without my dad’s help. He held on to the back of my seat to keep me steady while I cycled. Since my legs were so tiny, I couldn’t bike fast, and my dad jogged along behind me. Or so I thought.
I merrily cycled along, brave and confident that my dad was right behind me, keeping me steady. After a few minutes, however, I sensed something was wrong. It was way too quiet; I could no longer feel my dad’s presence. I turned around, and I saw my dad a long way away, waving at me with a big goofy smile.
”DADDY!!” I screamed in fury, and promptly lost all control over my bike and crashed into a tree. And that is how I got my first bike scrape.
My dad may have tricked me into trying my first bike ride, but he was right. Biking is now second nature to me. So is swimming. And roller-blading. And cartwheels. And a whole lot of other things…all of which started with a First.
The strange thing is, despite evidences of so many positive outcomes from Firsts, the older we get, the more hesitant we are towards trying something new. It’s sad. We seem to have lost that childlike wonder and curiosity towards unknown things. Why? Perhaps we are already comfortable with where we are. Perhaps we know too much, and curiosity has been replaced with fear. Perhaps we just simply don’t have the time and energy anymore. Whatever the reason, I want to recover back that innocent delight in Firsts.
Actually, I was kind of forced into that because of my recovery from my eating disorder. During my ED days, I became a creature of habit: I had my own little daily routine, my own strict rules of things I could and could not eat. That lifestyle made me safe, and I was comfortable in predictable meals and behaviors. But it also restricted and enchained me into a life not worth living.
When I was finally ready to recover, I had to experience a lot of Firsts. It was like I was a baby again: my first proper solid meal. My first social meal out. My first carby dinner. My first dessert. My first day without exercise. My first day without calorie-counting. My first highest weight in 4 years.
Yes, the first time is always scary. It is uncomfortable, awkward, and sometimes, downright unpleasant. But it is also rewarding. Once the First is over, and you get to the second, the third, and the fourth…it just gets easier and easier, as my dad said the first time I rode my bike.
And the thing is, Firsts doesn’t always have to be a bad experience. It all depends on how we decide to view and face them. We can turn any positive thing into something negative if we view it with trepidation and doubt. Or…we could bring out that inner child in us, and view it with curiosity, imagination, and delight. It’s your choice. Personally, I’d rather do it the painless way, and turn any Firsts into an adventure. That was one of the “tactic” I used in my recovery. Who says recovery can’t be enjoyable at times?
I mentioned recovery because I know that roughly half my readers are struggling (or have struggled) with eating disorders. But obviously, it’s just a limited example of all the Firsts you can experience in your lifetime. One of my favorite bloggers, Christina (who you should follow if you aren’t already doing so!), have just started a new blogging event called Friday Firsts to celebrate all the food-related Firsts you may have.
Christina and I must be separated twins at birth. Doesn’t matter that she’s white and I’m Asian, I’m pretty sure we’re long-lost sisters, because we seem to have a lot of common ideas, one of which is about celebrating Firsts. After my post about trying a new ingredient, Christina revealed to me an idea she’s been entertaining: building a weekly post linking to all the Foodie Firsts bloggers might have during the week.
Um, is that brilliant, or what? To participate, just stop by Dinner at Christina’s every Friday to add your own First. You can also view other people’s Firsts, and get new inspirations and ideas. We all know the blogging trends…but come on, there comes a time when I’m just tired of seeing the same meals over and over. Time to shake things up a bit!
So, allow me to be the first participant, Christina. Let me introduce my first of the week.
After church service, my church friends and I decided to eat out. Of course, they turned to me for recommendations, since I’m known as the
pig foodie. I immediately suggested Mo-Chica, a highly-rated Peruvian restaurant. It is located in a Mercado La Paloma, a Latin marketplace right across USC.
Unfortunately, it was closed. But there were several other food stalls that were open, so we decided to stick to our plans and eat at Mercado La Paloma.
Mercado La Paloma looks kind of sketchy. It looks like a food court stuffed into a basement. But I loved it. Very interesting place that sold not only food, but art, trinkets, and baked goods. It even had a live performance band, albeit Latin songs which I didn’t understand.
Here’s the downer: I arrived about 10 minutes later than my church friends, and by the time I reached Mercado La Paloma, my friends had already ordered. And what did they order?
Pad Thai and fried rice. They ordered Thai food. In a Latin marketplace. What…the…heck? We’re surrounded by all these amazing authentic Latin food stalls, and you order Pad Thai from the one lone Thai place?
Look at that sad, confused face.
To be fair, all the other Latin food stalls had no translations at all, so my friends were wary of ordering something they did not know. They stuck to something tried-and-true, which was Pad Thai and fried rice. But as much I like Thai food, I wanted something more adventurous, and I sure as hell was not gonna order green curry in a Latin marketplace! I ventured around, and spotted this little place:
Chichen-Itza…I’ve heard the name before somewhere and I was positive it got pretty good reviews. It sells authentic Yucatecan cuisine, which is a Southeast Mexican cuisine, a mix of Mayan, Spanish & Lebanese recipes (had to google this when I got back home). Again, they had no translations, and I’m not well-versed with real Mexican cuisine (burritos don’t count).
But they did have pictures, and I saw a dish that had pumpkin seeds and some kind of creamy sauce over something that looked like crepes. Crepes? Pumpkin seeds? Creamy sauce? I’m in!
Turns out, it is a dish called Papadzules:
Basically, Yucatecan-style Enchiladas: four corn tortillas with creamy pumpkin seed and epazote sauce, stuffed with crumbled hard-boiled egg, and topped with some kind of salsa.
This artfully-prepared dish was just about $8. And it looks like fine-fare cuisine! What a bargain, and what envious expressions on my friends’ faces as I laid my dish amidst their Pad Thais!
It came with some kind of weird salt, too:
I have no idea what that red stuff is. I shook it out onto my hand and nibbled at it, but it had no taste at all. Perhaps just for prettiness?
But my dish? Oh. So. Gorgeously. Delicious! The creamy pumpkin seed sauce was mellow, yet with a distinctly curious flavor. Together with the tangy salsa, it was a revelation!
I’m not a fan of hard-boiled eggs (in fact, I detest them) but mashed with the creamy sauce, it was all moistened up, and just melted in my mouth.
I totally cleaned out my plate:
That’s the way, uh-huh, uh-huh! I like it! And I’ll definitely be back…not stopping at a First!
Okay, I kind of may have teased my friends a bit about ordering Thai food in a Latin marketplace. But to be honest, their food wasn’t bad:
The crab fried rice my friend ordered came with a whole crab claw. Impressive! The quantity was definitely worth it, too.
The Pad Thai was just okay. Not very authentic or spicy. But the price made up for it. It was huge, and my friend (who is built like a football player) could barely finish it. Heh, and their unadventurous foodie-ness aside, I adore my church friends to death. We are quite a medley:African-American, Greek, Romanian, Taiwanese, Dominican-Republican, half-black, Korean, Chinese, Mexican…and me!
Oh, here’s another First for me. This handsome guy is an Engineering grad-student! Finally! An Engineering student who is not Indian! Hm. Did that come out racist? I didn’t mean it that way, I swear…
Okay, enough talk before I get myself in trouble. Just one last reminder: My Spiralizer-Slicer giveaway ends this Sunday, so be sure to enter if you’re a reader! Then, after you use it, you can post on Christina’s blog as a First! Tee hee!
Question of the day: Do you have any examples of some of your most interesting Firsts?