Try Something New 2018

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.

Awareness · Self-Reflection

A Reflection on a Martin Luther King Event

So I was originally going to do a blog ranting about how many people at my job want to work on Martin Luther King Day, but I decided to do a blog post on yesterday’s outing instead.

My co-workers put me in a bad mood on Thursday and Friday because I felt like they didn’t care about the significance of today. Yes, they’re white so they were never affected by racism, but they could at least not want to work that day. On Friday, I was looking at upcoming events in my boyfriend’s town. I found the perfect one to make me feel better. So I decided to channel my anger into an educational opportunity for my boyfriend. He likes history and there was going to be a light lunch. Franklin loves food, especially if it’s free.

The event was a four-part event gathering people of the Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) in a “Journey to Peace”. This multi-faith event was created as a way to unite for peace when the 2017 inauguration was about to happen. The first event was the blood drive for people who are interested. 24 people signed up, and 16 whole units of blood were able to be used to donate. 1 unit of blood can save up to 3 lives, so up to 48 lives will be saved by the donations. The second part of the event was a light lunch. Bread, lentil soup, butternut squash soup, salad, and desserts were offered. I tried a new food, which I will talk about at the end of the month. The third event was us watching clips from movies and having a facilitated discussion afterwards. The final event was a 30-minute church service with scriptures from the Bible, Torah, and Quran; songs; and a ritual where we put tea light candles in a vase to promise that we will fight for peace and equality. As we said during the event, “Salam, Shalom, and Peace.”

We watched clips of the following movies:

  • Accidental Courtesy. In this documentary, we hear about musician Daryl Davis who meets with various members of the Ku Klux Klan to befriend them and try to learn why there are some people who hate African Americans. A few people he befriended quit the Klan
  • Malcolm X. This movie is about the life and activism of Malcolm X. He preached about a separation from white society, but his pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj, a mandatory religious duty for Muslims) made him learn that there are Muslims of all races.
  • Marshall. This movie is about Thurgood Marshall when he was a lawyer for the NAACP. He was assigned to defend a black man in Connecticut, but was not allowed to defend a fellow black man. Sam Friedman, a Jewish insurance lawyer, is assigned to defend Joseph Spell instead. Friedman is resentful at first. Trigger warning for the movie: mentions of sexual assault.

When I first stepped into the social hall where lunch and video viewing was located, I was surprised, but deeply disturbed at the lack of black people. This event is to honor someone that helped us. Why aren’t there more of us? More black people showed up when the lunch was ending, but I expected it to be a mostly black event. I decided to change that way of thinking and thought it was good that white people are here to be educated about the struggles we went through and still go through. Education is key to changing the perceptions people have about minorities. The food was vegetarian-friendly (and vegan-friendly if vegans avoid the desserts). It was a light lunch, but the soup helped to satisfy me and I didn’t feel hungry until later than usual. Drinks included sweetened ice tea, water, and lemonade. I usually don’t drink anything when I eat.

One key takeaway from this event was that change must first come from within. I first learned this in my Peacemaking class during my final semester of university. If you want to change others, you must look within yourself to see what self-improvements need to be made first. Kind of like “Love yourself before you can love others”. Another key takeaway is the message of how we need to unite with people like us instead of fighting with each other. Franklin liked the event overall, which is good. This boyfriend seems to get it, while the previous guy refused to acknowledge his privilege. I think we all felt renewed by going to this event. Go to your town’s (or nearest town’s) Patch for local events.