Thursday, February 16

Today in Immersion

Greetings. Here's the news of today.

This morning, I met with my O&M (orientation and mobility) instructor, which for those that don't know, its the "cane travel teacher." Anyway, she had a couple of hours free and had scheduled me in for this morning, so we could have some personal work time. Which I very much appreciate. If there's anything that I know I could benefit from in my immersion training, its learning the layout and how to get around Austin. Today, as in several past trips, we went to my neighborhood and walked around some of the streets, locating places and practicing street crossings. I mention all this because I learned where a health or organic food store, called Sun Harvest Grocery, is located near my apartment. This morning I learned where it was, and this evening after I got home and fed Tony and took him out, I went to Sun Harvest to pick up a few essentials--all on my own!! There are several turns in the route over there, but all in all, its about 2 or 3 blocks or so. That felt real good. On the way there, I was talking with my friend Heather from Dallas on my cell phone. I really haven't shopped before at many health food stores so I'm not sure if this is the standard or if Sun Harvest stands out among them. I'm thinking their selection and variety is the standard, as far as having lots of health food and not many "regular recognizable" brands of things. They are kind of a mini-grocery store, where you can get milk, frozen foods, a few ice creams, cereal, and other things. They even have a bakery. I didn't explore that since it was in the evening and I was ready to get back home and put my feet up.

Austin has been and will be different, from Dallas, for me as far as doing errands. In Dallas, I had several people that "helped" me do my errands. Here, I don't know anyone, or anyone sighted anyway. I'm starting to get to know a few people, but not like in Dallas. I mention all this to say that I'll be getting back to doing things and going places on my own, because I have to. If I don't, then it doesn't get done. I flourish in places with good layouts and bus systems though, such as Austin and Denver. Going to Sun Harvest this afternoon reminded me of that freedom of travel and independence I had back in college and in Denver when I was at the Colorado Center for the Blind. I think I'm going to like this kind of freedom, :)

I'm experiencing that freedom in other ways as well, like in my daily living class this morning after mobility. Today I was going to make macaroni and cheese, which I successfully did. That gave me a little anxiety, especially when bringing the pot to boil, before I put the noodles in, since I had the usual fear of burning myself. I learned some cool nonvisual techniques though, such as using a long handled fork or other cooking utinsil, to help center the pot on the burner, instead of touching the burner and possibly burning myself if it was on. As always though, the best part was doing the taste test afterward. I will be making other things in daily living too, such as chicken salad, pancakes, and more. It reminds me of when I used to cook in Colorado, and I'm beginning to remember how to do some of this. The big thing though is that after making the mac and cheese today, I feel like I can make it on my stove in my apartment, and that's another part of the freedom I mentioned above.

This afternoon was spent at Lowes, looking at cabinets, washers and dryers, and buying several screw drivers and a good looking plastic toolbox to put them in. I'll probably get other tools later, but only when I learn how to use them and have a need for them.

Over all, it's been a great day. For much of my immersion training thus far, I've been busy, taking one thing at a time, figuring out where things and places are, and basically getting the lay of the land. However, now that I'm nearing the end of my second of six weeks, I'm starting to relax and enjoy the training, as many of my coworkers have been telling me that I would.

I still feel that pride of working full time, much less as an instructor (sort of), when I feel my ID card that hangs around my neck. Every so often, when I get caught up in the tasks or classes that I'm doing, I'll reach down and feel the ID card, and then be reminded of that pride and satisfaction of working where I do.


  1. Hello Wayne,
    I really like your blog. I have one too. Check it out
    You can also
    e-mail me

  2. Dianne Merritt8:18 AM

    I love reading about your getting settled in Austin and am very proud of you!