Monday, September 29, 2014

First weeks in Pensacola

I was nervous to come to Pensacola.  If I had to think of a US city to live in that was completely different from any other experience that I have ever had, Pensacola would be it.  This isn't the first time I've lived on my own, but when I did it was in the city in Washington DC and then Alexandria, VA.  While Alexandria was similar to Pensacola in some ways, but it was different in more.  There was public transportation, "fast food" that chopped up salad to your satisfaction and there were 24-hour grocery stores.  Those are the only things I miss, other than my former roommate and her dog.

A lot of people have asked me how my move went.  It went great! Peter and his brother Michael picked me up from the airport even though Peter tried to fake me out and say he wasn't going to be there because he had class.  But he was and I knew he would be.  The next few days were kind of blur because of sleep deprivation and sheer joy that I had actually made it.

We went to dinner by the beach for Peter's birthday.
 I know that I unpacked all of my stuff and went grocery shopping like nobody's business.  I expected there to be more vegan options than there were but I'm not complaining! I got vegan cheese and alfalfa sprouts! Also I bought more bags of Gardein and Beyond Meat than I would like to admit.  Also, who knew that there were like 40 different Amy's frozen meals?? The commissary back in Naples only has like five.  I love frozen meals.  I know that they are not great for you because they are high in sodium but I've been trying to eat them in moderation.

Because I don't have a car or a job and I usually finish up my online course work within the first two or three days of the week all I've been doing lately is cooking dinner and keeping stuff clean (who would have thought?? me... clean).

One of my new roomies
The amount of fast food here astounds me.  There is a quarter-mile stretch of road here where there is a Waffle House at the start of it, a Denny's, a McDonalds, a PF Changs, a Hardees, a Taco Bell and then another Waffle House at the end of it.  The quarter-mile stretch is followed by countless more just like it.  I understand the need for a takeout meal.  People have jobs and families and not enough time.  Maybe it's because I've been out of the country for so long, but as an outsider looking in, this shouldn't be normal.

You can get 20 chicken McNuggets for $5.  You can get a full meal for $5 from Krystal Burger.  Meanwhile a head of organic broccoli is $4.  The company logos are propped up proudly so that people driving can see from far away but it just embarrasses me.  Strip malls have four different restaurants/fast food places to choose from so that you can stuff your face while you take a break from spending your money on useless shit you don't need.

It's really frustrating.  Everyone is HEAVY.  Not everyone is obese like when they depict Americans in political cartoons.  I understand the whole "health at every weight" and anti-fat shaming thing but honestly, it's not natural and the fact that it's become normal scares me.  I swear Peter and I were at the mall the other day and the line for Cinnabon consisted of five people that honestly should not have been eating Cinnabon.  It's your body you can do with it what you want and be cripplingly unhealthy but I pay taxes and it unnerves me that money that could be going to a cause that I'm passionate about is instead going to pay for the diabetes medication of someone who just loves Cinnabon so much that they can't stop.  When did people get so lazy that Cinnabon is an acceptable afternoon snack? Eat some carrots for God's sake.

MEANWHILE ... In other news.
I made my first veggie burgers ever.  After being a vegetarian for 11 years and then switching to vega, you would have thought that I would have done this sooner.  Nope.  They always intimidated me.

I chose a super easy one from Pinterest of course.  Emphasis on the "super easy".  I didn't even have to grate the zucchini because I used my Vegetti, which makes noodles out of vegetables.  Get your own HERE.  It's literally one of the best purchases I've ever made.

Check these out!
Get the recipe for the veggie burgers HERE.  They were so easy to make and have fun flavors.  They have peanut butter, cilantro, oats, chickpeas and red onions in them.  I can't believe that I have been spending so much money on the frozen ones when I could have been making them all this time! We also made sweet potato fries, which Peter cut because I hate cutting sweet potatoes.

Check out that concentration.
Last but not least, I chopped up an avocado, a few tomatoes and a cucumber and doused them in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and called it a salad.  Not a bad dinner!  I've been making a lot of stir fries because they're fun but I really need a wok.  I can't believe I don't have one.  If someone doesn't give me one for my birthday then I'll just get one for myself I guess haha.

I miss Naples a little bit though.  Mostly I miss the food and the lack of driving rules but I also miss all of the CULTURE.  I don't think that's the right word that I'm looking for, or maybe it's just been used in that way that it has another meaning.  I miss walking by castles that are hundreds of years old and occasionally driving over cobblestone.  Before I left, Mandy, Erika and I had a marathon four hour lunch at la Regina Margherita right in front of the Egg castle downtown.  It's weird how we sat there for three and a half hours and no one cared.  Certainly not something you can do here.

I miss this view.  
Long story short, I love Pensacola and I'm settling in nicely!  I miss Naples a little bit, but I feel like even if someone hated living in Naples passionately, they would still miss it a teeeeeeny bit if they left.

Well that's all for now!
More soon!

xo Katelyn

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