Kettlebell beginner: What size and exercises?

I'm going to buy some kettlebells but I have a few questions…

What kind of exercises do you do with kettle bells?

What size to get? I do have some strength and I'm afraid I'll outgrow the 36lb size quickly. However if I buy 53lbers I'm worried that I'll bust myself up until I'm ready for them.

Is the 36lb size good even after you start to adapt to the exercises? How long does it take until you can use kettle bells with some understanding without dropping on your head, foot, wacking your self with them, etc?

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