Monday, July 2, 2012


Considering this Wednesday is Independence Day, I decided that independence would be an appropriate theme for this week’s blog, specifically my independence and how I have become more independent since I moved to Washington D.C.  I never realized how dependent I was on other people until they weren’t there.  For example, if I wanted to go somewhere at home (Michigan), I asked my parents or other family members to drive me.  A restricted driver’s license that prevented me from driving on expressways and more than 15 miles away from my house at night created challenges with transportation.  Now that I am in Washington D.C. and my personal chauffeurs, as I jokingly call them, are hundreds of miles away, I am forced to figure out the best route to where I want to go by myself and the best form of transportation. AND I don’t have my mom here yelling, “Early is on time and on time is late. We need to leave now!” Thus, I set several alarms on my phone every night to ensure that I wake up with plenty of time to get ready and arrive at work or wherever else I need to be early.  What I miss the most is having a good set of eyes with me to read the street signs.  Before I came here, I was too stubborn to walk over to a stranger and ask for directions.  After about a week in D.C., I was able to nonchalantly say to a random person passing by, “Hey, I’m visually impaired and I have no idea where I’m going since I can’t see the street signs. Can you tell me what street I’m on and where I need to go?” (Perhaps the extreme heat helped me lose my stubbornness pretty quickly.  Wandering around aimlessly in 90 degree weather was definitely not a good idea.) Overall, it feels great to not have to worry about transportation, and I am already dreading my return to the “Motor City” because restricted licenses make driving cars difficult for persons with visual impairments.

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