yesterday i went out for coffee with someone who i hope will become a good friend. under normal circumstances, this would be nothing noteworthy. for me, though, this was huge.

my comfort zone usually ends about 3 feet from my nose. i like to go to the same stores and talk to the same friends and sleep in the same bed and have the same food in the fridge. i’m the nesting type who would rather organize my cupboards than go anywhere. i’m not a slave to routine, but i am most comfortable with things that are familiar.

i once went into a starbucks. the menu was indecipherable and i had no idea how everyone there seemed to just know what they wanted, and then order it in the most complicated way possible. i ended up leaving and feeling rather stupid about the whole experience. my husband would have just jumped in and ordered whatever he thought sounded good, and then he would have been ok with the results. in my ideal world, i would have looked up the starbucks menu at home. i would have researched each choice, and been absolutely clear on what the words meant. perhaps i even would have written down what i wanted so i would remember it when i got there. no joke.

just in case you are new to this blog, i will enlighten you about my coffee repertoire: i drink general foods international coffee at home (which may actually be called maxwell house now??? dunno- it will always be general foods to me…). when i order coffee out, it is a dunkin donuts coffee coolada. what do these two have in common? lots of sugar, lots of milky stuff, and a bit more sugar. they taste kind of like sweetened milk that has some coffee added. so, for me to go to a coffee house (that sounds so exotic and parisian, don’t you think?) was a jump into the deep end of the pool.

my new friend was great, and ordered me a latte. she didn’t even laugh when i added 5 or 6 sugar packets. the coffee was really pretty on top, and it was hot (at home i have gotten into the habit of drinking coffee when it’s lukewarm. i think it’s a mom thing…). it was nice- not too overpowering or bitter (yes, i tried it before i added sugar!)- sort of what i always imagined adult coffee would taste like. there were lots of eclectic people there, and they had groovy baked goods and a small cozy atmosphere. and they were all drinking coffee! (ok, i know that was probably obvious, but i don’t think i’ve ever been around that many people drinking coffee at once.) having coffee here is like a hobby, or a part-time job. i can imagine someone calling into their office and saying, “hey boss, i’m gonna be a little late today. my coffee drinking is taking longer than i expected.” and then the boss would say, “no problem. i know how time-consuming coffee can be. take your time.”

i came home and bragged to my teenagers that i had just successfully enjoyed my first adult beverage. we joked about that for a while, until it occurred to me that i was starting to sound like an alcoholic instead of a cool hip coffee drinker.

but, hold onto your seats, because the plot thickens.

i am also drinking tea here. cups and cups and cups of tea. my mother-in-law would tell me that what i am drinking is not actually tea, but an herbal concoction, but let’s call it tea for the sake of argument and my ego. i finished my box of tension tamer (ha! it’s true…), and last night i bought some mint and some lemon. i was tempted by apple cinnamon chamomile, but i was afraid i would taste the chamomile so i passed on it. yes, i do add about 3 tsp. to each cup, but i’m trying to wean down. i know that truly groovy people actually enjoy the taste of the tea, so i’m hoping to move in that direction.

and…drum roll please…

last night *h and i went out for indian food! i read a lot of indian novels, so i was familiar with some of the things on the menu, but for the most part i was kind of lost. *h and i each ordered different combination plates so we could taste more stuff. i went all out and got mine medium spicy (yum!). i didn’t obsess over what i was getting (not too much anyway)- and i figured i would just go with it and try whatever they brought (as long as there were no mushrooms in it. i still can’t reconcile the idea of eating fungus, and the texture of mushrooms really grosses me out…). and i did!

again, under normal circumstances, this would be nothing notable. most people, i think, probably live with this degree of risk in their lives and don’t even flinch. but for me, this was huge huge huge. i tasted everything on my plate, and everything on *h’s plate. some stuff was wow, some stuff was ok, some stuff was so-so. but it was all delicious in that it was new and exciting. one of the things (something with chickpeas and onions in a tomatoey sauce) tasted exactly like i always imagined indian food would taste. it was totally rewarding to step out of my narrow comfort zone. instead of anxiety, i felt a real sense of freedom.

i feel like my world here is getting bigger.

probably, because i am still me, i will find some stores that i will frequent. i will get into new and different ruts. but for now, i am finding my way to unfamiliar places. i am listening to a different talk radio station (don’t even ask. i really really dislike it, but it’s the only station i can get clearly on my bedroom clock radio…). i am eating different food and going places i would never normally go. i am taking some risks, and i am really liking it.

so, it seems that the magic of seattle is more than the sum total of its parts. i am under its spell and i’m happy.

now my lemon tea and i are going to rearrange some cupboards 😉