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Adventures in Apartment Living: Part Two

Several weeks ago I shared how I recently moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Baltimore, Maryland where I am now living independently in my own apartment. As a blind teenager, I have had many different experiences while living on my own. Even though I am very independent and know how to take care of myself, I have still run into some trials and tribulations, as well as “blind moments”, while learning to live on my own.

When I originally moved to Baltimore in August, my mom prepared six weeks' worth of meals for me that she froze and brought with us when I moved in. I had a variety of meals ranging from salsa chicken to salmon to lasagna. All I had to do was heat up my meals on the stove, microwave, or oven.

Once my original supply of meals ran out, my mom and grandmother made the 12-hour drive from Atlanta to Baltimore with two coolers of food for me. They stocked my fridge and freezer with all kinds of new foods. My freezer was so full we had to make a contraption with a hair tie and command hook to hold it closed!

I was fairly confident in my cooking skills after my first six weeks of cooking. Even though I did leave the oven on for hours, I had not had any major mistakes in my meal prep. Maybe I got a little too confident in my skills, but over the last few weeks, I have had a few more mishaps in the kitchen.

Probably my biggest mistake or “blind moment” over the last several weeks was when I put was trying to cook chicken in the crockpot. I turned the crockpot on high to cook the chicken quickly. I knew that if I turned the dial on the crockpot all the way to the right it would cook on high. Well, several hours later I went to pull the chicken out of the crockpot and sit down for my dinner when I realized that my chicken was rubbery and not cooked. I FaceTimed my mom and she immediately spotted the problem. I had thought that there were only three settings on the crockpot, off, low, and high. Well, it turns out there is a fourth setting, warm. I had cooked my chicken on warm instead of high for the last five hours! Now I know that there are four settings on my crockpot and that if I turn the file all the way it will end up on warm and not high.

Another blunder that I recently made in the kitchen, was once again, with the crockpot. This time when I went to eat my dinner, it was still frozen! I knew that I had not put it on warm again because I was cooking my gumbo on low, but the gumbo was still frozen even after cooking for several hours. Once again, I FaceTimed my parents. My dad said that the crockpot was not on. It appeared that I had tripped the switch when I was plugging in the crockpot that morning. My dinner had never cooked since the outlet was turned off. My dad explained to me how to restart the outlet, and what would you know, the crockpot turned on! That night I had to order a pizza since my gumbo was still frozen.

Even though I have had a few “blind moments” in the kitchen, I still feel as if I am learning my way around a kitchen and how to live and cook independently. I am very thankful for the meals that my mom has prepared for me. This way, I’m not eating Raman noodles every night.

McClain Hermes is a Paralympian and World Champion who attends Loyola University Maryland. She has turned her disability of being legally blind into her ability in the pool. She holds over 20 American Records and has numerous international medals. At the age of 15, she was the youngest member of the 2016 USA Paralympic Team in Rio and competed in three swimming events. McClain competed in the 2017 Paralympic World Championship where she earned a gold medal and was named World Champion in the 400 Freestyle. She also earned two silver medals and two bronze medals at the 2017 World Championships. I’m 2018 and 2019 she won several more medals at the Pan Pacific Championships and span American Games. Her goal is to win a medal at the Paralympic Games. She is currently training for a chance to compete for Team USA at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. McClain has decided to continue her academic and athletic career at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. She is currently a sophomore at Loyola studying Communications with a focus in journalism.
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