I haven't said it nearly enough, but the one thing I really really like about Chennai is our community. Some would say the Consulate community is insular, perhaps even cliquish (um, however that's spelled), but honestly that's not the case.
We welcome "outside" folks to our activities, it's just that within our little group (steadily growing little group, I might add) we try to keep ourselves very busy and we truly enjoy each other's company. Yesterday was the school picnic and though I came home with a headache from talking to people for 4 hours, I have never, not ever, had the chance to be in a place long enough to be comfortably part of a group. The kind of group that is an instant little party no matter where we are. The kind of people who pull up a chair and hang out by the pool and here's the kicker, think I have something to add. The kind of people who all have something in common, even if we've only just met. The kind of people who don't expect much in return, just pass on the good stuff and help each other through the rough patches. We have plenty of rough patches, things that just plain don't work right here in Chennai, but we're in it together and that does make a difference.
It's the one huge thing I will miss about Chennai when we leave next summer. I get along with just about everyone I've met (inside the Consulate and out), and I enjoy talking with all of them.
Which brings me to this morning. It started a little rough. Not a good night's sleep and woke up at 7 to kick our sleepover guest out the door (sorry J!). Then there was the makeup tennis lesson since yesterday morning it rained just enough to make the court slick. Another family was at the court when I arrived as they too were making up yesterday's lesson. They live in our neighborhood and had biked over, two adults on bikes, one kid on a bike, and one kid left to run alongside since he can't ride without training wheels yet. Jonathon was intrigued by the big lovely Schwinns. Mrs. Neighbor let him pedal while she ran alongside and he was hooked. After my tennis lesson, we twisted off the rusty training wheels from his bike, tossed the broken handbrake into the basket, pumped up the tires, and he was off.
We now have a free bike riding 7 year old. Perhaps this will encourage his 8 year old brother to try?
I sat and watched my friends play tennis while Jonathon made his way in circles around the CGs parking lot. Of course he wanted to show Ian too, so later he brought the bike back out, and other friends were at the tennis court, so while he pedaled around we chatted with them.
On weekends like this one, I remember that Chennai is really a great thing for us.
So Nicholas was not to be outdone. In the afternoon while Jonathon was playing at the neighbor's house, Nicholas snuck onto Jonathon's bike, and took off.
We've taken off his training wheels now, aired up his tires, and need to oil his very rusty chain, but he's ready to ride on his own set of wheels.