Sunday, December 28, 2008

Big Plans For My Blog In 2009!

I realize there has been no consistency in posting on my blog.  One of my resolutions for 2009 is to write at least three times a week, if not daily on my blog.  In any given day, there are probably close to a hundred things I could write about food allergies.  I've heard that it takes a month to create a habit, so I am hoping by the end of January, I will have created my new habit of writing daily on this blog!

Allergy Encounters While Traveling

Allergy Encounters- Istanbul, Turkey: From 9/23/08

- When I was in line going through security at the airport, I called back I gave a man named Jim, my e-mail address to get a travel card made in Turkish. It willl say all my allergies in Turkish.

- I am flying Luftansa. When I arrived at the gate, I requested a nut free flight. The man gave me a hard time at first, then went to ask the captain who told him they would still serve nuts (macadamia specifically).

- Sitting on the plane, I felt a bit uncomfortable around all the people eating dinner. I shyed away a little bit from the people next to me. When I was told they wouldn’t fly nut free, they asked how severe my allergy was, then started to suggest I find another way to travel. I hate when they do that. I had to turn the conversation around, so they would still let me fly and not feel like I was a liability. It can be uncomfortable and frustrating.

- No snack foods written in English at the airport in Frankfurt!

- 9/24/08 We went out to dinner in honor of my arrival in Istanbul at a restaurant on the top floor of a hotel. I was able to eat cucumber and tomato salad, which was just big pieces of these veggies.  They made me plain grilled chicken with rice pilaf.  It was very good, and once I tried a bite, I felt comfortable eating it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jobs & Reality Television

I was contemplating my lack of job situation over a hot chocolate at Starbucks today. It reminded me of how I could never work at Starbucks because of my allergies. There are nut coffees, nut drinks, nut desserts, and all of which I would likely be responsible to either make or touch if I were an employee. That is one difficulty with food allergies. It does cut down on some of the potential jobs I could get.

I have worked in restaurants as both a hostess and a server.  By doing this, I knew I was taking a risk.  I've worked at a breakfast diner, three Italian restaurants, and a burger type restaurant. The only place I served food was at two of the Italian restaurants.  I felt fairly comfortable working at these places because there were few or no nuts, and the only food I had to be careful of was fish.  I managed to do a fairly good job of not touching the foods I am allergic to. There were a few times I broke out in hives on my hands and neck, but nothing that greatly concerned me.  Having food allergies certainly doesn't make working in restaurants easy though.  I never made it well-known that I had food allergies while working at these establishments, because I didn't think managers would hire me, or want to have me continue working there. 
Although I have no intentions of becoming the next Top Chef on Bravo, that certainly would not have been a possibility either. However, participating in the Amazing Race may actually have been my calling. Unfortunately, due to the random clues involving food in places all around the world, I am afraid that may blow my possibility of a reality television career. I always thought I might be a good contestant for Real World because of my allergies. They haven’t had anyone on there with anaphylaxis. It can make life interesting to the outside observer I suppose. I'm sure they would create drama in some way. A roommate would probably complain about having separate dishes or having my own foods in the refrigerator. I can picture it now...

I would wake up one morning to find my entire stash of food mostly gone, and clearly picked through from my roommates who spent their night drinking, then came home, and ravaged through my food.

This scenario has actually happened to me before.  I was living on an island two summer's ago in the staff housing for my work with six other people.  We had one refrigerator to fit all of our food in.  I kept my food in a small blue cooler, in hopes that it would be left alone.  The non-refrigerator food I kept in my room.  Since there were so many of us all living together, I didn't trust the dishes or really anything to be safe or clean for my allergies.  I rewashed everything before I used it.  It was difficult to cook there, and I found myself eating sandwiches for both lunch and dinner.

One morning I woke up.  I remember being woken up quite a few times throughout the previous night from the noise that carried so well throughout the entire house.  I went for my usual run before work, then came back and was hungry.  I went into the fridge.  My cooler had clearly been raided through the night before.  The food was all touched and had to be thrown away.  The people I was living with, although they knew about my allergies, certainly did not "get it," or even care enough to try.    I ended up taking the small locks off my backpacking and having to lock up my food in the cooler.  I felt kind of ridiculous doing so, but food is expensive, and I didn't want to waste money replacing it everyday because of my roommates.  I also didn't want to worry that my food may not be safe for me to eat.  After that summer, I knew staff housing was certainly not the place for me.