Self-Reflection · Try Something New 2018

Looking Back on the Try Something New in 2018 Pledge

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 fiancé to hold me accountable. At the end of each month, I told you all what new thing or things I have tried and discussed the barriers that caused me to not try it before.

2018 is over and we are now in 2019. I can now say my wedding is next year! But let’s stay in the present and look at the past in this blog.

Surprisingly, I was able to keep myself accountable for doing something new this month. Yes, there were some days that I only tried one thing new, but it’s something. Starting out, I was doing a lot of new things, which is probably why some months didn’t have many new things. I was able to add a few new foods to add to my somewhat short list of foods I eat.

If I were to pick a favorite thing I tried, it would be joining the choir at my Unitarian Universalist church. It’s mostly men, though. From what I was told, there used to be a lot more women in the choir, but I know two choir members just moved to a different state so they clearly won’t be at the church anymore. It wasn’t a problem before since we were able to recruit more sopranos for last month’s song, but it’s becoming a problem for me now since I can’t sing as high as I’m supposed to because I can only hear the men.

So for 2019, I have decided to do a quarterly decluttering. I’m doing the decluttering as a way to get a head start on getting rid of things I don’t need so I won’t be rushing to do it right before the wedding.

Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Things in December

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 fiancé 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.

Well folks, this is the last Try Something New post. This was fun while it lasted.

My first new thing was joining a choir.

Barriers to joining a choir: I actually wanted to join the children’s choir at my old church, but by the time I quit baton to join the children’s choir, I was about to be too old for the choir, do I became an usher instead. When I was 8 years old, I learned I couldn’t sing after I listened to myself sing using some kind of tube in music class. I still joined chorus in elementary school for 4th and 5th grade since anyone who wanted to be in the chorus could be in the chorus. In middle school, I only did band class because you had to audition for chorus.

Why I joined the choir: There is no choir experience necessary. When I first wanted to try out the church years ago, I wanted to join the choir. Now that I’m a member, I tried it.

I almost didn’t try out the choir. Why? Because during the first exploring membership class, a guy asked if they’d want his horrible singing voice in the choir. One of the people leading the class said no. I also found out that the choir director does private lessons when one parent said her son is taking piano lessons from the choir director. I’m not a very good singer (but singing along to anime years ago improved my singing voice), so I almost didn’t join the choir. During last month’s potluck, I was able to talk to the choir director and found out that most members don’t have formal vocal training. So I decided to try out the choir.

My thoughts on UU choir:

  • I started having fun as soon as we started warm-ups
  • I tell people I’m an alto, but I may actually be the rare female tenor going by everyone singing each part together. Still sang the alto part since I didn’t know women could be on men’s parts (and vice versa. A guy sang soprano for the song Carol of the Bells, though he wasn’t going to sing that high)
  • A week later, the choir (including me) performed Carol of the Bells
  • I have always been a performer, so it’s great to be back into the performing world

I also tried a fancy ham called prosciutto!

Barrier to trying prosciutto: Prosciutto is a ham and I don’t like ham.

Why I tried prosciutto: I didn’t know what it was until I put it on my plate during the appetizer time for a holiday party and when Franklin told me what it was, I didn’t want to put it back on the tray.

My thoughts on prosciutto:

  • It smelled odd
  • It was okay for a few bites
  • It’s ham. Why did I try this? Bad idea, me. But I made up for it by eating all the pepper jack cheese that was there. I love pepper jack cheese.

And to finish things off, I was a guest writer for Black Girl Does Grad School!

There was no barrier to writing the guest post, but I planned to write about my experience in my first semester of grad school. I finally had something to write, but I decided to wait until after I was done with the semester to write it.

My thoughts on being a guest writer:

  • Getting to at least 500 words was the hard part
  • Giving myself time to write my entry helped me to come up with things to add and edit since I was writing during breaks from studying
  • I liked seeing my writing on the internet on a site other than this blog

So that’s it for my 2018 Try Something New pledge. I will soon write up my thoughts on the pledge.

Self-Reflection · Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Things in November

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 fiancé 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 officially call this the “New Restaurant Month” because all new things I tried involved going to new restaurants. First off, I finally went to Hard Rock Cafe!

Barriers to going to Hard Rock Cafe: I have wanted to go there for years. Honest. I was supposed to go there for my childhood friend and her husband’s combined bachelor/bachelorette party back in 2016 (read my wedding review here). However, whomever was supposed to make the reservations failed to do it in time and we had to have the party elsewhere. Over a year later, I wanted to go there, but then went to an expensive sushi place instead.

Why I finally made it to Hard Rock Cafe: I told Franklin we had to go there since we were nearby for a bridal expo.

My thoughts on Hard Rock Cafe: Eh, probably not going to go back. I asked for no onions on my burger and I still got it. It wasn’t the waiter’s fault, honestly. I think the cook tried to sneak onions in my burger since it was underneath the cheese. Maybe next time, I’ll get the mac, chicken, and cheese. Despite the insane amount of calories in it.

I also went to a new Asian restaurant!

Barrier to going to that Asian restaurant: It didn’t exist until two years ago, but I never got the chance to go there.

Why I went to the Asian restaurant: I originally wasn’t planning on going to dinner after the exploring membership class at my UU church, but Franklin didn’t have a Skype meeting with his classmates, so we went.

My thoughts on the Asian restaurant: Best. Spicy tuna roll. Ever! I also loved the intimate atmosphere in there, despite it seeming like an open space. And even though the price of the food there is more expensive than the nearest sushi place from where I live, the price for two people wasn’t as expensive for some reason. Yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either. I’ll hopefully return there.

The third restaurant I went to is Olive Garden!

Barrier to going to Olive Garden: I got it mixed up with another Olive restaurant that I went to in years past that I didn’t like.

Why I went to Olive Garden: It was one of the restaurants with something for free for veterans and I didn’t want to go to the same places we went to last year (Sorry Friendly’s and Red Robin). Franklin’s a veteran, so date night!

My thoughts on Olive Garden: Despite it being crowded, our food came out fast! Even our waitress was surprised! Tip: Olive Garden is one of the many restaurants where you can put yourself on an online wait list and you won’t have to wait as long. You still have to wait, but if I didn’t check online, we would have been standing there for 35-40 minutes instead of 10 minutes.

I also went to a steakhouse for dessert, but to keep it brief, it was for the free veterans’ dessert (and my paid dessert). The desserts were big and we got full before we could finish. We wished to just share one dessert.

And finally, I went to an Italian restaurant that also has the name “Olive” in it!

Barrier to going to an Italian restaurant: I just don’t go to any very often.

Why I went to the “Olive” restaurant: Earlier this month, Franklin and I went to a consultation for the photography and videography service. We went out to dinner after that.

My thoughts on the “Olive” restaurant: For a restaurant that’s connected to a hotel, it wasn’t small. It wasn’t big either, but we weren’t cramped. Also, the chicken tasted so fresh! It’s too far for me to go back there unless I’m in the area, though.

Total Restaurant Visit Count: 5.

Next month’s Try Something New will be my last Try Something New post since this was for 2018 only. After next month’s post, I will be talking about why I decided to try at least one new thing each month and reflecting on what I did. I will also announce what I will be doing for 2019 since I already decided what I will be doing then.

I must also tell you that I will be spending a lot of time studying for my mid-December final exams. Just like before, this means I may not make many blog posts. If I do, they were probably pre-written in any spare time I have and are scheduled to automatically post.

Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Thing in October

Sorry this was posted late! I’ve been busy with school. I got over 100% on one of my midterms!

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 fiancé 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 didn’t get to do much because of being busy with stuff, but I ate my very first corn dog!

Barrier to eating a corn dog: I never ate hot dogs much, so why would I eat a hot dog surrounded by batter and on a stick?

Why I wanted to try a corn dog: Dad was taking me home from my midterm exam (driving anxiety causes me to not be able to drive on Interstates. Don’t judge) and he was very hungry. We went to Sonic and I decided to try a corn dog.

My thoughts on the corn dog:

  • It was crispy
  • How do you eat a corn dog once you start seeing the stick? I ended up eating around it like I had corn on the cob on a stick and was turning the stick. Or do you bite into the corn dog and drag your head up so you can let the meat and breading slide off the stick?
  • I have had… I lost count of how many hot dogs I had.
Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Things in September

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 fiancé 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 went to my first bridal expo this month.

Barrier to going to a bridal expo: Well… you know… you kind of have to be engaged to go to one. Though this bridal expo allowed couples who were considering getting engaged. I don’t think all bridal expos allow that, though.

Why I went to the bridal expo: Franklin found a flyer at a bridal boutique near my hairstylist. He bought the tickets before we got engaged.

My thoughts on the bridal expo:

  • It was a waste of time and money
  • It was held outdoors under some tents and a barn
    • This wouldn’t be too bad if it wasn’t raining
  • Speaking of the rain and it being outdoors, the parking lot was on grass and literally every car had to be pushed out onto the road since every car was getting stuck in the mud
  • Most of the fashion show models were white. I think there was only one guy who was possibly Indian and maybe an Asian woman? I say maybe because it looked like her makeup made her look… not Asian
    • As much as I don’t want to return to that hillbilly trashy yeehaw bridal expo, I’m going to try to be a model for it so there can be black representation
  • At least I wasn’t the only black person there like mom thought I was going to be… (it was located in a town that’s not known for diversity)
  • I’m going to a classier, indoor bridal expo in November

I also tried a cake pop at the aforementioned bridal show!

Barrier to trying a cake pop: I wanted to try it a few years ago at a Relay for Life event, but I only had $5 with me and I already used $2 so my friend could put someone in a makeshift jail for charity.

Why I tried a cake pop: A table advertising a bakery had some to give away for free.

My thoughts on the cake pop:

  • It was hard to bite (I guess I wasn’t expecting so much frosting)
  • It honestly wasn’t that great and I even gave the rest of it to Franklin

The same day as the bridal show, after getting my socks muddy and wet, that’s night’s dinner was French Creole food! I went to a new restaurant and tried some jambalaya for the first time! Credit goes to Franklin for picking that night’s dinner.

Barrier to eating French Creole Food: French Creole food usually has seafood in it. I don’t eat seafood unless it’s salmon.

Why I tried jambalaya: I don’t have to have seafood in it. I got to choose my own protein (chicken).

My thoughts on the jambalaya:

  • It was a huge portion! I already knew right away that it was coming home with me to share with dad.
  • I wasn’t expecting an entire piece of boneless, skinless chicken. What do you mean I have to cut it myself?!
  • Oh boy, that rice was spicy. Luckily it wasn’t “my tonsils are burning!” spicy like the spicy chicken soup at Carrabba’s.
  • I wasn’t a fan of the andouille sausage. After looking up pictures of jambalaya, I conclude that my sausage should have been cut thicker.

I had another new food last weekend at a crab feast, or maybe a food type: Deer meat

Barrier to trying deer meat: My family doesn’t eat deer meat and mom freaks out whenever you mention eating deer.

Why I tried deer meat: A burger is a burger and I had to eat SOMETHING at the crab feast since I don’t eat crabs (Story time! I used to love crabs, according to my dad. However, one day when I was two years old, my mom walked by while we were eating crabs and said “Eww!” I stopped eating crabs then and I’m too scared to try crabs again because I’m sure my lack of exposure will cause an allergic reaction).

My thoughts on the deer meat:

  • While the burger was pretty good, there were onions mixed into the burger and I got worried because the last time I ate onions, I felt sick for two hours. Thank goodness nothing happened
  • I loved the deer steaks. I’d have it again, but dad told me that you have to be very careful not to overcook deer meat since deer meat is a lean meat.

Due to white men not giving women of color credit for an idea, I will no longer be walking in the Light the Night charity. Even though it was MY idea to do this charity walk, Franklin still made himself team captain and no one is donating to my page. Only his page. If you would still like to donate, you can go to this link.

Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Thing in August

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 didn’t do many new things in August. I’ve been busy preparing for grad school (my math class was an undergraduate course), but still made time to do one new thing. Expect the rest of this year to not have many new things that I try thanks to grad school and the beginning stages of wedding planning.

So the new thing I did this month was going to a new restaurant.

Barrier to going to new restaurants: I think we went over this many times on this blog, but for my new readers, I am a picky eater. Due to society’s negative views on adult picky eaters, I am trying to become less picky. However, I have a fear of going to new restaurants because there is a possibility that there won’t be anything on the menu that I can eat. This has happened before (but with a familiar restaurant) when they ran out of my only “safe” food, and it was horrible.

Why I decided to try this new restaurant: Franklin and I have started a tradition that whenever we go to church, if it’s not a potluck day (which is only from October to June), we will go out to lunch after service. This restaurant was nearby, so we went there. It is a requirement that we go somewhere nearby because I don’t want to leave my car in the church parking lot for too long. I don’t trust any cop to not tow my car if no other car is at church.

My thoughts on the restaurant:

  • It’s the only place where a veggie burger isn’t obscenely spicy (earlier this year, I had a veggie burger so spicy that I could only finish it once it’s been chilled in a refrigerator)
  • I’d go here again (yeah, not much to say about this place)
Self-Reflection · Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Things in July

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 did a lot in the first week, so I had to make sure not to do too many new things. We still have five months left to go this year! I’m going to format this a little differently than I have in the past so it won’t be too long.

First, I went to the gym on the military base where I work.

Barrier to going to the on-base gym: Before starting grad school, I was doing kickboxing three times per week. I felt like if I went to the gym as well, I’d be overtraining and overtraining increases your risk of injuries.

Why I went to the on-base gym: I was off from work and school on July 4th and I knew that no one was going to be opening up the kickboxing gym that day. Since I knew it wouldn’t be crowded at the on-base gym (it is crowded at the beginning of each week and I know this based on seeing the parking lot when I’d go to the on-base library to study), I wanted to try it out with my boyfriend.

My thoughts on the on-base gym:

  • They have many different rooms for exercise.
    • There’s a gymnasium with a few pieces of equipment and some stationary and recumbent bicycles
    • There’s a room for free weights (I’m in that area most often. I want to get stronger)
    • There’s a room for the Nautilus weight machines (some of the machines are made differently than the Precor weight machines I am used to at my undergraduate university)
    • There’s a big open area for cardio equipment
    • There’s a smaller room with some cardio equipment, some kettlebells, a sit-up bench and a lower back extension bench
  • I like having more options for exercise machines and weights compared to the small selection in the kickboxing gym
  • I now like using the barbell for bench pressing more than using the smith machine at the kickboxing gym (got to work on lowering both arms at once. Sometimes one arm goes lower than the other)
  • I need a spotter to help me get the barbell on and off the squat rack
  • No, I have never bench pressed or barbell squatted before. Yes, I liked doing those.

I also went some place new (and ate a new food there too)! I went to a Korean restaurant for lunch one day.

Barriers to eating at a Korean restaurant: I’ve mentioned this many times, but I’m a picky eater. Also, I thought there weren’t any Korean restaurants nearby. The nearest place I was aware of is nearly an hour away from me.

Why I decided to go to a Korean restaurant: Some co-workers from my new job invited me to join them.

Note: This is a very big deal because I did not have access to a computer at work at the time so I didn’t get a chance to look at the menu ahead of time. I always, and I mean ALWAYS, look at the menu ahead of time before going to any restaurant. I even look at the menu if I’ve been to the restaurant before because there have been times when a safe menu option was removed from the menu.

My thoughts on the Korean restaurant:

  • We waited a long time in line to even place our order at the counter and no one was in front of us (and I think I know why… come on, it’s 2018…)
  • Mandu is delicious! (The menu says “mandoo”, but it seems like Google changes it to mandu)
  • I liked how the menu (which is on the wall) has a picture of each food item which made it so much easier for me to choose

Oops, we did a lot this month, but it’s not even over yet! Now for the unplanned parts of this month since I didn’t want to do too much. This past Sunday, I went to a different church. Wait, Diary of Self, didn’t you mention at least once that you’re an atheist? (Wait, did I mention that?) Yes, but it was a Unitarian Universalist church, where anyone is welcome regardless of beliefs.

Barrier to going to a Unitarian Universalist (UU) church: I wanted to try out this church three years ago, but I became an atheist after finding out that dad needed a hip replacement surgery. Mom prayed for that to not happen, which made me realize that prayer is ineffective and any God that exists wouldn’t let bad things happen. Please do not try to make me not be an atheist. Any comments with a religious debate or attempts to convert WILL BE DELETED.

Why I wanted to try out a UU church: There is serious talks about Franklin and I getting married. He picked up the ring earlier this month. Despite my non-religious views, I felt like Franklin viewed going to church as an important thing for married couples to do. We are an interracial couple so Franklin would stick out like a sore thumb being the only white person in the black churches I go to. I didn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb being the only black person in an all-white church. UU churches are also welcoming inclusive churches, so I knew we’d feel welcome as an interracial couple and I’d feel welcome as a bisexual black woman.

My thoughts about the UU church:

  • Many people greeted us both before and after service
  • There was no mentions of God, so people won’t feel weird if they are not Christian
  • There was coffee, tea, and light foods after service. From October through June, the second Sunday will have a potluck
  • The covers for each program (they call it Order of Service) are separate from that week’s program since the covers are reused
  • I liked today’s service. I’d want to go a few more times before I make my decision
  • This isn’t exactly about the church, but I felt very comfortable not having to go to church wearing a dress. I will wear a dress if I absolutely have to, but it doesn’t feel truly “me”

And for my last unexpected new thing, I went to a jazz concert. The jazz concert is a part of a summer concert series in the next town over.

Barrier to going to the summer concert series: There was nothing of interest for the concerts. I usually see bluegrass being performed for the concert series.

Why I decided to go to the jazz concert: Someone at church told Franklin and I about the jazz concert after service and Franklin remembered that I said I wanted to go to a jazz event (awww, he remembered. His memory is getting better).

My thoughts on the jazz concert:

  • Out of everyone there including the band, I was the only person there who isn’t white. It made me so uncomfortable that I don’t want to go to another summer concert series (though I know that town is 95% white when I checked years ago).
    • I was getting a lot of stares too
  • Most of the people in attendance were middle-aged or elderly
    • Probably explains all the stares. Back in their time, interracial relationships were a no-no
  • I seriously couldn’t get past the first bullet point. I’ve become very aware of social injustices so what made me feel fine in the past makes me feel scared of my existence now.

So since I did so many new things (even stuff that I briefly mentioned in bullet points), let’s do a count of the new things I did!

New places I’ve been to: 3

New foods I tried: 1

New activities: 3 (I’m counting the new exercises at the gym as new activities)