Living the gluten-free good life in D.C.

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June 24th, 2008 by Mandy

Well, I guess I’m no longer a DCGlutie. I just moved into an apartment in Evanston, IL and yesterday started classes at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. I’m settling in nicely, and I’m very excited for the opportunity I have here. And excited for the gluten-free pizza down the street from my place! Yesterday I sat through orientation, and they handed me the schedule for the next year of my life. I met my new classmates and today I’m ready to start the first day of class.

While no longer in DC, I’m definitely still a glutie. During yesterday’s orientation, the offer of “free lunch” made me consider the etiquette of refusing a free meal. It sounds easy enough, but when you’re handed a sandwich, what is the proper way of saying “no”? I’m sure what I did is definitely not the way you’re supposed to handle this type of situation.

We broke for lunch, and they herded us into a small room full of box lunches. The box contained a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a bag of chips and a cookie. I remembered what happened when I visited for the Open House and was presented with this box. I opened it up to eat the fruit and the chips, only to realize the chips (Lay’s BBQ) were not safe. I had an orange and two Diet Cokes and was starving an hour later. I was too hungry to try to do that again, so I quickly grabbed an admissions person to ask where I could find food. I said, “I have a wheat allergy.” He said, “Oh, I don’t think they’re all on wheat.” I said, “No, I still can’t eat them. Where can I buy a salad or something?” He directed me in the right direction, and I set off across campus to find salad.

After I had it, I didn’t think it would be right to walk in with a different meal, so I sat down and wolfed down the salad as quickly as possible. I ran back in the room with a water and a bag of chips. A professor joked that I was late. I sat down, and then someone said, “Ok, let’s get started with our presentations.” What? Apparently, while I was gone, everyone had done a “Getting-to-know-each-other” exercise where everyone was partnered up, and each person had to introduce the person they interviewed. I panicked. I started sweating and wondering what I should do when it came to me. I looked at the door, but it was closed, and I would have had to squeeze past too many people to get out. That would have just made things more awkward. Then I thought, “Well, I’ll just say, I can’t eat sandwiches, so I had to leave.” But I didn’t feel comfortable telling all these strangers that much about me.

Suddenly, it was my turn, so I stood up and said, “I had to run an errand, and I missed this whole thing, so I’ll, uh, just present myself.” Everyone laughed, and I rambled off my name, course of study, and fun fact. I felt like I’d dodged a bullet. I was relieved it was over, but I felt like I’d backed down from an opportunity to really tell them about myself. Eh, oh well. They’ll get to know me in time.

That’s all for now, but I hope to continue contributing to the site about all things “glutie,” even if they’re not all “DC.” Cheers!

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