Recap and Reflection on a Sudden Trip to Florida

Warning: This blog post will be very long and there’s talk about death and dying. Please take care of yourself and don’t read this blog post if death and dying make you uncomfortable or trigger you.

First of all, read this blog post (and the update if you read the post before my update). It will give you a better background on the cause of my sudden trip.

Franklin got a call saying that his dad was about to go into hospice. Franklin decided he had to fly down to Florida to see his dad. He told me he had to fly down and there was discussion about me going as well. So he talked to my mom and when I come home from work, mom talked to me and I’m starting the packing process. That night, Franklin booked a flight. We flew to Florida Thursday morning and returned Monday afternoon.

Thursday, February 22nd

I wake up at 6:25 AM because Franklin is picking me up at 7 AM. I text my friend Marc to wish him a happy birthday and I get ready for getting picked up. After saying goodbye to my dad (my mom spent the night at my grandmother’s house so I said goodbye to her Tuesday night), I’m on the way to the airport. When we get to the long term parking area, I hand Franklin his birthday gift since he said he will open the gift the day we leave for Florida. I got him a sleeveless exercise shirt since he’s built muscle since we first started dating and I thought he’d like to show off his arms. We get our tickets and go through the TSA checkpoint. Uneventful. We check what gate we have to go to and our flight is delayed. At some point, my boyfriend checked something on Google and it said our flight status was unknown. Uh-oh, not good. I see some rocking chairs located by a window with a good view of planes taxiing to and from the gate. I go over to the chairs and focus on the rocking of the chair. It helped to calm my anxiety and I returned to the gate to once again sit with my boyfriend.

We fly to Orlando where Franklin’s uncle picked us up. I have a headache that doesn’t go away until later that night (later learned that you can get dehydrated on planes). The ride takes about an hour and a half from the airport to Franklin’s dad’s hospice house. We are warned that he looks rough, but the warning doesn’t prepare me from seeing how he looked. I have seen pictures of Franklin’s dad, but this man who looks to be asleep does not look like him. He seems to notice me in front of his bed and he “wakes up” and responds a little. He only responded to my presence and Franklin telling his dad that his birthday is the next day. We don’t stay at hospice long. We go to Franklin’s uncle’s house and since the only thing Franklin and I ate that day was our snack on the plane, Franklin’s aunt makes us a snack. We are given a glass of water, a container of yogurt and a plate filled with apple slices, a little bit of peanut butter, four crackers, and four pieces of cheese.

We are taken back to Franklin’s dad’s house, where we are staying during our trip. Franklin and I decide to unpack our things and rest before we go out to dinner since my headache is still there. I lie down on the couch while Franklin does something I don’t remember. We get into Franklin’s dad’s Subaru Outback and drive to Pasta Faire and have dinner with Franklin’s uncles and aunts. Near the end of dinner, I see our waiter gather the other waitstaff in a line. He walks into our section of the dining room and makes a birthday announcement. Turns out Franklin’s aunts and uncles surprised my boyfriend with a slice of birthday cake. The waitstaff sang “Happy Birthday” in Italian and they sang so loudly that my fading headache returned. The headache eventually went away.

Friday, February 23rd

It’s Franklin’s birthday. We celebrated the day before since we felt like we wouldn’t be able to celebrate today. We’re not here for a vacation. Today’s breakfast is the leftovers from last night’s dinner. After we eat our leftover and drink water to prevent me from getting dehydrated, Franklin goes to his dad’s room to start finding paperwork that he, his uncle, and aunt will go over just in case his dad passes. We set a time to go visit Franklin’s dad and we run late because Franklin is still finding all the papers. We are about to head to the hospice house when the hospice nurse calls. Franklin’s dad hasn’t been responsive today. When she said that, Franklin and I put our shoes on, grab our things, and drive to the hospice house.

We see Franklin’s dad look like he’s gasping for breath. The nurse meets with us and Franklin’s uncle and aunt join us at hospice. Franklin is hoping that his dad wasn’t expecting us to come back the prior evening and he told me to not blame myself (probably because of my headache that lasted a long time) I’m struggling to keep it together because I’m afraid that Franklin’s dad is going to die on Franklin’s birthday. I remind Franklin to tell his dad he loves him and I go outside to call my mom. I beg her to pray that Franklin’s dad doesn’t die today (and this is a big thing if you know my religion… none). I’m crying on the phone.

Many many years ago, my cousin’s favorite grandmother passed away on his birthday and I’ve seen the mental health effects from that happening to him. I was worried that Franklin would become self-destructive as well. People said that he won’t do that because he’s been deployed overseas before, but a death of a parent is going to affect you regardless of whether you were in the military or not.

Franklin comes outside to check on me while I’m still on the phone. Mom talks to him on my phone and we stay outside for awhile. We eventually go back in and Franklin makes his brother call him so their dad can hear his younger son’s voice. I meet Franklin’s dad’s ex-girlfriend and she tells Franklin’s dad everyone who is here. She called me Miranda, but Franklin corrected her. I found out Franklin’s dad was so excited about wanting to meet me. A few minutes after Franklin’s brother tells his dad that he loves him, the time between each breath gets longer and the nurse comes in wanting to give him more pain medication. We have her wait some more time. Then a few minutes after she leaves, Franklin’s father took his last breath. A couple of people can still feel a pulse, though. The nurse comes back and turns off the oxygen (I think Franklin’s uncle told the nurse that he stopped breathing). She feels his pulse. She listens to his heartbeat. She puts her finger under his nose to feel if he’s breathing.

“He passed.” She says. (Or she said “He’s gone.” I don’t remember what she said)

We all start crying. I cling to Franklin and say that it wasn’t supposed to happen on his birthday. Franklin’s crying and he said this will make us (our relationship) stronger.  I’m worried about Franklin. People start going outside to make phone calls. I give Franklin a few minutes alone with his dad while I attempt to call my mom again. The family once again makes sure I’m okay. We all leave the hospice house an hour after his dad’s passing and I ask Franklin if he wants to find a hotel for the rest of the time we’re in Florida. He said he should be fine, but we can if I don’t feel comfortable there. We go back to Franklin’s dad’s house and it felt creepy to pull into the driveway of someone who will no longer live there.

We took some time to rest and per the urging of Franklin’s uncle for Franklin to take me out somewhere to get our minds off of what happened, Franklin figured out what to have for our late lunch. We used up the rest of my Panera Bread gift card and went to a beautiful outdoor shopping area called Spanish Springs. We saw a golf cart being pulled over, which was kind of funny. When the sun set, we went home and I called my mom asking for advice on how to be a good emotional support person. I never had to fill that role until this Florida trip.

Saturday, February 24th

We go to McDonald’s for breakfast because whenever I had to go to North Carolina for a funeral when I was little, my family would always get McDonald’s for breakfast. I order a sausage biscuit and two hash browns while Franklin orders a sausage burrito and a steak, egg, and cheese biscuit. His uncle meets us at McDonald’s and gives Franklin a folder containing the will and a few other papers. We went back home for a little bit before Franklin’s cousin came to visit with his wife, two sons, and fluffy white dog. We all went out to lunch together and then Franklin needed to sign some papers at the retirement community where his dad lived. The three of us then went to the funeral home.

After picking out an urn, we went back to Franklin’s uncle’s house. The uncle, the aunt, the cousin, his wife, and the cousin’s kids went with me and Franklin to Franklin’s dad’s house since Franklin’s cousin hasn’t seen the house yet. The boys kept wanting to touch things and the youngest son kept picking up the three-pound weight on the dresser (it must have been for physical therapy. My dad has three-pound weights from when he did physical therapy after shoulder surgery). Because the boy kept calling the weight “the six-pack thing”, I would never think of the word “weight” whenever I saw the green weight. When we visited the community center, I became sad because the next night would be my last night in Florida and the town is so beautiful.

When everyone left, I gave Franklin a chance to let his feelings out. He shed a couple of tears and said there was a lot of love in the room when his dad passed. I hug him and remind him that I’m here for him, which is what mom suggested I remind him. I let him have some time to himself so he can do homework while I watch the sunset on the screen-covered porch. I take my iPod with me so I can watch a couple of episodes of Daria that are on my iPod to keep myself occupied. I read some fan fiction and enjoy the nice weather outside at night. Franklin makes some pasta salad from a box his dad has in the house and brings it out on the porch so we can eat dinner together. After dinner, Franklin gathers all the paperwork his dad had and organizes them so he and his uncle can finally go over the paperwork. There were also pictures that needed to be organized. Some pictures will be used in the mass in Florida, some pictures will be returned to family members, and Franklin will keep a few pictures for himself. As much as I want to help, I let Franklin touch all of his dad’s belongings. From an outsider’s perspective, I am a stranger in his dad’s home and some people don’t like it when other people touch a family member’s belongings. Franklin forewarns me that I will be ignored for a bit the next day since he will be busy. Franklin and I stay awake for two additional hours just talking.

Sunday, February 25th

We go to Franklin’s uncle and aunt’s house for breakfast. We eat a Belgian waffle with a choice of strawberry slices, blueberries, banana slices, syrup, and whipped cream for the toppings and sausage and/or bacon. After eating breakfast, we watch some home movies that were filmed before I was born. When Franklin’s dad appears on screen, everyone was talking loudly so I can’t hear his dad’s voice. It bothers me because I have never heard Franklin’s dad’s voice before and this was my only time. It is now time for Franklin and his uncle to get to work. Some family members go to this one market, but I decline going because I promised myself I’d stay with Franklin when he would do anything related to things that needed to be done after his dad’s death. Franklin’s aunt shows me a couple of books that her daughter wrote, so I decide to read “The Golem Factory” (side note: I highly recommend the book “The Golem Factory”. I read the whole thing and it was really good).

Franklin and his uncle eat lunch, but I don’t feel very hungry. Later, when the family members who went to the market return, all us women play mahjong. It is completely different than the version that is played online. It is difficult to understand at first, but I am able to get the hang of it. When Franklin and his uncle finish organizing the paperwork and figuring out which companies need to be notified of the passing, Franklin and I get into his uncle’s golf cart and Franklin drives me around part of the retirement community. I feel like we’re an old married couple and I hope we become an old married couple.

We return with the golf cart to Franklin’s uncle’s house and I finish the final pages of “The Golem Factory” while we figure out whether we want to join his family for dinner or go out to dinner on our own. I want to go to Red Robin so Franklin can redeem his free birthday meal, but I tell Franklin that it’s up to him (throughout our time in Florida, he had to be the one to make decisions regarding his dad and his dad’s things, but I wasn’t sure if I should dictate the choice between our last meal with his family). His uncle suggests that we go out on our own. I think his uncle wants me to do something that isn’t related to family matters. We say goodbye to his aunt’s husband since he’s flying back home the next morning and we drive nearly half an hour to Red Robin.

We get to Red Robin and because of where we’re seated, someone has to get napkins from underneath the booth seats. We are given a voucher for a free appetizer from the $5 appetizers category, a free dessert, or a free Monster Milkshake. After dinner, we to Family Dollar to pick up sympathy cards so Franklin can deliver pictures. We drive back home in order to do a little packing and Franklin called his dad’s phone so I could hear his dad’s voice when the voicemail came on. I call my mom to see which of the toiletries I bought for the trip can be thrown away.

Monday, February 26th

We are flying home today and Franklin’s uncle is picking us up at 9 AM to take us back to the airport. Franklin wakes me up at 5 AM and despite my best efforts, I give up on going back to sleep. Turns out to be a good thing I couldn’t go back to sleep, because Franklin’s mind started processing that his dad is gone. I roll onto my back and hold him while he wonders if this is really goodbye (I don’t know if he means goodbye to Florida or goodbye to his dad) and he tells me that he feels like he cleaned his dad’s car too quickly and that the Green Bay Packers items gave the house personality.

After letting out emotions, Franklin gets post-it notes to leave instructions for what to do with the items being left behind while I prepare to take my shower. Once I’m clean and dressed, I pack up the rest of my things for my flight home. I remind Franklin to take his shower since his uncle was picking us up in an hour. Fast forward to when his uncle gets here and the women I played mahjong with (Franklin’s aunts and one woman I don’t know how she’s related) came into the house to clean up the house. I hug everyone goodbye and we set off to Orlando for our flight back home. Franklin reveals for the second time that day that writing on the post-it notes to delegate where his dad’s things will go was harder for him than the duties he does as an officer in the National Guard. Once again, my thumb takes the role of designate tear wiper.

Franklin has to check a suitcase with some of his dad’s clothes in it. Some clothes fit Franklin so he’s keeping those. Other clothes are being donated, so they stayed behind in a neatly-folded pile at his dad’s house. We grab something to eat and water to drink. I don’t want to get another headache, especially since I planned to go to kickboxing that evening. Our flight is on time and despite some turbulence on the flight, we make it back to Maryland safely. Oh, and I see a guy at the airport in Orlando who looked exactly like Franklin’s dad.

We go back to my house where I get changed into exercise clothes and pack my gym bag. The day before, my mom and niece baked Franklin a cake. Since Franklin’s birthday was three days prior and his dad passed on his birthday, we couldn’t sing “Happy Birthday”. Mom started singing “Franklin, you are amazing!” over an over again while dad and I just looked at each other. Franklin tells me that he hopes what I went through with him doesn’t cause me to need therapy, and I told him I might go to a couple of meetings for a grief support group depending on how I feel. After making sure he’d be okay with me going to kickboxing (since I wasn’t sure if Franklin being alone would make him really think about his dad’s passing), we leave my house. I go to kickboxing and Franklin goes back home to finish up his homework. This is now the first time we’ve been away from each other since Thursday morning before he took me to the airport.

What did I learn?

So what did I learn from this farewell trip? I learned how to be someone’s source of emotional support, I learned to set boundaries for myself (the boundary I set for myself was to not touch Franklin’s dad’s belongings when organizing things unless I’m told it’s okay), and I learned that I want to check baggage next time since it felt like such a struggle to put everything in a carry-on bag when I typically check luggage. I am hoping that watching Franklin’s father passing will help me learn to let things roll off my shoulder. I hope to learn how this experience is going to make Franklin and I stronger as a couple.


Try Something New: New Things in February

In this blog, I pledged to try one new thing each month in 2018. The new thing could be trying a new food, doing a new activity, or going someplace new. I have asked my fellow readers and my boyfriend to hold me accountable. At the end of each month, I will tell you all what new thing or things I have tried. I will also discuss the barriers that caused me to not try it before.

Let’s start off with new places I went to:

  • Belleview, Florida
  • Ocala, Florida

Barriers to why I didn’t go there before:

  • When I would go to Florida, I would always be in Orlando
  • After what happened to Trayvon Martin, I planned to never go to Florida again because I felt it wasn’t safe for black people anymore

Why I went to Belleview and Ocala:

  • My boyfriend’s dad lived in Belleview and that’s where we stayed during our trip to Florida
  • The hospice my boyfriend’s dad was at is in Ocala

My thoughts on Belleview and Ocala: Belleview is a nice place to live if you are 55 or older and I can imagine myself living there when I get old. I was only in Ocala three times during my trip (two of which was to visit my boyfriend’s dad in hospice), so I don’t have much of an opinion on it.

Now let’s talk about a new activity (if you could call it that) I did this month. I flew on JetBlue for my flight to Orlando.

Barrier to flying on JetBlue: My family typically flies on Southwest Airlines.

Why I decided to fly JetBlue: My boyfriend had me choose between two different flights and I chose the one for JetBlue since I’d have to be at the airport by 6 AM if I wanted to catch the flight on Delta Airlines. Diaryofself does not want to wake up when the sun is still down.

My thoughts on JetBlue: I would fly JetBlue again. There was in-flight entertainment (I never flew on a plane with TVs in front of me) which meant I didn’t need to waste iPod battery, there’s more room between seats compared to a typical airplane, and you get a choice of five different snacks instead of one snack.

Now for a new food I tried. Blue cheese. My boyfriend said it shouldn’t count as a new thing I tried because I could barely taste the blue cheese, but this is my blog and my journey so I do what I want!

Barriers to why I didn’t try blue cheese: I’m not sure in all honesty. It might be the appearance of the cheese that makes me think it won’t taste good (my issues with food are moreso based on the appearance than texture).

Why I tried blue cheese on my burger: Since I’m working on trying new things, I thought that getting a burger with blue cheese on it would be a good idea when my boyfriend and I took my dad to Greene Turtle on his birthday.

My thoughts on blue cheese: It wasn’t that bad. I could barely taste it, but it was a little bitter when I could taste it. It seemed to melt somewhat easily, so I liked how it tasted kind of creamy.


How To Find the Grad School that is Best for You

All my life I wanted to help people. I don’t know if that will be my purpose in life, but I wanted to help any reader who wants to go to grad school.

So you want to go to grad school. Maybe you want to advance your career or will be required to have at least a Master’s degree to get anywhere in your field. There are so many schools that offer graduate studies and you don’t know where to start looking. You want some advice. So how do you choose the best grad school for you? Well ladies, gentlemen, and non-binary merry people, I will tell you some things that I considered when I chose a grad school.

  • Do you want to do classes online or in a classroom setting? Some people do better when they are in a classroom setting. Some people want to do classes online because they work full-time and may not be able to make it to classes on time if they go to a physical classroom. Whether you want to do classes online or in-person will be one way that will definitely narrow down some options.
  • Do you want to go to a public or private university? Private universities are obviously more expensive. Consider how much money you make and how much money your courses will cost. Consider some personal advantages of going to private or public universities.
  • How far are you willing to travel for in-person classes? If you want to do your grad school in a classroom, you will want to consider how far you are willing to travel. Not everyone is lucky to live near campuses.
  • Does the school have the program I am interested in? Not every school has the program you want to go into. Yes, even if you want to get an advanced degree in a STEM field, there may not be a graduate program for your specific STEM interest.
  • Is there something about the school that you notice, whether it’s a positive or negative thing? You may or not see something on the university website that makes you think “I want to go there!” or “I don’t want to go there!” If you don’t see something that makes an impression on you, it’s okay to still consider that university.

Going to grad school is not something I always wanted to do. I didn’t want to get a Master’s degree until I learned about the BS/MS program during my undergraduate years. The BS/MS program allows you to take a couple of Master’s degree classes while you’re still working towards your Bachelor’s degree. Then when you get your Bachelor’s degree, you go straight into continuing your graduate courses. The program I wanted to do required two years of related work experience first before going to grad school, which I felt was best so you can build up funds.

However, when I got a job unrelated to my concentration in my major, it was a job that I learned would make a Master’s degree meaningless. It was very low-paying because it was a job that helped people get experience in programming before finding other jobs. You know, because you can’t find an entry-level job that doesn’t require two or three years of experience. At that point, I didn’t want to get a Master’s degree. When I started my current job, I saw some open positions that will not require as many years of experience if you have a Master’s degree. This is what made me want to pursue a Master’s degree again.

So how did I find that the university I picked was the right one for me? I considered the four things I mentioned above.

Online or in-person? I took some online classes and I had to retake all but one of them, so I know that I absolutely NEED to take classes in-person.

Public or private university? I went private for undergrad so I knew I wanted to go public for grad school.

Does the school have a computer science program? Yes. When I was looking at other universities in case I didn’t get accepted to this one (which I got accepted. Yay), some universities did not have the program I wanted.

Did anything give me a good impression or bad impression of the school? They offer a robotics elective (though I later learned that the class has not been offered since Fall 2015). My ex-boyfriend’s stepmom has praised the specific university for creating assistive technologies that she uses (she is both legally blind and colorblind). The university is also actively working towards a diverse and inclusive environment. Some people or organizations are all talk and no action. This university walks and talks.

I hope this post helps someone with choosing the right grad school for them.

Mental Health

Thoughts, Prayers, or Rituals Wanted

The thoughts, prayers, and rituals are not for me. I know I promised to make this blog more about me and my journey of discovering who I am, but I have to break this promise. The thoughts, prayers, and rituals are for my boyfriend and his dad.

Yesterday evening, my boyfriend and I found out that his dad was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors found a growth in his shoulder that ended up being malignant. From what we heard yesterday, he is now in the ICU with pneumonia in both lungs and the cancer already spreading. My boyfriend’s uncle said it’s looking bad and while my boyfriend and his brother are taking the wait and see approach, his aunt told him they were making a mistake not flying down to see their dad.

The way people are talking, there may not be much time left. What also worries me is that my boyfriend’s birthday is later this week. If this may be goodbye for his dad, I want his dad to wait to take his last breath until after my boyfriend’s birthday. My cousin lost his favorite grandmother on his birthday years ago and I saw the mental health effects that resulted from what would be considered the worst birthday gift ever. I don’t want history to repeat itself.

I have this tagged and categorized as mental health because I’m worried about my boyfriend’s mental health if his dad suddenly takes a turn for the worse. Men are less likely to seek mental health help, especially if they’re in the military. However, there are grief support groups around the county and free counseling services through the military. I know he’s trying to keep it together, but if and when the dam breaks, there will be a flood.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is seen as one of the better cancers to have, but hearing the big c-word is still scary. If you believe in a religious power, please pray for my boyfriend’s father to keep his fighting spirit as he goes through cancer. Please pray for my boyfriend’s mental health and guide him to the best decision of when to see his dad (if things go well, then he will visit his dad over the summer. If things get worse, he’s spending his birthday with his dad). Please pray for the family to be prepared for the worse and to keep a realistic outlook. If you don’t believe in a religious power, keep the family in your thoughts.

Update: My boyfriend’s dad is in hospice now. We’re going to fly down to see his dad.


I’m In! A Grad School Acceptance Post

I was hoping to make this post, and I’m glad I get to.

Today when I got home from work, I checked my e-mails. I got an e-mail titled “(Name of University Here) MS in CS Program Acceptance”. The first line in the e-mail said “Congratulations on your acceptance to the Master’s Degree Program in Computer Science at (Name of University Here).”

What? What? WHAT?!

So I did the only thing I could do: print out my acceptance letter and run upstairs to tell my mom. Dad wasn’t home from work yet, but he came home about 10 minutes later. There are so many emotions and I almost cried because I kept feeling like I was going to get rejected from grad school.

Even though it is conditional admission and I have to meet some requirements before being fully admitted, I was still really excited to get accepted to grad school. I knew I wasn’t going to get full admission since my GPA was a little less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

A little annoyed that I still have to take a few prerequisite courses even though I submitted my grad school resume. I met with the program director in-person during the open house and he said that if I submit my resume (due to having software engineering experience. Software engineering is the track within my major I will be doing), I won’t have to take the prerequisite courses. I still do, so I’m a bit annoyed. It’s going to make me graduate at least one semester later, and I’m already going to have to do three years since I’m doing part-time grad school. What I’m going to do is see if I can take my math prerequisite during the summer, even though I applied to the Fall 2018 semester at the university. According to my e-mail, I can take the prerequisites alongside the grad school courses, so I’ll do a prerequisite and a regular class in Spring 2019 if I can’t do math during the summer.

Scared, because I fear that my anxiety disorder and ADHD will stand in my way from succeeding. I can’t get accommodations since my primary care doctor (not a psychologist or psychiatrist) diagnosed me with very mild ADHD. Dad wants me to get a second opinion from someone who specializes in ADHD, but I feel like I will have to report it to my job. I read that people develop anxiety and depression in grad school, and my anxiety at this point last year was the worst it ever was and I was tempted to get on medication My anxiety has gotten a lot better since June. I still have moments of heightened anxiety, but the frequency has drastically decreased.

So what’s next for me? Getting my official acceptance letter in the mail, since I need some of the information on it to submit my online enrollment contract and pay my deposit by the date on the contract. I will need to complete things in my to-do list provided by the university (and it is a long list). I wasn’t expecting an acceptance letter to come in an e-mail because I read that admission decisions will be sent by mail (not e-mail, but mail). I should get the actual letter in the mail soon so I can sign my contract and pay my deposit.

I promise I will study hard and do my best during grad school so I can get fully admitted and graduate with a Master’s degree. I promise to be the representation highly necessary for women of color so they can see that they have a chance to make it in a field dominated by white men. I WILL be an example of #BlackExcellence.


New Work Project and Horrible Day

Today was horrible. I found out that I’m getting kicked off my current project at work because I’m not good enough at Java. I had a mental breakdown after work today because my dad is trying to force me to get a proper ADHD diagnosis even though I got a proper diagnosis from a medical professional. I feel like I will never be good enough in tech. I feel like my ADHD gets in the way of life. I can’t be medicated due to the mildness of my ADHD and my naturally high heart rate. I’m anti-marijuana so I can’t self-medicate to help with my issues (plus, cannabis use is a reportable offense with my job).

I want to quit my job because I’m not meant to be a programmer. I want to find a job that’s female-friendly and black-friendly. I need to figure out who I am and my purpose in life. I can’t do that. I’m at the point where I want to leave my life behind and join the navy. I’m seriously considering joining the military. It’s my last hope.


Try Something New: New Things in January

In this blog, I pledged to try one new thing each month in 2018. The new thing could be trying a new food, doing a new activity, or going someplace new. I have asked my fellow readers and my boyfriend to hold me accountable. At the end of each month, I will tell you all what new thing or things I have tried. I will also discuss the barriers that caused me to not try it before.

I tried many new things this month, so I made sure to not try too many new things. I need at least one new thing for the other 11 months.

Let’s start off with new places I went to:

  • A synagogue
  • Two new restaurants (I won’t say either name since it would easily give away where I live)

Barriers to why I didn’t go there before:

  • I’m not Jewish. I was never raised Jewish. Neither was my boyfriend (he was raised Catholic but is now a non-denominational Christian). I have no need to go to a synagogue.
  • Going to a new restaurant is a challenge for picky eaters and I had no interest in going to that specific restaurant.

Why I went to new places:

  • I didn’t go to the synagogue for church service, but more as a social justice trip since the synagogue is where the Martin Luther King Jr. event was held.
  • From January 19th through the 28th, there was something called “Restaurant Week” where you can eat multiple courses at a restaurant for what may possibly be a discounted price. I say possibly since I don’t know the average prices of items if it was not a part of restaurant week. That specific restaurant was one of the first to post their restaurant week menu.
  • Spur of the moment. It was still restaurant week and dad ordered pizza for the house. Papa John’s pizza does not agree with my boyfriend’s digestive tract.

My thoughts on the synagogue: I liked the event. Since I’m not Jewish and am not married to anyone who is Jewish, I will likely only return for future social justice events.

My thoughts on the first restaurant: I liked the restaurant, but it’s not one of my top places to return. I originally did this as a one-and-done thing so I could try a new food there. I may go back again one day, but likely not soon.

My thoughts on the second restaurant: Seemed like a fun atmosphere and they were playing music from the 1980s. I love 80s music. I will definitely be back for the 80s music alone.

Now let’s talk about the new foods I tried:

  • Butternut squash soup
  • A veggie burger with a patty made of black beans and corn

Barriers to trying new foods: I realized a few months ago that the reason why I don’t try new foods is because I will be wasting food or money if I don’t like it.

Why I tried the new foods:

  • Society looks down on adults who are picky eaters. When I read about the opinions, it made me feel horrible about myself (Not caring about what people think is not possible. I have a mental disability). I made a post about how adult picky eaters aren’t childish, but since I don’t have Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, I should be able to stop my mental block.
  • In the case of butternut squash soup, it just happened to be there. The Martin Luther King Jr. event had a light lunch served and when my boyfriend asked me if I wanted some, I decided to try it.
  • The veggie burger was a planned new food to try. I wanted to eat one vegetarian or vegan substitute food this year. There aren’t any vegetarian/vegan specialty restaurants nearby, so when I saw the veggie burger on the restaurant week menu, I jumped at the opportunity.

My thoughts on the butternut squash soup: I will be honest and say I was a little nervous about trying butternut squash soup. I didn’t feel the nervousness until I was sitting at the table with a small bowl of soup. I kept talking to a woman at our table and at some point, I knew I had to put the spoonful of soup in my mouth. The butternut squash soup was so good and since I could taste some pieces of the squash, I knew it was made from scratch. Will definitely have butternut squash soup again.

My thoughts on the veggie burger: It was good, but too spicy. I originally thought it was the chipotle sauce making it spicy, but I later realized that it was the patty. A co-worker told me that veggie burgers usually have spices in them in order to have some kind of flavor. I’ll probably eat another burger if I go to that restaurant again.