Day 12 at GDB

Um.. what?! It’s already Day 12 at GDB?! Let me start out by telling you at the beginning I thought these two weeks were going to be crazy long. Here are my reasons:

  • I do NOT do well with waking up early, much less being fully functioning from about 6:45pm-9:30pm
  • I’m away from my boyfriend, best friends, and family and I’m extremely close to them
  • I’m still very much grieving the loss of my Daddy so it’s hard to be away from those close to me for extended periods of time
  • The amount of exercise I’ve done these past two weeks is SIGNIFICANTLY more than I’ve ever been used to… ever!
  • Upon first impression most of the students were quite a bit older than me except for one person, they were all re-trains except for me, and I really wasn’t sure how we were going to relate

So now let me address each of those:

  • I still am NOT a morning person but I have proven to myself that I can function at a reasonable level in the mornings. I have also proven to myself and everybody around me the benefit of me napping AND/OR getting Starbucks. My Guide Dog instructor found this and sent me this.. it should convey my point quite nicely:

    It's black text, in all capital letters, on a yellow background that reads "Mornings really should be moved to a more convenient time of the day."
    It’s black text, in all capital letters, on a yellow background that reads “Mornings really should be moved to a more convenient time of the day.”
  • I’ve been able to Skype Steven once, talk to my best friends all the time, and Skype my Mom and text my sister often. That’s been wonderful. I had one day that I missed them pretty bad but that ties into the next one.
  • I had one day that I was missing Dad really bad, it was the day after Dad’s birthday. For some reason I didn’t get really upset ON his birthday itself but the day after and I really wanted to be with my family on that day
  • My legs are definitely definitely more toned. I’m liking this. I don’t think I’ll have quite this level of activity at school because there really is simply not the time and I need more time for sanity once school and student organizations start back up but I will definitely keep it up. Makiko shall be accompanying me to the gym once I figure out where I’m going to fit that into my schedule.
  • I have gotten really close to one particular female student, close to another, and really like the other 4 students. We’ve had a great training together and now we’re kind of bummed that we’re all spread out all over the US. We have students in every time zone.

Breakfast: Waffles & Sausage
Lunch: Chicken salad with dressing
Dinner: Risotto with roasted vegetables (DELICIOUS!)

Our chef is absolutely amazing. On Sunday she is packing me a to-go breakfast and a to-go lunch since I’ll be flying all day. She’s made absolutely amazing meals and been wonderful about ensuring I do not have any grapes, bananas, or mayo in anything. One day somebody else prepared the meal though and put raisins in. Everybody gave me so much heck about it for the longest time (well, one student still does haha) because I picked all the raisins out. But most meals are prepared by the head chef and it’s honestly a strong motivation for waking up in the morning or from naps.. although I know I have to anyway it’s a great motivation.

Today’s activities: (I’m exhausted tonight so bullet points make this post a little easier, haha):

  • Wakeup, feed, water, relieve
  • Breakfast
  • Waterfront: Our instructor wanted us to have a new second route and wanted to just give us directions at the beginning and have us do it independently. Guess what? My partner and I did it each independently.. yahoo! We went to the beautiful waterfront and walked along this path and then when we got to a certain set of benches we told our dogs to find the bench. We did most of the route to the waterfront together and then we split up at one point and then found our way to the benches independently. We both are around other guide dog users a lot so we needed to learn how to do “doubles.” At the waterfront we took pictures with our instructor, dealt with dog distractions and people distractions, learned how to navigate large pathways with our dogs, etc. It was awesome. On the way back my partner wanted to stop at a tshirt store but it was too far away for me so my instructor offered for me to go 3/4 of the way there and hang out at a Starbucks.. heck yeah!
  • Starbucks: I got an amazing Frappucino and then just hung out. It was dark so I had to ask where a few things were to the staff and this one guy goes “Over there,” to which I reply, “I’m visually impaired and it’s dark in here, could you please tell me where over there is?” And he goes ‘That way!” and points. I kind of could tell that time but then gently and semi humorously reminded him that he should give verbal directions instead of gestures to a visually impaired person with/without a guide dog. Then we made it past an insane amount of people and sat down, texted, called Mom, and just relaxed. This was my first entirely independent outing with Makiko. The other outings we were mostly independent but we had an instructor in sight. This time not so much. We did great though so that was a huge confidence booster!
  • Lunch
  • Relieving: I gotta start getting in the habit of bringing poop bags with me everywhere. I bring them in my backpack but often leave my backpack at the center or in the car. Luckily either my partner or instructor always has one. However, I figure most times (99.9% when I leave my apartment I will have my backpack with me so that’s okay.. it’s the other outings like when I’m in Dallas with my boyfriend or family that I’d be in trouble if I didn’t bring a poopy bag)
  • Target: Oh boy was this an adventure. Well, let’s just say my partner is a shopper, me not so much. I wanted to shop for a few things for gifts but nothing huge. She has young children so she ended up in the baby/toddler section when the instructors let us go off and hang for a bit. Yeah, she was there quite a while. I also looked at bean bags, of course, because that is like must for Makiko and I but of course I didn’t buy one because I couldn’t bring it home with me on the plane. We had a good time at Target.
  • Woods/Forest trail: Outside of the Target there was this path to a forest area and it was BEAUTIFUL. I’m still waiting for the pics from my instructor from that outing but I’ll post them soon. We walked pretty fast and had the experience with bridges and drop offs, etc. It was awesome.
  • Walgreens: We wanted to stop at Walgreens to get something but then it ended up being at a different Walgreens so we’ll go there tomorrow hopefully.
  • Relax: We then went back to the dorm and relaxed for a bit. I showed my instructor a certain poorly planned intersection by my apartments and she recommended I write a letter to the city explaining how dangerous it is. I will do that! After that I relaxed for a bit and then decided I needed to get some student organization stuff done so I did.
  • Feed, water, relieve
  • Dinner
  • Talk with Puppy Raiser: My puppy raiser called me tonight! We talked for almost 40 minutes and it was terrific. We have been emailing each other a ton but we hadn’t actually talked on the phone. After our call she emailed me to tell me that although it was evident in the emails how much I love Makiko, she really could tell on the phone. I thought that was really sweet! She also shared with me a little piece of information about puppy raising. She said one of her worst fears is that when the puppy goes to a new home, that new home won’t love her/him as much as she did but she has been calmed since she can tell I love Makiko to death. Isn’t that sweet? I haven’t asked her explicit permission to say her name on blog yet, that’s why I’m still being vague.
  • Night Route: My primary instructor wasn’t going to be here tonight so I was very hesitant about the night route. However, since I have RP I figured it would be very beneficial since the way I behave during the day is different at night, residual vision wise. We did great and everything was just fine. It’s really amusing though, daytime or night, Makiko really has a thing about storm drains. I don’t always see them but I know that when she takes this sort of leap off the curb we were passing a storm drain. Haha. It was a huge relief that it went so well.
  • Relieve
  • Relax
  • Blog/Talk to friends: It was a great day, although a busy one. Tonight was our last super intense route. Tomorrow morning we do the park and the mall and then in the afternoon we meet with the staff to go over our going home packet. I’m super excited about that. Then we prepare for graduation. Saturday morning we eat and also prepare for graduation and then Saturday afternoon is graduation. In the evening we’ll do something fun, not exactly sure what yet, because all of us stay overnight except for one girl who sadly goes back Saturday night. She is the one I’m closest to so thats kind of a bummer but ah well. After we graduate though we can of course go off campus all we want with our dogs, whereas up until today we had to leave our dogs at home if we went off campus without an instructor. Sunday I fly home and I get to introduce my baby to my Mom, my great-aunt, and my boyfriend! I can’t wait!!

You know when you’re a parent of a young baby and you go through the debate about whether you should wake them up to feed them right now or whether you should have someone wait in the car if they are asleep with them instead of bringing them in the store, etc? I kind of am getting that way with Makiko. I sat down for a few minutes and then was going to take her outside to relieve and poor baby is SOUND asleep. I really don’t want to wake her but we haven’t had any accidents yet and I don’t want tonight to be the first so I will go relieve her now. Pictures and then good night! 🙂

Makiko is laying on the ground on my side of the car and her left is beneath my leg and then another dog decided he wanted on my side of the car too and was going to put his head on top of my leg.. well I can tell you that my leg was definitely secure in that spot and kept very warm. 🙂
My instructor, me, and Makiko at the waterfront
I know this is a bit of an odd picture. I was sitting there next to this dog though and I realized that this looked a little odd. I asked the instructor and she said it was normal (his pads are just spread more apart).
I really don’t look very good in this picture because I was mid-word I think and my eyes are closed but this is us working doubles.
Makiko and a classmate’s dog laying on each other under the table while we ate dinner.

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Jessica N and Makiko

Jessica is a proud Texan. She graduated in 2014 with her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling and is now employed. She is visually impaired and has a retinal disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Originally Jessica started blogging about everything from being diagnosed with the disease to where she is now, almost 9 years later. Then, Jessica went to Guide Dogs for the Blind and was blessed with Makiko, her new guide dog. Now, her blog "The Way Eye See The World" is about everything related to visual impairments, including guide dogs.

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