This part is about the traveling we did on our trip in between. Well… that’s kind of obvious. Anyways, I got to visit different parts of India for the first time. Usually I’ve always stayed in one place in either Mumbai or Pune and never went anywhere else. This was my first time visiting a different state- with the exception of Karnataka- and seeing a different version of India. Multiple versions actually. 

Our first destination was Prayagraj, which is in Uttar Pradesh. As Uttar Pradesh is further up north, it was FREEZING there. Not only that, we had to get up really early once again, and go on a boat ride on the Yamuna river to perform an aarthi. So, even COLDER. However, for this aarthi we got to go to this spot known as Theen Veni Singham. I think it translates to three sister rivers. If not, I’m sorry. However, it is where three rivers- Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati- rivers meet. It’s said that if you bathe where the three rivers meet, all your wrongdoings will be cleared. ( I think.) However, the rivers in India are extremely filthy due to the immense amount of pollution and carelessness by people. So we only got the water sprinkled on us. 





The aarthi that was performed is done by the oldest generation ( in this case my grandparents) and it is to kind of clear away all the wrongdoings done in their lifetime and the future generations’ lifetime. ( Once again, this is based on what I remember. I’m truly sorry if I may mix up a few facts. I honestly was too cold to process what I was told correctly.) 


I’d say Prayagraj is a very….different place. It’s unbelievably poor, and extremely dirty. India in general does not have the best hygiene. It is quite dirty in many places and not exactly the best place sometimes. However, Prayagraj is honestly, quite worse. It’s still developing as PM Modi is spending time and money on it, as it was stripped of resources by the Moghuls, but in the midst of all that it’s unbelievable how people live there. There are destroyed buildings, and rubble everywhere with so much trash and waste on the roads. People live here. In these half demolished buildings and cold weathers without much. It’s just unbelievable. And the number of people suffering. We went to visit a temple there and the number of people just around us as we walked, with cut off and crippled limbs, with absolutely nothing, begging us for money. And the guilt you feel when you can’t do anything about it and try to ignore it by walking away. It’s overwhelming. It’s terrifying even. It makes you wonder how do these people live like this? 


Varanasi was no different. It was extremely crowded, and unsanitary. We had gone to Varanassi to visit the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple there. I have to say, the temple is beautifully rebuilt. Before, it was completely destroyed by the Moghuls  and a mosque was built there instead. But it’s been renovated, and now there is such a beautiful result. It’s really nicely done. According to my parents, the entrance used to be through gullies/alleys. I got to go through one, and let me tell you, those are filthy. They are extremely narrow, and reek with sewage water and just literal wastage there. I couldn’t help but wonder how such a thing could be an entrance for a temple. It feels so disrespectful, and upsetting. Now, thanks to PM Modi, there is this huge, wide space that is a proper entrance. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s this huge, open area that leads to these humongous wooden doors, which hide the temple. It is truly spectacular. 



Later that evening we attended the Ganges Aarthi. This daily event is huge. You will not believe the amount of people coming to see this. We went by boat so that we could see all the different ghats along the river as well, but the river was also crowded. People surrounded those doing the aarthi, and lined up one after the other behind them all the way up the ghat. 





After those two, my parents and I traveled to Delhi and Agra by ourselves while the rest of my family went back to Pune. I have to say, New Delhi is the complete opposite. Honestly, for some reason I felt like I was in Dubai. I don’t know why or how since I’ve only ever been at the airport in Dubai. Nothing else. New Delhi is actually cleaner than any other part of India I’ve ever SEEN. I know that in certain parts of India they are really good and clean as well. But, New Delhi is the first that I’ve seen. 


Apart from that, I got to see New Delhi. India’s capital. I got to see all the government buildings and houses of ministers and the Prime Minister as well. For me, it feels kind of open. I really don’t know what it should be like though. I’ve been to Washington D.C. before, but that was a REALLY long time ago. But the main part of New Delhi with all the government offices feels really close. It’s not really in it’s own little section. It’s just like there are roads and it comes up on the side of them.  So I guess I was a bit disappointed by that. But perhaps it was only like that because we only observed them from a distance due to COVID restrictions. 


We visited Raj Ghat as well. Raj Ghat is a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. The main part of Raj Ghat is a black marble platform which marks the spot of where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. On that is a torch where an eternal flame burns. 


Our final destination that day was old Delhi. Old Delhi is the opposite of New Delhi. It has origins dating back to the Mughals, hence the reason the majority of the population are Muslims. It’s a very crowded place. The roads should be kept an eye on at all times as you never know when a vehicle will come near you or not. People don’t look at your feet, so it’s easy to get caught in the middle of the road. There are numerous meat shops lined up one after the another. Smells of chicken or mutton roasting on grills waft through the air, mixed with the smoke of the fire and the normal haze. At least that;s what one part looks like.

Similar to Prayagraj, the houses are small. Built in between alleys or stacked on other houses. Goats and sheep tied up near the houses. Kids playing along the road and running around joyously. Heaps of trash in corners. This is life for them. This is the home they know. This…is just…different. It’s different from what I’ve seen or known. I don’t even know what to say about it. It’s just unbelievable that these can be where people live. It’s heartbreaking.


Agra was similar. Despite being home to one of the 7 wonders of the world, Agra is a crowded and dirty place. The roads are so disorganized and cluttered, and there are so many people just crowded there. Not only that, the Taj Mahal is packed. In pictures it looks so empty, but it;s really not. There’s people packed on the walkways, and at the entrance of it. But when you get closer, there’s people so close together up there. At this point in time, it’s not the best idea to be roaming in heavily populated areas without masks ( in my opinion) yet here they are. Even at Varanasi and Prayagraj. Nobody listens to the guidelines and restrictions put out by the government. It seems like no one wears a mask. 


Leaving all that aside, the Taj Mahal is absolutely stunning. It is perfectly symmetrical, and has so many perfect details that you can’t see in a photo. For example, there’s writing above the entrance. However, it’s carved out of black onyx and put into the marble. All the designs of the Taj Mahal are made with precious stones. There isn’t a single fleck of paint anywhere. It’s all done perfectly symmetrical to each other, and so precisely as well. The amount of work and craft gone into building it is incredible. The small details with the stones as well. The way it’s made and the stones are carved is amazing. It is truly a wonder, and is a must to see.





Christmas was spent at the Taj Mahal! 
Soup as the special dinner!

Before we left to head back to Pune, we made one last stop at Agra Fort. Agra Fort is tremendous. It houses the Indian military, and before it was housed by the army of whichever empire  ruled at that time. It was the place where Maratha emperor Shivaji Maharaj was made to stand behind troops and men he had already defeated in battle. He and his nine-year-old son Sambhaji had been summoned by Aurangzeb, leader of the Mughal Empire to Agra. However, when Shivaji Maharaj came to present a gift to him, Aurangzeb ignored him, and made Shivaji stand in the back of the court , behind men he had already defeated in battle. Shivaji would not stand to be humiliated, and took offence, storming out of the court. The tables were turned. Now Aurangzeb was embarrassed. Because of this, Shivaji was placed on house arrest.  Shivaji later came up with a plan to free himself, and was successful. Outside of the fort was a statue of Shivaji Maharaj heading towards the fort. A man with so much might and courage to do so.










That concludes the second part of our trip.

Here’s the thing. I’m back! Where was I for the past month? I dunno. Somewhere over the Atlantic waters for a few days and then on the other side of the world for the rest. Any guesses yet? Let me clarify. I was in India for about 3 weeks for the winter holidays, and it was the best thing ever. Mainly for two reasons. One, I would get to see my family after 7 years, and two, I needed a break. Desperately. School is stressful by itself, and three weeks away from anything that has to do with Triangle Similarity Theorems or on the Nervous System was exactly what I needed. And what better way to do so than to visit your family?

So let me quickly explain how this trip will be documented. It’s split into three parts, Pune, Travel, and Mumbai, and there will be a separate one per part. I’ll then post an overall blog with all three in it, plus additional thoughts and experiences. 

Pune is the city where my dad’s side of the family lives. Well, apart from my Atya ( dad’s sister- a specific term for aunt) who lives in Australia with my Mama ( dad’s sister’s husband- specific term for uncle) and two older cousins. Other than that everyone else lives there. 


I’d say the highlight of my trip there was being able to spend time with my two younger cousins. I feel a bit guilty for choosing that over every other wonderful and exciting moment, but I really looked forward to meeting them.


The last time I met my first youngest cousin (Viraj), he was only 2-3 years old. He was still a small kid. And also at that time, he wasn’t able to communicate yet. The was, however, able to pinch very well. I was around 6 years old at that time, and I didn’t fully understand what it meant to be an older sister. I found it annoying and didn’t understand why he did it, and instead scolded him. Looking back, I think that was his way of communicating. I can’t remember if he was able to communicate with sounds, but if not, I think pinching was the most effective way he could communicate or get someone’s attention. But now, he’s grown up, 8 now, and is one of the most adorable, and best kids I’ve ever met. Not just because he’s my cousin. But because he’s such a good kid. He’s a very obedient kid who will help out or do whatever is told of him no matter what. Not only that, it’s amazing how much he looks to me, even if we haven’t been able to see each other very often in the past years. Not in a bragging way. I mean it as in, he always wants to do something with me.


I’m an only child, and that means I’m kind of by myself. I’ve never been able to have that older sister or younger sister sibling relationship, so I really got to experience that more this trip. Especially with being an older sister. Viraj is always wanting me to come play or do something with him. Once there was a stray kitten looking for it’s mother and he so desperately wanted me to come help him. I eventually gave in, but it was really warming to see him so determined to convince me. 


My youngest cousin, Viaan, is 2 years old, and is also a late speaker. Instead of pinching, he uses sounds and gestures more often. Despite having the biggest, most innocent eyes and curious mind, he is a bit of a troublemaker. It is incredibly hard to get mad and scold this kid. Viaan once did something wrong, and so my kaka ( dad’s brother- term for uncle) was telling me to scold him. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not hold in my smile or laughter for more than 3 seconds. (I think he knows he’s cute, and uses that very well to his advantage. ) Once he gets to talking, the real fun will begin. This is my first time meeting him, so I was really excited when I got to see him and make my first set of memories with him. 



A picture of my Kaka, two younger cousins, and I! This was taken at Saundatti Yellamma temple in Karnataka. It’s kind of a tradition in my family to go visit it a few times a year, and we usually always go whenever  we visit India. 


Now let me tell you a bit more about my other family members. 


My Kaka is the best expert at food. I do remember some memories when I was younger where he would take me out somewhere for the day to have fun, but we never went for food. I do remember one time he talked about the Domino’s Pizza in India and the most cheesy pizza I would ever find. Sadly we never got to try it that time, but we did this time. I don’t think he remembers that time, but I do. And I got to try it. He’s a fun person to be around, but sometimes he feels serious. Like way too serious. At times I can feel a bit intimidated by him, but otherwise he’s comforting.


My Kaku ( dad’s brother’s wife- specific term for aunt) is the sweetest person I’ve ever met. She’s a quiet person, but she cares deeply for others. She actually reminds me of my Mami ( mother’s brother’s wife- specific term for aunt) in Mumbai. They’re both caring souls, and have extremely pure hearts. She’s an amazing person who is extremely talented, and is literally the best. 


My grandfather is a man in a hurry. Even if there’s nothing to be in a hurry about, he’s always rushing. He likes to be a part of what I do, and try to know me better. He’s a bit strict, so it’d be a lie if I didn’t say I’m scared around him sometimes. But the best part about him is that he always wants to talk to me. He always wants to tell me something. Whether it’s about his continuous stamp collection or some story, he always wants to talk to me. 


My grandmother is a bit of the opposite. She’s the person to watch everyone in the background and smile lovingly. She always puts others before herself, and that frankly worries me sometimes. She’s also a very religious person and would end up telling me some stories about baby Krishna ( a god) or even just children’s stories. At times I don’t mind, but sometimes it makes me feel upset that she doesn’t know I’m older now. Same with my grandfather. They’re getting old, and it shows. 



Above is a picture of my entire Pune family at Saundatti. 


It probably doesn’t show, but I was exhausted when we took that picture. I was still jet lagged, and we had immediately left for Saundatti the second we ( my parents and I ) arrived in Pune. It takes almost a day to drive there as Pune is in Maharashtra, and Saundatti is in Karnataka. (These are both states in India.) So for the majority of the trip I had one thing on my mind. SLEEP. I slept on-stop that entire time, and yet,was still tired. Waking up at like 4 in the morning to go visit the temple really doesn;t help the jet lag either. Ahem. Anyways, we spent about 2-3 days at Saundatti before traveling back. 


Here’s a second photo of us on the way back. We had stopped at another place for a quick aarthi. My Kaka isn’t here because he had to go deal with an issue with one of our cars. 



Once we got back, the REAL adventure began. The first day, we pretty much just went shopping. Shopping for clothes, jewelry, and pretty much anything we liked. I think I probably should have taken that opportunity of being able to shop instead of whining about being tired. India has some serious lockdown restrictions in certain parts, including Mumbai, and at those places you can only go so far to do something. So, I think I should have grasped that opportunity in Pune better. However, I do not regret it! Every moment is precious, and if it was meant to be spent with me whining, then so be it. 


Later that evening, we went out for dinner. And for dinner I mean a full mutton course. As I’ve mentioned before, my Kaka is practically a connoisseur in food. So we were able to get a full course on how to eat and what to eat. I have to say, this was the best mutton experience I have ever had in my entire life. It was truly, one of a kind. Sadly, I cannot describe the taste anymore, but it is definitely one of my most favorite spots during that trip.


The NEXT DAY. My Kaka, Kaku, and I went out together for sometime before meeting my parents to eat Misal. The three of us went over to a Ram Chandra Maddie ( temple) and they were showing me around a market, Tulsi Bhag, until my parents came. I’d say this was also one of my most favorite moments. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a chance to spend time with both my aunt and uncle alone, so I really got to interact with just the two of them during this time. It was a short experience, but I really had a great time visiting the different parts of the temple with both of them explaining the significance and best moments of it. It was a really special moment for me. 








After that, we ate Misal. I don’t know how many times I’ve eaten Misal before, but this felt like my first time. Misal is basically rasa, bread, and a mix of masala potatoes, onions, and toppings. I’m not sure the exact translation of rasa in English, but it’s like a soup, except it’s just the broth. Except this is thicker and with masala.




I don’t want to spend my writing explaining every detail and day of this trip, but this next day is also very important to me. 


So, the next day, my uncle took me and Viraj out for a day of fun. We went on a full food tour that day, and finished with the new Spider-Man movie. The reason this was special to me was because this is kind of a tradition Kaka does with me. The last time, we had gone to see Inside Out and we had gone exploring on his moped. I don’t remember anything we ate, but I do remember we got to see the Indian Eiffel Tower, and my uncle talked about Domino's Pizza, as I had mentioned previously. 


Honestly, I really enjoyed the first two dishes' the most. Later in the day I didn’t really feel that same excitement for trying other things. I loved everything I ate that day, don’t get me wrong. But I wasn’t as excited to try them. I think I was already worn out by two dishes even though we were less than 2 hours into our day. I think I also kind of felt awkward as well. I’m extremely thankful to my uncle for taking me out, but I think that because he was waiting for what I thought of each new item that I couldn’t really savor it that well. I guess I might have been the slightest bit pressured to express more enjoyable thoughts in order to not make him feel bad. It was all honesty though! I did enjoy every item, except two, and I was honest the whole time! 


We later went to the movies and saw the new film. I mention this because Indian theaters and US theaters are different in “protocol”. In the US there are trailers and ads before the movie starts. It’s the same in India, BUT, before the movie starts the national anthem is played. I had no idea of this at all, and so I immediately panicked and stood up with everyone else when the announcement came on. I stood there so awkward while everyone began to sing the national anthem and I did not know the first two lines of it. Good thing I had my mask on, or else it would have been even more awkward. AFter that it was all good. I personally like Indian theaters better. One, there’s a half time as Indian movies are ridiculously long. It’s great because you don’t have to get up and use the restroom in the middle of the movie and miss something. Two, because they have subtitles. I am a person who needs subtitles. Even if it’s in English, I need to read what they’re saying in order to understand it better. Okay, need is an exaggeration. I prefer to watch it with subtitles. 


I feel like my time in Pune was also kind of tense. Tense in a way, I feel cautious. Like I’ve said, my grandfather is a strict person, so that kind of aura usually remains in the household. I can’t help but sometimes  I feel a bit cautious with what I do or say because of that. I feel awkward sometimes.

But I also think that may be because I’m the only one of my age range there. My cousins are still much younger than me, and everyone else is at least 20 years older. So I’m kind of alone. They’re there with me, and I get to spend time with them, but it’s not really on the same generation level. It’s not that. We all think differently, and like different things. It’s not the same. 


Besides that, I’m satisfied with my visit to Pune. I was able to complete the top things on my list there, and I think I spent my time well. At certain parts I wish I could’ve gotten more time to spend time with a particular family member, but otherwise, I’m happy.


That concludes the first part of our trip.

This week’s post is another weekly school story/ breakdown. Well, more like a short light-hearted one-sided conversation. Hah. Well, let’s go!

Oh my god, was last week a daze. So last week was Thanksgiving break. One full week of no school, hours of free time, and no work. Something truly looked forward to every year. Well, so was I. Was. In the future, at that point I still will, but given how the after effects of this year’s break were, ehhhhhh. Not really.

Almost every time there’s a long weekend or a break at least 4 days long, I forget everything. Literally. I can never seem to get back into my schedule. Maybe this happens to everyone, but I’ve experienced it multiple times lately. Following Halloween, we got Monday no Tuesday off from school. On Wednesday, when I returned, I forgot my ID. I was panicking so bad because I was terrified some teacher would find out I didn’t have it and would make me stay outside until I did. I remember hearing a story in 5th grade of a boy who didn’t wear his ID and couldn’t go to school unless he found it. I was fortunate enough that my dad was able to bring it to me before school started. The next day, I forgot my chrome book. So once again I had to call one of my parents to drop it off. After a few days, it was normal again. However, this week was also a disaster.

So, on Monday I forgot my chrome book. And in the first half of the week I thought I lost my violin tuner. When I was reviewing for my quiz on Wednesday, I forgot all my proofs and theorems in Geometry. Oh and then I had a hard time reviewing for my Brain Function Test on Friday because I couldn’t get the Olfactory Bulbs/tracts and Optic nerves/chiasms right. I also completely blanked out on my math test for a good 5 minutes before I was able to get into my senses. ( I still got a 104/105 though. Disappointingly, I lost 1 point in a very minor and frustrating error.) I also messed up on one question of my math quiz and didn’t read my writing correctly , so I messed up and lost 2 points.

Before the break begins I’m so relieved and joyous and grateful I get a break. I mean, do you know how much work you get before the break?! Like at least 6 assignments and 3-4 quizzes or tests before. It’s such a relief when you finally get a break. But then it ends and you feel so drained. Breaks are helpful, relaxing, and exciting, but also annoying, troublesome, and tiring. Although I get a lot of time to myself and can feel good in that moment, it’s really difficult to get back into that same work mode again.

After seeing what happens after a 4 day break and full week break, I wonder what’s going to happen after winter break. I’ll be leaving for winter vacation a week early so I’ll miss the last week of school for the 2021 year. So after missing 3 weeks of school, I’m most likely going to be in the grumpiest and most sour mood to exist when I return. I’ll probably have forgotten everything and will leave the majority of my stuff behind at home. Can’t wait for that. It’s funny. I just get back into my regular schedule and routine, and then it’s going to break again.

Apart from that, I’m super excited for the next few weeks. This Monday I literally told myself that days pass by really quick, and it’s only this week full of work before I get free days. Well, less work-filled days. See, next week after Tuesday, as far as I know I have the next few days a bit casual. I may have a quiz in between, but otherwise, it’s gonna be great. Next Thursday I have a Winter Orchestra Concert which I am super excited for. It’ll be my first time performing for a live audience in almost 2 years. I unfortunately wasn’t feeling well the day of my Fall concert so I had to miss that. However, this time it'll be great. I also get to perform as concertmaster for my orchestra, and I am really excited. Especially with the pieces we get to play. Jingle bell rock, Harry Potter, and Ode to Joy. Ode to joy is a kind of tradition each year where all orchestras play a part of the piece together. Jingle bell rock is pretty simple. But Harry Potter is the best. We did a run-through of the whole piece on Tuesday and it was so lit. It’s one of the harder pieces we are playing this year, so it’s a new experience. Because of that, it makes playing it even better. I cannot wait to play it in front of an audience. It’s so energetic in the end as the tempo increases, and it’s definitely an adrenaline rush just from listening.

Also, we have Holiday Tours on the day after. This is also a tradition with our school where we go around and play for the elementary schools nearby and show the kids there how great the fine arts department is. Band, Orchestra, and choir perform there, and it’s really exciting. When I was younger, it was something I always looked forward to and loved, and I’m really excited that Iget to be a part of it this time. I never imagined I would be in that same place of those musicians who I admired, and would be able to play for kids who would do the same in the following years.

Then, the evening of that Friday I have my first All Region rehearsal. It’s my first time getting into All Region and I’m looking forward to that as well. Compared to All District, I’ll be playing with kids from all over the region of Texas. On Saturday we’ll have one final rehearsal before we put on a concert. Then, on the following Monday I will be leaving for an early winter break. More details on that will come later. But anyways, it’s gonna be great. So many Orchestra live playing days. I’m really looking forward to next week. 

Oh and one last thing. I got to dissect a sheep brain. Twice. It was pretty enjoyable. A lot of people when they see organs or have to dissect body parts they get disgusted and cannot look at it or stand the smell. For me, it was fine. It looked pretty normal. I’d say the most amusing part to me was when my other teammates were completely disgusted by the smell while I was unbothered. It smelled like dead fish, and was oddly normal. The first of the two dissections was a labeling one where we had to dissect and label the interior and exterior of the brain. This included the cortexes, cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem, lobes, hypothalamus, corpus callosum, and thalamus. The second day was a mystery disease activity. Our team’s patient had a problem in the Central Nervous System- more specifically the hypothalamus- so we got to dissect another brain to root out our problem. I found it most fascinating how you could see where the problem was inside the brain. Although there was a mix up with the labeling when they were being sent and we got a different group’s brain, it was fascinating to see how the part where there was a problem/disease was most prominent. Here’s a picture down below. 


So yeah. Sheep brain dissections helped me get out of my exhausted state and progress through the long week.

Other than that nothing else really happened. About 87% of my week was just me being done with everything and exhausted, 8% was me being excited for cutting open a sheep brain, 3% was me manifesting the excitements of next week, and the remaining 2% was me thinking life is good. I dunno. Sometime between the week I started feeling good and told myself everything was all right. I have no idea where that came from, but it’s positive reassurance that is comforting to know. That’s pretty much how my entire week went. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and an excellent evening. Bye!

Motorcycles. What a…rather unique topic to write about. It’s a slightly random post today, bringing up two-wheeled motorized vehicles out of the countless others. In reality, I couldn’t come up with anything else. But, I’ve been thinking about this. I myself don’t know much about them. At most, the only thing I could come up with from what I know about them is that they have two wheels and an engine.

I guess this is similar to my Whiskey post, where I randomly wrote on a topic and gave some facts. It’s not bad to randomly talk about something informational every once in a while. Plus, this will be another learning experience for me as well.

Let’s first start with what defines a motorcycle. A two-wheeled vehicle that is powered by a motor and doesn’t have pedals. Given that, we have a basic image in our heads, like the one down below.



But, this is only one of the different types of motorcycles that exist. They look similar, yet each one has a specific purpose and style as to where or how it is ridden. Out of the many different types of motorcycles, I’m choosing to write about 4 types. Standard, Cruiser, Bagger, and Touring. Also, I’m going to be going off of Indian Motorcycles and their bikes for this post.

I also want to explain what cc means. When I write something like 125 cc, I’m talking about 125 cubic centimeters. The cc is used to measure the displacement of a motorcycle engine. A motorcycle’s displacement is another way to measure the volume of its cylinders (hence cubic), or more simply, measures the amount of space the engine’s pistons sweep within one stroke.
More displacement can mean a more powerful engine, but not necessarily more speed. For example, a standard bike can go faster than a bagger, despite the bagger having more cc, because the standard bike is smaller and weighs less.

Fairing is an external metal or plastic structure added to increase streamlining and reduce drag, especially on a high-performance car, motorcycle, boat, or aircraft.


Standard-


The oldest motorcycle style that manufactures have been producing, and a common favorite because of it’s simple design and suiting for all purposes. It has an upright seating position with the handlebar at waist height that offers a balanced riding position.



It has variations from 125 cc up to 1,000cc and can be fit with luggage, a tank bag, or a different seat.

Cruiser-

Designed for cruising, the Cruiser has a lower seat height for relaxed riding position and easy control. The engine sizes vary from a small displacement to 1,000 cc or more. ( Usually from 125 to 1,000cc)




Power cruisers have greater performance than usual, more horsepower, stronger brakes, and better suspension. Thye have higher levels of power, and often come with upgraded brakes and suspensions, better ground clearance, and premium surface finishes.

Bagger-

Baggers are more comfortable bikes that can be taken on the open road. They can dominate miles with high-displacement engines . They have saddlebags which offer plenty of storage for riding gear, cargo, or anything needed to hit the road. Baggers have a customizable selection of frame, fairings, and windshields which can keep you from being knocked around by the wind. 

Baggers also can have a two-up seating configuration.

Touring-

Touring motorcycles are perfect for long-distance rides as it has amenities and comfort for both the rider and passenger. They commonly have large displacement fairings and windshields that offer a high degree of weather and wind protection, large-capacity fuel tanks for long ranges, engines with a great deal of low-end horsepower, and a more relaxed upright seating position.




It’s typically larger than most other motorcycles, and has typically large engine sizes to be able to keep up highway speeds, and haul a large amount of extra gear+ clothes. Engine sizes can range from 1,000 to 1,800 cc.

Why do people ride motorcycles?

My guess would be the thrill. I’ve gotten the chance to ride with my dad on his motorcycle a few times, and it’s always been exciting? Why? Because of the thrill. The thrill of going at an incredible speed with nothing but the wind stopping you. It’s something that gives freedom. No one can stop you at that moment from going wherever you want. Nothing holds you back, and allows you to feel that sense of flying because of it’s open build. Although having to sit pressed against someone’s back with a firm non-negotiable grip around their waist isn’t the same, it gives a similar feeling.

I would also say because of what it sounds like. You can’t really hear much when riding due to the wind, but it’s helpful. I don’t remember what it sounds like, but it’s a bit blurred when you ride. You don’t hear a lot of sounds other than the occasional cars and wind whipping past you, and that’s calming as well. It blocks out the sound that can distract you, and lets you hear how fast you’re going instead. You don’t get that type of power and speed with cars or other vehicles, making it much more exciting with motorcycles. That sound also builds the thrill. The faster you go, the more blurred it sounds, and more thrill you get.

It can also be there to burn stress. When you ride, you feel calm. It sort of reboots your system and re-energizes you. It allows you to forget what’s on your mind and just enjoy the feeling of being free, and by yourself.

I also want to include friendship. My dad always shares stories about his rides whenever he gets home, and it always sounds warm when he shares a memory with his friends along the way. Going on a solo trip is great, but it’s better with friends. On that trip, they’ve all put down hectic schedules and work to do one thing you all love, and that’s riding. Either for short trips to close states, or long road trips across the country, they'll be there. You create a special, a new specific bond with your friends when you ride, and that’s another reason why people do it.


Difference between a biker group and biker gang:

When I was younger, I asked this question to my dad. Whenever I thought of a biker, I was always thinking of some biker gang or a person who was bad and rode on a bike while harming people. So when my dad got a bike, I got confused, and a bit worried. He later explained to me the difference.

A biker group, or motorcycle club, is a group of individuals whose primary interest and activities involve motorcycles. They all share the same passion and interest in motorcycles, and that’s why they form a club. Most clubs are either organized around a particular brand or make, or around a type of riding.

Biker gangs/ Outlaw motorcycle clubs however, do not usually adhere to the American Motorcyclist Association’s ( AMA) rules. Some members of outlaw motorcycle clubs participate in criminal activities and organized crime.

Why I want a bike:

Like I mentioned at the beginning, I have a dream motorcycle/bike in mind that I want to have when I’m older. How did it come to this, well….I don’t know. Honestly, I never imagined myself ever wanting a motorcycle in the future. I never liked them that much or thought they were great. But one day very recently I guess something clicked in my mind and now I want a motorcycle of my own. 

I guess mainly because they're cool. I mean, look.
Indian FTR

                                                  


Doesn’t this look like a really cool ride to school. You can ride onto campus on this and get off cooly while everyone looks at you in awe. Heh. And maybe because I like bikes in general. I’ve always loved riding bikes. I really love that freedom of my own “vehicle” and going to my friends’ house by myself or hanging out with them. It’s like a form of independence I suppose. But you can’t take a regular bicycle everyday when you get older, so I guess that’s why I decided I wanted a motorized bike instead. ( AKA motorcycle.)

Achievements/Gear:

What comes to mind when you think of a motorcyclist? Probably some person with a vest covered with patches standing next to a bike. Or maybe not. But anyway, usually these vests serve a greater purpose than as protection or a stylish overcoat. They can represent a treasure for some. My dad owns a vest himself, and on it he had many patches of different places he's been. For example, the Three Twisted Sisters. It’s like a trophy. A piece of clothing that shows the different achievements and places you’ve been and have. Or it could just be a way to represent yourself. It doesn’t necessarily have to have patches of your achievements, but to show who you are. To show the world when you ride what it means to be a rider to you, and what you see of yourself.

The bond between a rider and their bike:

You know how ships have names? I’m not sure about big ships, but for small ships the captain or whoever owns it gives it a name. Ever wonder why? Because that’s their partner. It’s their most trusted friends on a journey. Same with bikes. Bikers name their bikes as well because that’s their only companion on the road. The bike is the one that is with them and the one that will take care of them on their ride. The vehicle is the one that’s helping you get there, and is the one that will protect you. You basically trust it to help you reach your destination safely. Giving it a name is like a form of respect. And that respect is the bond. If you treat it right, it’ll treat you right as well. Take care of it, and it'll take care of you as well.

And so that’s all I have on motorcycles and bikers. I hope you all got to learn a little more about them like I did. After doing some research and writing this, I actually became more aware of what it meant to be a rider and understand why they like it more as well.I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and are well. Bye!
It’s been 9 years, and the journey has finally come to an end. Well, partially. Let me be more specific. After 9 years, my journey on the Kumon Reading program has finally ended. It ended some time ago in August, but very recently, something very exciting has brought it up. But before that, let’s travel 9 years back to where it all started.

2012-2013:

I don’t remember the exact details of when I first started Kumon, but according to my parents, it was around when I was 4. I had first started the reading program, and my dad says that this was so I could be able to read. Reading doesn’t necessarily refer to books or text comprehension or just words in general, but instead, it means to recognize something and understand what it means. In math, you read numbers and graphs, you can read different languages, signs, animal tracks, etc. All these are based on the basics of reading, and that’s primarily why my parents wanted me to start with reading before math. Skip forward a year to 2014.

2014:

I don’t remember much of 2014 as well, but there is one specific memory I have. Before I share, let me explain how the programs are structured. In Kumon, there are5th-grade5th-grade different levels, and they each focus on different skills. While both Programs are organized slightly differently, they both have a similar structure of what should be focused on in a certain set, and both have more content in the next level based on what was learned.

Anyways, I’m not sure the exact year this happened, but, after a few minutes of intense calculation and photo searching, I believe it would have been sometime in 2014. I remember how one day, I was told that I would no longer be sitting with the Early Learners, and would have to sit with the older kids. I was pretty much confused at that time, but now looking back, I think it was because I had passed the Early Learning/Developing Skills levels. After that, I remember having to sit with the older kids and do my work instead of with my friends. I think sometime into 2014 I began the math program as well. ( And a side note, it was the year I first started learning the violin as well.)

Another memory I have about Kumon doesn’t exactly relate to the program itself, but how it’s helped me. I remember when I was in 1st grade, we were taking a quiz and I remember it being in addition. Vertical, aka ‘stacking’, the addition of 3-digit numbers. I very specifically remember how I already knew how to do this and kept saying it to myself when I first saw the paper. I’m not sure if this is entirely true, but I think I was the first to finish and was surprised to see my classmates struggling. I do not know what my 7-year-old brain was thinking, but that is what I very clearly remember of that year.

2015:

2015 is one of the years I have specific memories from. I moved from Ohio to Texas in 2015, started writing a blog very shortly after I moved, and began a new school in a new state that year as well. It was a spur of fast-moving changes that were overwhelming and complex at that time. Anyways, before I had moved, we had taken A LOT of Kumon packets with us so I still had that habit of Kumon, and to keep me working until school started, or we found another Kumon center for me to attend. I remember lying around in an apartment with piles of Level CII packets around me. I remember working on a made-up story about a woman called Petite Mama who lived far away and sold crops. Fascinating what the brain remembers, isn’t it?

I do remember when I started at a new Kumon Center. It was a new building, a new Instructor, and I was terrified. I eventually got used to it, and slowly started picking up from where I left off at my previous center.

2016:

There was only one change that happened that year. My mom started working at the Center so she could take over. Because of this, two things happened. One, I would have to start going to after-school care, which I dislike very much, and two, I would no longer go to the Center run-person. Since my mom worked there, she would bring me the packets regularly.

Another thing that happened was that I was chosen to take the CBE (Credit by Examination) test for math. I think that at that time, they wanted to see how it would go, and for that, there were 7 kids, including me, in 3rd grade who were chosen to take it. Out of that, 6 of us passed, and in 4th grade, we all took 5th-grade math. From that moment until now, I've been taking accelerated math, and am currently taking Geometry in 8th grade.

2017:

4th grade. The main part of 4th grade was 5th-grade math. It was a bit complicated as I was taking math a grade higher than normal, and because I had only learned the previous course over a few months. It was really fun though. I enjoyed taking it. I have a memory from this year as well. We were learning fractions, and I couldn’t help but beam through the entire lesson as I had learned how to use fractions long before. I just couldn’t help but feel good that I knew something others didn’t. Not in a smug, “Haha, I know more than you do!” way, but more, “Oh, I’ve learned this before!! I know how to do this!” way. It’s like when you know what something means or can do something that others haven’t, and the teacher lets you show the others or be an example. It was one of those moments.

2018:

Okay, 2018 was a terrible year for me. I’ve mentioned and complained many, many times how much last year brought me down and how much it set me back, but I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that this had happened previously before as well. It wasn’t for all subjects, but more for math. I struggled HEAVILY that year, and most of my grades consisted of B’s and C’s. I don’t remember a time I ever got a 100 that year in math.

There was a point I got a 54 and had to completely redo the test to pass. I remember the amount of embarrassment and shame I felt on myself that day, as I could feel my classmates watching me, sitting there with tears rolling down, as my teacher explained what I did wrong to me. Although it was in a corner of the classroom, I could feel them watching my every move. It was the most humiliation I felt that day, and I was so ashamed of myself. I prided myself for being in accelerated math, but I had dropped so low I didn’t even know if I should still be proud or not. When I told them, I knew I had let them down and was frustrated with myself. I just couldn’t bring myself up from where I was that year. Although it got better, I was still so low and doing terrible that year. The best score from that year was 94. After that incident, my dad said that I had to get above a 90 to earn his trust back. I worked the best I could and managed to get a 94. It’s not one of my best memories of that year, but it was the fuel for my determination to not slip again the next year.

I also had some problems in Kumon that year as well. In Kumon, there are achievements you can make such as G by 4 or J by 6. They’re reaching specific levels in or before you reach a certain grade. In this case, I was aiming for G by 4. The problem was, I kept failing the test. This happened mainly because I didn’t do so well in the packets. Both for math and reading. Every time I got corrections back, it would just be red pen after red pen on each page. I went easy on everything. I had no real interest in doing it and didn’t bother to do the corrections no matter how many times my mom told me to. I think because I kept struggling in Kumon, I developed that habit when working, of not paying attention to my work, and that affected my grades that year. This set me back some time in the Program, and I do hope it never happens again.

2019:

After taking that vow to never drop so low in math again, I aimed to work hard and do my best in middle school. It was a new year, a new school, and a new environment. I wanted to start over and put my best effort into Kumon and my academics that year. One particular thing I loved about Kumon that year was that it had started teaching me algebraic functions. However, I didn’t do it…properly. I’m going to confess something I know is wrong, and I have kept to myself for some time now. I had looked up the answers for Level J several times. I had done the work though.  Looking back I regret it, as it was a reason I was set back once more, and because it is wrong. 

 Although I tried to compensate for it, it doesn’t fix the fact that I could have done the level once, and correctly.

2020:

We all know this year. Ah yes, the year you all know. The year where I did not push myself and was very relaxed when working. Yeah. I don’t think you need more explanation. For Kumon, it went well. I started level J for reading and was almost done with my second attempt at Level J for math. Math was slow because of that extra time, but Reading went by really fast. I completed Level J and started K that year. A little more than halfway through the school year, I completed Level J and started Level K. And that brings us to this year.

2021:

At the start of this year, I was on Level K for math, and Level L for reading. Was. Meaning, I finished Level L this year. I finished it this August5th-grade5th-grade and completed the entire Reading Program. Looking back, it has been an incredible journey to get this far. I’ve gone through so many ups and downs during this, and it only feels like yesterday where I was on level FI. Time goes by so fast, and who would have known that I would be done with the Reading Program after 9 years. I’ve done all the levels, and seen every part of it to get here, and now it’s over. I still have math, and that’ll take who knows how long. ( It finishes at Level O) Right now, I’ve completed Level K, but I’m stuck on reviewing it before I test. ( Maximum and Minimum are giving me a hard time.)

I’ve slowed down a bit since school started, in Kumon, but I’m trying to bring that stamina and determination to complete the Program back. After I complete the Math Program, I’ll be done with Kumon entirely, and have done both Programs from start to finish. This is my goal. I’ve already gotten everything else completed in the Math Program, and completion is the only thing left.

Apart from just completing the Reading Program, something even more amazing has happened. So, in Kumon each month there are certificates that come. Based on your grade, Level, and Level place for that month, you get a ranking along with other kids in that same category. I recently got mine, and I have “ranked 1 out of 4098 students in 7th grade in the USA, by reaching L 200 by August 2021.”

Ever since I’ve received my first award, I started aiming for higher. There are 4 “ranks”. Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. I first started getting Gold, and that’s when I decided to work harder to get Platinum. I’ve started to get all Platinum for a few years now and to be honest, I’ve never thought further about my ranking. However, after seeing what my rank for August was, my new goal for math is to climb higher and rank 1st for math as well. In August, I ranked 848 out of 9302 students in the grade by reaching K 180. It’s okay, but it could be better. It could go higher, and now I want to work so it becomes 1.

Reading ranking

Math ranking

Kumon has helped me come a really long way. It’s helped me in so many ways other than just Math and Reading. It’s helped me learn to work independently by learning new concepts and understanding them myself, working through difficult problems I may not understand, and applying what I already know to go further. It’s helped shape my working style and method in order to get things done efficiently and correctly. Although I’m relieved I’ve finally finished the Reading Program, I know I’ll miss it. Maybe long after I’ve completed both programs, I’ll still want to go back and do Kumon again. It’s been, and still is, a part of my daily life for a very long time, and I want to keep working and doing it until the end. I’ve gotten this far already, and giving up would be a waste. So, I’ll keep working to complete the Math Program.