Quarantine Post #14: A Different World

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My friends and I have been discussing 90’s Black sitcoms recently. More importantly, the lack of Black Television shows now that are of the caliber of those from the ’90’s. The ’90s was a great time to be young and see yourself on television. Black families, black love, and black stories. That is something that I have been missing. Representation is key, and there were several shows that represented my family and me.

  • Family Matters
  • Living Single
  • The Parent ‘Hood
  • In the House
  • Hanging with Mr. Cooper
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

While all of these shows stand out in my mind and hold a special place in my heart, there was one show in particular that I never missed as a kid. A Different World.

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I could not get into the Cosby show then or now, but I understand the appeal to the masses. So it has always intrigued my mind, what stuck with me about A Different World all of these years later. As a Cosby spinoff, this show still holds up today. The issues talked about are still being discussed today. Now, I have probably rewatched this show about a million times its original run. Although, I remember watching it for the first time at about 10/11 years old longing to go to this school with them. Did I have any idea what college was, much less what a historically black one was at the time? No. But it was this show that made me yearn for more information.

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For me, this was the first show to explore black college students and their experiences with learning about real life, love, and financial security. Now, I only just learned what the original premise of the show. (Marisa Tomei experiences attending a historically black college.) I wonder if it would have had the same effect on me as the show actually had. The premise became that Denise Huxtable was going off to college. And it was supposed to be about her adventures at Hillman college. However, when Lisa Bonet exited the role. The show started centering around Jasmine Guy’s character (Whitley Gilbert).

What I remember thinking at the time was, these kids were all living together, learning together, and helping each other through issues that arose. That appealed to me. I couldn’t wait to do the same. I probably felt strongly about it because I had come from a city in Massachusetts where there was one other black family. I was half of the black student body in the elementary school that I attended at the time. It was a wonder to see a place where there were so many young black minds were thriving.

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Now, of course,  when I was watching the show initially… I may have missed out on some of the nuances of the romantic entanglements and the characters represented, but I did get the heavy-hitting themes that the show tackled. There are a few episodes that stand out in my mind… but before we get to that. Let’s talk about the characters.

What was great about the characters was that they were young and allowed to make mistakes. They were allowed to be nerdy, or prissy or in Freddie’s case a bit out there and still fit in. They were able to be comfortable in who they were. There wasn’t a sense of not being “black enough.” Black people come in many forms, shapes, sizes, and have varied interests. And the show was able to showcase that in grand fashion. We were able to watch these characters come into their own and see how their initial ideas of how the world works were challenged and somewhat changed the older they got. The characters were also multilayered… which meant that they sometimes did not so great things. Just like real people and that hit home for me.

  • Whitley Gilbert –  portrayed by actress Jasmine Guy. At the beginning of the series, Whitley Gilbert was the spoiled, selfish brat of Gilbert Hall. However, as time wore on… through her associations with her friends, we saw her become more well rounded. She seemed to have the hardest time learning that it is rough out in the real world.  But she managed to pull it together with the help of Hillman. She majored in French and Art History.
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  • Dwayne Wayne – portrayed by Kadeem Hardison. Let me tell you how cool I thought Dwayne Wayne was. My mother bought me a pair of flip-up glasses that I wore for ages until they broke. I thought he was the greatest for a long time. (Back when I thought he was real.)He majored in math, wanted to be an engineer and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Throughout the series, Dwayne matured from a flirtatious wanna-be ladies’ man (He used to tell women that he got a perfect score on his Math SAT’s as a pick-up line) to a mature and respectable husband. He was from New York… just like me. I really appreciated the portrayal of him as being a nerd… an engineer and interested (and excelling) at all things school… since what we usually see are drug dealers or gangbangers. Look at those glasses… ain’t they fly? And his kick game was always fresh. I wanted a Dwayne Wayne guys.A Different World2020-07-17_19-55-11
  • Freddie Brooks – Portrayed by Cree Summer… Shoutout to Cree for voicing all of the cartoons I watched back in the day… She has probably been in a few things you guys watched. Freddie is the resident free spirit. She wants to save the planet and has various ideas about doing so. What was interesting was how much she clashed with Whitley over her ideals. It didn’t matter to her what others thought… She stood by her beliefs. There is a lot that I learned from this character in regards to helping out the environment that I still put into practice today. (I have to be the only one of my friends that enjoyed the saga that was Freddie and Ron… I mean there is a thin line between love and hate right…? I saw that coming. Should they have done that to Kim…? no…. More on that later though.) On the flip side, I was glad when she started dating someone… I was not happy when that person turned out to be Shazza… I got that he was supposed to be the male version of her… but he was all talk… and started putting her down towards the end. But I digress.  That is a tough jacket… I wanted it. She started out wanting to be a writer but ended up in law school. Cast-of-A-Different-Worlds-Most-Stylish-Looks-30-700x523
  • Ron Johnson – portrayed by Darryl M. Bell. I have a lot of friends that tell me they don’t like Ron’s character. I enjoyed watching Ron get his comeuppance in certain situations. Seeing several people is something people do in their young age… It is called dating… however, you usually let people you’re dating know.  However, Ron’s character was very vocal about his thoughts and feelings… no matter how misguided they were sometimes. That vocalness usually served as what he had to learn about. (Remember the episode on homelessness… where Ron makes a lot of comments only to find that a man that he looked up to was homeless?) He had a lot to learn about women (and the world in general) and a lot of time to learn it. We all know a person like that. He wasn’t the best student academically and not because he was stupid… because he was lazy. He had an ambitious attitude. Always trying to come up with an idea to get rich. He wanted to do the least amount of work and gain the most from it. (Who doesn’t in college?) His friendship with Dwayne was unparalleled for me at the time. (Only to be rivaled later by Kyle and Overton of Living Single.) They gave each other real advice (relationship and otherwise) and helped each other through life. Ron was slightly immature… yes because he was young. Towards the end of the series you can see that he was feeling some kind of way about his reputation (as a ladies man.) Especially since no one took him seriously when it came obvious that sleeping with everyone wasn’t as fulfilling as he thought it would be and wanted to be serious about a relationship.
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  • Kimberly Reese – portrayed by Charnele Brown. Our resident Med Student. She was dedicated to her work and an overachiever. She put so much pressure on herself to be the best. Kim’s character was the vessel for a lot of heavy-hitting stories. She had a pregnancy scared early on in the series. She was the character to tackle interracial relationships when she started dating Freddie’s cousin Matthew. (That was interesting for me to see people’s reaction to her dating Matthew. Especially Ron’s. People who paid no real attention to her before had a lot to say about her and Matthew. I, at least, got a taste of what I would later be in store for. She actually roomed with Whitley and the two became unlikely friends for the rest of the series. Here were two women that worked out differences and came to each other with their issues.
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  • Jaleesa Vinson- Taylor –  portrayed by Dawnn Lewis. I have to say even though she was the voice of reason to her younger counterparts… I didn’t appreciate her character until I was much older and on my 100th time watching the show all the way through. She enrolled at Hillman at 25 what we would now call being a non traditional student. (Which I ended up having to be later in life.) She showed that if you wanted something bad enough, it was never to late to get it. She was big on showing the guys mostly her ex Walter that she was just as intelligent… if not more than he gave her and women credit for. She became the assistant dorm director of Gilbert Hall… and that became interesting watching her help solve problems the kids got themselves into. She ends up running her own staffing agency out of her home. There was nothing that she couldn’t do. She majored in Business Management.
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  • Walter Oakes – Portrayed by Sinbad. Walter was the graduate student at Hillman and becomes the co dorm director at Gilbert Hall. (When it becomes a co-ed dorm room.) Dwayne and Ron needed someone to look up to on-campus and Walter was that guy. He advised them on one thing after another… The episode No Means No comes to mind. There was also an episode when he was trying to recruit Alvin Dicks to Hillman for basketball… he is concerned that Alvin will not choose Hillman for the wrong reasons. He channels this love for helping out children into his outreach program that he starts. He was very involved and the shaping of young minds and the older I get the more I appreciate this character. Was he somewhat of a chauvanist… sure… But he had Jaleesa to put him in his place.
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  • Colonel Bradford Taylor – portrayed by Glynn Turman. Dr. War scared the hell out of me. Mostly because he didn’t put up with any excuses. He wanted the best from his students and he put them through the wringer because he knew they could do it. He became Dwayne’s mentor and was the sense of direction in his son’s life. (Terrance needed that.) He wanted to get young black minds ready for the real world. I remember when the students were talking about being burnt out… and he broke down how much time they had actually spent doing work… SMH… poor guys.
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  • Gina Deveaux– Portrayed by Ajai Sanders. Gina was in the know and by that she was in everyone’s business. But she knew her stuff. She dated a guy that was abusive to her and that episode also stands out in my mind. (More on that later as well.) She gets placed on academic probation when she gets jealous of Charmaine which while funny… was super realistic to me. But she was able to learn from that experience and move forward.
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  • Charmaine Brown – Portrayed by Karen Malina White. As Mr. Gaines called her… the mouth of the south. As a freshman, she annoys everyone with talking about her beloved Lance and the general fast way in which she talks. (Poor girl, Lance called her to break up with her.) She was another overachiever like Kim… who thought the way she did things was the best way to do things. She had the tendency to think she was smarter than her classmates. But in the end, she forges a strong bond with both Lena and Gina.
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  • Lena James – Portrayed by Jada Pinkett. She arrives at Hillman on an Engineering scholarship. She switches to English when she learns that she has an affinity for and is passionate about writing and realizes that the only thing she was passionate about when it came to engineering was her scholarship. I liked her ingenuity. She tried to make money by selling Gumbo in her dorm room. (I will leave out the fact that she almost burned the building down.) She was the first to notice Gina was in an abusive relationship and tried to talk her out of it. She forges a friendship with Gina and Charmaine.
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  • Dorian Heywood – Portrayed by Bumper Robinson. He is a born again Christain and the object of a lot of the girl’s affection. He was the star basketball player for Hillman. And he starts a relationship with Lena James (albeit celibate). When Lena’s ex Piccolo (Tupac) shows up… Dorian’s jealous side comes out and they end up in a fight. He rooms with Terrell Walker and these two remind me of a young Dwayne and Ron. But there’s was a close friendship as well.
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  • Terrell Walker – Portrayed by Patrick Malone. Despite outwards appearances, Terrell was a highly intelligent character scoring 1500 (out of 1600) on his SAT’s. He has a somewhat antagonistic relationship with Gina and Charmaine, this is to mirror the relationship Ron had with women on campus. He is accused of sexual harassment… since he is the easy scapegoat… (SMH at Gina.) And feeling inferior when he and Charmaine are attacked decides to get a gun which almost gets him expelled.
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A Different world tackled serious issues such as date rape, colorism, racism, domestic abuse, and HIV infection. Interestingly, I remember watching these episodes as a child… and I feel like I was better equipped for the world around me because I knew about date rape or HIV at an earlier age than most may have been comfortable with. It was fun to watch college students think critically, find their identities as well as challenge their world views, and find new ways of looking at life. It is in fact a different world than where you come from.

So let’s take a look at some of my favorite hard-hitting episodes.

  1. “No Means No” (season 2, episode 20): Freddie’s character at the beginning of the series reminded me a lot of myself… so that is probably why this episode stands out in my mind. She believes that because she doesn’t have any ill will towards others that no one will have ill will towards her. And that is not the case. Because she is so inexperienced with those of the opposite sex, she wants to believe the best about her new beau… Garth. But it is Dwayne who notices that Garth is a bit too aggressive. Dwayne and Garth have a conversation where Garth flat out states that when a woman says no… she doesn’t mean it… She just needs a little persuasion and to be let off the hook. Dwayne fears that Freddie is putting herself in a dangerous situation but his fears fall on deaf ears with Freddie. When Dwayne goes to talk to Walter about it… Walter lays down the law. CTznxCdWEAA_Ine
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    Dwayne manages to protect Freddie from Garth’s advances. (Protect Black Women.) But the episode stayed with me because it could be me at any time.
  2. “Mr. Hillman” (season 1 episode 17): In the name of sexual equality, Denise convinces Dwayne to run in the Miss Hillman Beauty Pageant against Whitley. Denise is not happy with the sexism of the pageant. But it is Dwayne that is in for a rude awakening when he gets a taste of what not only women on campus have to endure but also women in life. The women on campus begin looking at him as an object. While this is not the first time the Hillman alum tackle sexism, it is what I remember to this day. I am not a fan of pageants of any kind but it was weird watching Whitley’s attitude at the prospect of not winning.
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  3. “Pride And Prejudice” (season 3, episode 14): Oh Whitley had a lot to learn about life outside her bubble. It took her a while to see that she could learn from others… (Freddie, mostly.) She was the daughter of rich black parents, who honestly believed that her privileged upbringing shielded her from racism. Whitley was so hung up on being one of the better black people that she doesn’t see the clerk at the jewelry store is being  racist and discriminatory towards her. No matter how much Freddie tries to convince her otherwise, Whitley still purchases the jewelry (a present for her father.) and thinks she is going to punish the woman’s ideologies by handing her a fat commission. What was worse was watching Whitley try and justify the clerk’s behavior instead of assessing the issue and her role in it. Namely her superiority complex and acknowledge that Freddie… not matter how different she maybe was right.
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  4. “Ms. Understanding” (season 4, episode 17): Now I am not sure that I understood the gravity of this episode right away. But now that I am of marrying age… out of college and all that jazz… I have several thoughts on it. Learning the inspiration for the episode is what brings me to cringes every time I watch it now. It’s inspiration being Shahrazad Ali’s The Blackman’s Guide To Understanding The Blackwoman. It was a misogynistic, weird drabble about how the all problems with the black community were all rooted in black women. Shazza Zulu writes a book to help the Hillman woman understand the Hillman man. (Ms. Understanding: Her Guide to Understanding the Hillman Man.) The students descend into chaos as they resort to childish battles of the sexes. Before they turn on the writer… Shazza and realized this childish battle serves no one.  I mean they should have turned on Shazza… because according to Shazza, the Hillman woman should be confident, know her self-worth and be treated like a “queen” (I will leave out my circle of friends hatred for the word queen.) but only if she adheres to stereotypical and dated gender norms and roles.
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    This brings me to the character of Shazza who I used to love as a kid. I thought he was a fine specimen of man. But I am an adult now… and I can see him for what he is. Even as a kid though, I did not appreciate how he tried to throw Kim’s interracial relationship with Matthew under the bus to save his drowning self. But even when he hooks up with Freddie, he did nothing for me. He talks a good game about wanting to help his people… but you never see him actually do it. (Aside from organizing a rally for the Haitians.) He plays a role more of tearing down and creating discord rather than helping. He took 6 years to graduate Hillman… he doesn’t have a job… and when Freddie gets into Law school he belittles her every chance he gets…from the changing of her hair to not being able to spend time with her how he wants. It is easy to have time on your hands when you don’t do anything all day.
  5. “Cat’s In The Cradle” (season 5, episode 14): Dwayne and Ron get in a fight with racists students from a nearby white college. It begins with a bet on a Hillman football game between Ron and the racist students. When Ron wins the bet all hell breaks loose. The rivals aren’t happy to have to pay up and then try to spray paint the n-word on his car. When all are arrested and taken to the jail, they are given the opportunity to tell their side of the story… We get to see embellishments on each side. Dean Cain plays the ringleader and words are exchanged. As an older person, I can see the issue with Black men and the trust issues they have with cops. They are the victims here… but they’ve been handcuffed and made to tell their story. And in the end, they know no matter what they say… It won’t necessarily help them. This episode is 28 years old… and it is just as poignant today as it was when it was aired. Probably more.
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  6. “If I Should Die Before I Wake” (season 4, episode 23): I am 1000% sure that I did not understand the significance of this episode until later in life. So in this episode Whoopi Goldberg plays a professor that assigns her class a speech where they would be delivering their own eulogy. I am sure that it was supposed to slide into focus what everyone wanted out of their lives. Tisha Campbell plays Josie… a character who has a bleak outlook on life since she’s contracted HIV. Now here in 2020… HIV is not the death sentence it once was. But at the time this aired in 1991 (29 years ago.) people were dropping dead at a high rate. There were no commercials about a new drug to keep your levels undetectable and no PREP drug that help keep you from getting it. What stood out to me in this episode was the fact that ignorance always gives way to prejudice no matter what the topic. Once the student body figured out Josie has HIV… they start treating her differently… not wanting her to serve their food, or wearing a mask to talk to her. It is Mr. Gaines… the owner of the Pitt… who brings the bunch under control.
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  7. “Mammy Dearest” (season 5, episode 11): It is Kim’s turn to confront a serious theme. Kim confronts the complicated history of black women in America. I have to appreciate A Different World for tackling colorism. For the upcoming dorm dedication ceremony, Whitley wants to include the Mammy image with other historical images which throws Kim into a tizzy. Kim, who has darker skin, talks about the the teasing that she has endured because of it. Whitley doesn’t get why Kim is reacting the way that she does, but Whitley is the one with the fair skin. Whitley is the one deemed desirable by men and so on and so forth. This hit home for me… because my sister is also has fair skin… I remember snippets of conversations that older adults had with my mom… where she was told to keep her out the sun… Don’t want her getting too dark. (My sister and I are closer than any two people can be. Which is great… because I know that sort of thing can cause misplaced anger and ruin relationship.) Kim becomes the star of the show… and gives an awesome performance where she acknowledges Mammy’s role in Black Women’s history.
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  8. “It Happened One Night” (Season 2, Episode 11): Kim wasn’t the only one to have to make an adjustment when rooming with Whitley. Ah to be young and in love right? Well… sure… Kim and her boyfriend Rob use the dorm room as their own sexual romper room leaving Whitley out in the common area. Whitley’s protest about it fall on deaf ears. But it isn’t until Kim thinks she might be pregnant that the real world comes crashing in. It is only a scare, but it is enough for Kim to think about the decisions that she had been making and how those decisions could affect her life in the long run.
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  9. “Love Taps” (season 5, episode 22): Gina Deveaux gets into a relationship with a local rapper. (I’m down Dion.) When Dion becomes abusive, she spends her time trying to cover up bruises to fool her friends. What I noticed though, was that she really was mistaking her relationship with Dion as true love and blaming herself for making him angry. Her friends, being who they are, are not fooled. They see that Gina needs help escaping this cycle of abuse. Once the fact that Gina is being abused spreads around campus… everyone comes out of the woodwork to protect her. What stood out in my mind was Dion’s recounting of the abuse his mother suffered from by his father… and how he thought that was just how relationships work.
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  10. “Blue’s for Nobody’s Child” (season 4, episode 3): A glaring look at adoption and especially that of Black children. Freddie meets young Alex through Walter’s Operation Outreach program. Alex is the face of so many children waiting to be adopted but the sad reality is that may never happen. Alex’s adoption agency put on a carnival where the kids are on display for potential parents and Freddie decides to try and fight Alex’s behalf. However, when Alex runs away to be with Freddie… It is Freddie’s outrage that causes the older adults to step in. I remember Freddie lashing out at her Professor because she saw his wanting a newborn baby as part of the problem.
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  11. “Bedroom at the Top” (season 5 episode 16): I am pretty sure that this was a good episode to see for my young mind because… I needed to know what I was going to be in store for when the time came to join the working class. Whitley is promoted at E.H. Wright, but her new boss is crude and obnoxious towards her. When she threatens to expose him, he turns the tables and accuses her of throwing herself at him. Her claims fall on deaf ears. Whitley turns to another woman in the office for support, but she refuses to go on record even though she’s experienced the same thing. Whitley manages to have upper management look into her boss’s past… seems he has been transferred three times for the same accusations. In the end though, after an investigation is finally done, her manager keeps his job, gets a slap on the wrist and she still has to report to him. At a young age, it was interesting to me that so many people could have complained and the only thing he got was a slap on the wrist and to continue on with the company. It also shocked me when the women wouldn’t even stand together to take this clown down. Whitely’s thought that dressing down would do her some good saddens me because it never has anything to do with that. We got to see that in her case because the abuse didn’t stop. However, now in the age of Weinstein… I get it much more. But it remains unsettling to me.
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  12. “Lean on Me” (season 6, episode 19): Dwayne applies for a summer job at Kinishewa. Dwayne and Whitley are surprised when the interviewer turns out to be his ex Kinu. (who he left for Whitley.) The dinner goes well but at the interview the next day it is revealed that Kinishewa went with another more experienced candidate. Dwayne initially accuses Kinu of sabotaging him to get back at him for choosing Whitely over her. (That was cringeworthy.) Kinu sets him straight telling him that she was pulling for him but lets him know what he is lacking. It is hard for Dwayne… who has things come easy to him… struggle with not being the best. It’s a hard pill for Dwayne to swallow, but Whitley helps him through it.
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As a now college graduate, I appreciated was the fact that when the gang started graduating… they suffered from what we all suffer from. Trying to land a job. I remember feeding into the idea that once you graduated that jobs would fall into your lap… nothing can be further from the truth. We watch Dwayne and Whitley go on interviews… In Whitley’s case, she learned that she was not yet equipped for the job market and stayed at Hillman to get the business course that she didn’t know she would need. In Dwayne’s case… He determined that he should get his PH. D. in order to give himself a competitive edge. However, he still doesn’t get the job at Kineshewa… (which is heartbreaking.) Ron is trying not to work at his father’s dealership. He puts everything into his band… because that is his first love… but he finds out quickly that loving something doesn’t mean it will pay the bills.

Alright… now that I have gone over some of the episodes that stand out in my mind… The fun part begins… Recounting my favorite love connections made on the show… Romantic relationships were the second part of the show that kept me fascinated.

  1. Dwayne and Whitley: Are there enough words to say about the saga that is Dwayne and Whitley? Sure. They became the secondary story for the show. The whole will they? Won’t they? had me on the edge of my seat. Dwayne (who started out being in love with Denise) came from a working-class family in Brooklyn, New York. Whitley was opposite from him in every way. She was spoiled and somewhat stuck up. But what I appreciate about their relationship was how they both evolved as young individuals to adults with adults issues and an adult relationship. They both had growing to do… I would say Whitley more than Dwayne. Now, you may feel differently and that’s fine… But Whitley’s parents… mostly her mother… instilled in her that her success in life would come from the type of man should would marry. (We all know a person like that.) She was not told that her success would come from her own doing and she wasn’t expected to do much but be a wife… the arm candy if you will. What was great about her growth was that through Hillman, she learned hard work and that she didn’t need a man to do for her… which gave way to her choosing someone that she wanted. What we got from both Dwayne and Whitley was a relationship that ages in realtime. From acquaintances to friends to lovers. They took the time to get to know each other and get over their misconceptions about each other. From bumping into each other on the plane on the way to Hillman from summer vacation,
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    to their first actual kiss at Walter and Jalissa’s would-be wedding. (Now, I had a friend that sent me an article about how these two are not relationship goals… and I was wondering what show this person actually watched.) Whitley was there when Dwayne gets the news that Denise has gotten married. Dwayne helps Whitley get past the fact that her father is marrying a younger woman.
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    Jalissa’s would-be wedding was fun because Whitley was running from Dwayne every chance she got. She finally tells him she is not ready for a real relationship with him yet and doesn’t wait for him to wait on her… (He hadn’t planned to do so.)
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    What is interesting… Dwayne doesn’t try to change Whitley… or belittle her. Whitley starts dating Julian, who by all accounts, is supposed to be perfect for her. He was good-looking and had charm, class and was going to take the world by storm. (And while I like Julian, he didn’t really get to know Whitley. He seemed to write her off as a bougie princess. (His words.) and just before they broke up Julian proved that he didn’t really care about Whitley’s dreams or her career. He wanted her to give up her internship at E. H. Wright to follow him around to his internship and live with him. When she said no… He pretty much called her pampered and unprepared for the real world. There was no give and take here. He wanted to pursue his own professional plan and was dismissive of Whitley’s. Summer takes Dwayne to Tokyo… and he was writing her long passionate letters. You think she did what a sensible woman would do and write him back. No. Whitley wanted to play games…  I chalk that up to her parents and how her mother showed her how love was supposed to work. I mean, what I wouldn’t give to have a man write to me. But she was also young. Not everything you did when you were young and in love made sense. Her cross to bear was Kinu. Everything that she did to break up Dwayne and Kinu had to be a result of knowing deep down that if she had just communicated effectively that she things would have turned out differently. (She even went out with Ron.)
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    It is Dwayne that is there to help her navigate new territory in her life. (When Whitley’s father cuts her off… ) When they do get together, they stumble through communication issues, jealousy (when Julian comes to town, or when Dwayne has to tutor women.) Whitley’s financial situation that she continued to make worse. But in the end, they were able to grow together and learn from each other. Whitley was able to motivate Dwayne and push him forward. Tensions arose when Dwayne went to dinner with another woman after asking Whitley to marry him. He was feeling pressure and cold feet but it ended up being the demise of their relationship. Dwayne wonders if he is making the right decision about getting married and while his decision to see someone else was not the best one… he has a hard time once the relationship is over. They manage to make it back to each other. (We all remember him crashing her wedding… “Please baby, Please.” Ah… my heart.) They fought the trials and tribulations of married life together (Being robbed, the job search, financial stability.) Dwayne and Whitley were the first black couple that I saw on TV and my young heart was invested in them. They were opposites but they proved that in a relationship that was okay. They showed that disagreements didn’t mean it was over. And I am glad I have that in my life. They were the role models I didn’t know I needed when it came to love.
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    There are people that will say… No one really marries their college sweetheart… (Untrue, I have several friends that have done so and are still happily married.) But when you watch the show you see that they are willing to meet each other halfway… work out communications and strive hard for their relationship… The great part about Dwayne and Whitley wasn’t that they were college sweethearts… but that they were realistic.
  2. Kim and Matthew – I was sad that Matthew went away… Matthew was as quirky and fun as Kim was straightlaced but he managed not to annoy everyone like Freddie used to. He was a visiting student from Avery and Freddie’s cousin. He wore his heart on his sleeve and was the exact opposite of Kim. She was tense and uptight… this comes from trying to be a doctor and being her best all the time. Matthew showed friend there was more to life than work and school… and being a doctor. She was able to relax and learn something new. Kim’s hesitation to date Matthew… probably had more to do with how it was eventually received. There was a lot of criticism of Kim for her choice in man from Shazza and even Ron. This was interesting because neither showed any interest in Kim or her affairs prior to her dating Matthew. (Ron later admits he was jealous.) This was my first time seeing that love can come in many forms… and sometimes who you love doesn’t conform to other people’s ideas.
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  3. Ron and Freddie -Now before everyone starts throwing tomatoes… I am not saying running around behind your friend’s (or girlfriend’s) back is the way to go. (Now everyone loves Dwayne even though he stumbled a bit and went out with another person… after making sure Whitley didn’t leave for her career by asking her to marry him.) Ron’s journey was a bit different… he is not a bad guy because he is not a serial monogamous like Dwayne. Part of Ron’s journey was discovering how unfulfilling it was to just have sex and no real connection with the fairer sex. And subsequently not to be taken seriously by women once he decides he wants to turn over a new leaf. Freddie and Ron an had antagonistic relationship. Mostly because Freddie spoke the truth about Ron and was not with his nonsense. She called him out. Ron didn’t start out as a womanizer… He was in a committed relationship with Millie in Season 1. Ron did have some goofy tendencies, but as time went on, he showed himself to be sincere, thoughtful, innovative, and genuine. Sure he was greedy, but given that his father was a used car salesman, he could have turned out a LOT worse. He helps Dwayne and Whitley get together… in his own way… and pushes Dwayne to get his girl back when she tries marrying the senator. Usually when the pseudo ladies man facade falls he is not a bad guy. (The episode where he is helping his marketing partner with her baby comes to mind.)
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    I usually enjoy an antagonistic relationship, mostly because it usually masks a mutual respect and adoration. (Max and Kyle anyone? What’s interesting is when talking about Max and Kyle from Living Single people love them… but it is the same dynamic as Freddie and Ron.) Freddie and Ron had a similar way of thinking… which is why they usually were each other’s sparing partners. Freddie and Ron were another example of people with two different upbringings and outlooks on life. In the first episode of season 2… Ron seems interested in getting to know Freddie (who only has eyes for Dwayne. Dwayne is swimming in feelings for Denise doesn’t notice much.)
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    In season 3, when Ernest has his eye one Freddie, he is bouncing the idea off of Ron. Ron makes no derogatory comments about Freddie… (Which you would expect if he actually hated her.) He would call Freddie “something not nothing.” And that he will  have some competition for her heart. (In the form of a artist that uses things that have been recycled.) Not once does he laugh at Ernest for choosing Freddie… He knows what Ernest appreciates about her… because he appreciates those things too. In the episode, Time Keeps on Slipping, Freddie scolds Ron for his contribution to the time capsule (a condom). She thinks he’s joking. Ron is told that it wasn’t a sex education video or a joke, and he responds that neither is AIDS or unintended teenage pregnancy or anything else a condom helps prevent. “My message is responsibility; You want to preserve the planet; I want to protect it.” Now… it is Freddie’s turn to appreciate Ron.
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    In season 5, it is the storm that has them stuck together in an interesting fashion. Arguing back and forth over playing his band over the airwaves during her campus radio show.
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    When the storm heads their way and they can’t leave the station… they seem to come together eventually comforting one another in the dark. Ron is clearly okay with trading insults if that is what she wants… but he is the first to ask if she is okay because he does in fact care about her. Not something you do if this is a person you hate. Even when she is a bit out there… he doesn’t take the opportunity to make fun or tease her for that. Even when the lights come on… Freddie makes the comment that they shouldn’t tell everyone… and he agrees… (What I found interesting is that he actually keeps that promise. I would think that if he actually hated her and was as bad of a guy as people say… He would have loved to humiliate her… but he doesn’t.)
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    Eventually… Kim takes a shining to Ron (The comments online state that this Ron and Freddie thing came out of nowhere. But I have to say… I didn’t understand where Kim’s attraction to Ron came from.) Kim plays the long game when she starts dating Ron. Poor Ron doesn’t even know how to date someone seriously at this point. We all remember when he took Kim on that disastrous date where he had been with everyone and their mom… and those women keep interrupting his time with Kim. (Ugh it is so cringeworthy.) Kim rightfully keeps him at arm’s length. He tries to show her that he is serious (with his new for ’92 quality or quantity clause.) by buying her a stethoscope for med school… (This is a cute scene.) But for some reason it seemed like she became less interested at that point and held on for whatever reason. There was no chemistry between them. But that doesn’t make what happens next okay. (If online comments are any indication… people are still salty on Kim’s behalf… 27 years later.) After Dwayne and Whitley return from their honeymoon, (during the 1992 LA riots.) Freddie makes a statement by showing up with a different look… She has been accepted into law school. (Now I have seen people complaining that this makes no sense but I saw this as the natural next step. She wanted to change the world and helping those in need with her legal expertise makes perfect sense. At least for me). This spurs Ron into action… kissing Freddie while attempting to pursue Kim. (Not a good look broski.)
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    Freddie is supposed to hate him… But she quickly has a hard time getting the kiss (and Ron) off of her mind. And even though Ron is with Kim… and she is with Shazza… (Here is where you really see Shazza get pretty rude with Freddie… she is not allowed to cross him. Insert eyeroll.) Both parties try to make things work with their respective significant other… (jealousy is a real thing… It was funny to watch because neither of them can understand why they are so jealous…) While the tension is so thick between Ron and Freddie… but Kim and Ron are the first to call it quits… Kim tells Whitley that when she is with Ron she finds herself thinking about her cadaver… damn son… Freddie tries to pretend that there is nothing going on between her and Ron. (The fact of the matter is she’s confused and upset about actually liking him. She feels like she shouldn’t.) She does what I would do in this situation and pretend like Ron doesn’t exist. (That never works, but I would do it anyway… because I love to run away from any romance issue.) Ron… doesn’t let this happen. (The Jerk.) Now I also found this interesting because… instead of looking for other women… he wants to talk to Freddie. So what does he do… He makes a large sign that says just that: FREDDIE, WE NEED TO TALK. The other side saying No Justice No Peace. (He is trying to get her attention while Shazza is planning a peaceful protest for the Haitians. Okay sir… no one saw that… sure, sure.) However, he’s antics put Freddie on the spot. Another thing I found interesting is that when Freddie tells Ron to stop being difficult… he does. (He starts a dust up with Shazza and when Freddie steps in… Ron sits down quietly… I always laugh at this.)  However, when the group disperse… Ron doesn’t let her run away. He tries to convince her to give him a chance.
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    The rift between Freddie and Shazza grows… (I didn’t shed a tear about this.) It was sad that it went down on Thanksgiving… but Shazza basically called her out for her feelings for Ron. “I guess you’re gonna tell me that you were hanging out with one of your professors, and not Ron… RON HONEY! I mean, come on.” (The ego had to hurt that it was Ron of all people. He had this sense of superiority when it came to Ron. Ron being the biggest opposition to his crappy book back in season 4.) Freddie starts seeing Ron in secret because she doesn’t want Kim to know about the kiss in Height Hall. (A moot point because she admits it to Kim later.)
    Ron and Freddie have a bit of a dust up when her mother shows up and admits that she doesn’t like Ron. Shazza kisses Freddie in an attempt to steal her back. (Ron sees it and is genuinely hurt but takes it in stride given the destruction he caused for both Kim and Shazza.) He tells Dwayne that he wants Freddie. They manage to stay together… oddly, they argue but work through the issues they have.
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    Many people would call this jumping the shark, the issue is that because characters are changing or doing things you may not agree with doesn’t mean it is jumping the shark. Do I feel there was evidence that this pairing didn’t appear out of nowhere? Yes. Do I condone cheating? Absolutely not. (Ugh. Comments on people who like their pairing usually come in the form of… “You must have no problem cheating on your significant other then.” Calm down and put your torches away… These fictional characters from about 30 years ago.) A person can think these two had more chemistry than Ron and Kim without giving the greenlight to cheating and keeping secrets.

I have told you guys the about the heavy hitting episodes that stick with me. But I can’t close out this post without talking about some of the episodes that just entertain me to no end. Let’s get to it:

  • “Dream Lover” (season 2, episode 4):  Whitley has erotic dreams about Dwayne. (It starts…) I laughed so hard watching this the other day
  • “Three Girl Three” (season 2, episode 5): THE GLADYS KNIGHT EPISODE. There is a contest on campus to become Gladys’ backup singers. Whitley and Jaleesa perform Love Overboard with Gladys Knight. Still great after 31 years.
  • “Delusions of Daddyhood” (season 3, episode 6): While Ron meets a woman who has a child… Heavy D is commissioned to perform at a charity event. Whitley is against it because she doesn’t like rap music. The exchange between Whitley and Heavy D is priceless.
  • “Wedding Bells from Hell” (season 3, episode 7): Walter and Jaleesa would be wedding. This is one is mostly because of Dwayne and Whitley. You guys ever see two people object to their own wedding?
  • “The Power of the Pen” (season 3, episode 13):  Dwayne, a mathematician, has a hard time with his poetry writing class. There is a bit of a debate about why poetry is important and what Dwayne’s poem is actually about.
  • “Whitley’s Last Supper” (season 4, episode 4): Poor Whitley. She was living in the clouds. Her father appears to confiscate her credit cards and curb her exorbitant spending. She is going to have to learn to budget.
  • “The Goodwill Games” (season 4, episode 5): Dwayne and Whitley are paired together in a college bowl competition. This was fun… because Dwayne and Ron tried to call Whitley dumb… but she definitely showed them.
  • “Ex-Communication” (season 4, episode 13): After Whitley and Dwayne start dating, issues arise in the form of Whitley’s ex returning and wanting to take her out on a date. But things end a bit differently for Whitley.
  • “Rule Number One” (season 5, episode 6): Lena is getting tutored by Professor Wayne but she develops a crush on him. Interesting episode.
  • “Baby, I’m a Star” (season 5, episode 7): Kim sings with Ron’s band to help him out. But she ends up with a big head. Kim has such a great singing voice too.
  • “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (season 6, episode 8): Whitley calls the Montell Williams show because she isn’t getting any loving from Dwayne. (DON’T ASK ME WHY?) Dwayne is just stressed out from working and bills.

One last thing about the show that I loved was the friendships. Ron and Dwayne had a close friendship where they actually got candid about how they were feeling, what they were thinking. The other would listen and respond and give his thoughts on the matter. It was great to see.
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I felt the same about the female characters. Whitley starts out as an ice queen but she is there for Kim when she is overworking herself, when Kim’s dad gets shot, when Kim thinks she may be pregnant and even lies to Kim’s dad to help her friend out. They also share feelings candidly. One such event was when Whitley tells Kim… that she wishes her own parents were as overprotective as Kim’s father. “I had to set my nanny on fire to get their attention.”
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Or when she had Kim’s back against Dwayne and Ron. Good times.
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 Freddie was added to the mix… and even though she was our resident flower child she was able fit in and help out where she could offer sound insight and a differing point of view.

I am going to close my very long blog post here by saying I wish we had more coming of age black sitcoms like we used to have in the ’90s. More black shows not afraid to talk real issues while showing us in positive light. A Different World is now on Amazon Prime for free. That is so cool because Amazon has the versions that have not been edited for television. So even after watching this show for a good 20 years at least… there was still scene I had never laid my eyes on. Definitely leave comments if you love my takes, or even if you hate them. (I’m cool either way.) I just knew I was going to Hillman College. In the end, this show was the reason I became interested in going to college… and it is still the reason a lot of black kids are heading to college now. That is all for now.. In the meantime, remember that is A Different World than where you come from.

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Quarantine Post #13: Anime Husbands

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This post was an idea given to me by one of my precious followers on Twitter. My friends on Twitter are hilarious and it seems to be our favorite past times to claim different guys (husbands if you will) from an anime we are taking in. So for my followers who do not watch anime… This post may not be for you. And that is fine… but do not misconstrue, we aren’t delusional or anything like that. Every one of us has fictional characters that holds a special place in our hearts… whether you want to admit that or not.

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For me, (for most people even though people like to pretend about this.) this concept is not new. I have always taken a liking to a character from a show or book… (and that in the beginning is the whole reason why I start watching the show or reading the book.) Sherlock from the BBC show, John Shelby from Peaky Blinders, Lucas Scott from One Tree Hill, and so on and so forth… It used to entertain me to wonder what life would be like if any one of these characters and I were an item. (I had a lot of time on my hands to daydream… since the guys at my school thought I was an odd duck anyway… or maybe they didn’t and I just had my head in the clouds and wasn’t paying attention. Fun times.

So if you have been reading my blog posts since the beginning, you know that I have been using my time at home to reconnect with things I had once lost interest in. Reading, writing, anime, (more like watching television as a whole.) manga, and sports. I have realized in this quarantine that I really only went to work and came home. So I have not been upset to rekindle my loves.

Alright, now to get down to the topic at hand. I have a lot of anime characters that I like, but some that I wouldn’t mind being my husband if they were real. Maybe my standards are too high… or warped from fictional guys. I love countdowns so here we go…

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  1. Kurosaki Ichigo – Where would I start if not the main character of my favorite anime/manga? Ichigo is stubborn, short-tempered, strong-willed, and impulsive. (Sadly, this is exactly the type of guy I would go for in high school… maybe even now.) Broody is an understatement. (Lucas Scott anyone?) He is genuinely compassionate and empathetic towards others. His drive to protect his friends and family is what really makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Who wouldn’t want to feel protected? When it came to rescuing Rukia from her death sentence, he knew he had to because he was the one that got her into that mess. (More or less.) Does he try to take on more than he should by himself…? Sure. Is that supremely annoying? Sure. But if he was at my high school, I would be following him around like a sad puppy. There is an instance in the show where he is told that a close friend of his (Orihime) is a traitor… which he refuses to believe. He knows who is friends are and know what they will and won’t do. He won’t hear a word against them. I love it. He goes to war for his… what is not to love?
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  2. Vinsmoke Sanji – There is nothing better than a man that is calm, cool, and collected. (or at least tries to be.) Now, unlike Ichigo, Sanji rarely acts impulsively, he always has a plan. (I always love it.) He is more perceptive than he seems and often tells people what they need to hear instead of what they want. Sanji is not afraid to show his emotions when the moment calls for it and is entirely capable of crying or losing his temper, which results in Sanji’s short fuse and subsequent beatings of most villains (and Luffy.) He maintains a realistic outlook on life. This comes from the physical and mental abuse that he endured from his family. (Nothing made me want to hold him more than watching what they did to him as a kid. JERKS.) He has a chivalrous side and doesn’t fight women for any reason… or even lets them be insulted in his presence. (which normally leads to his downside.) He is overly nice to the women on the crew and to contrast not so nice to the men on the crew. He is the cook on the crew…  which earns him bonus points. (I like men that can cook.) and as a result, only fights with his legs and feet. It is badass as to watch him take down opponents. So in short, he is intelligent, protective of the women in his presence, and does what he can for his crew, and he can cook. Where is my wedding dress?

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  3. Shiba Tatsuya – Are there really any words for Tatsuya? Not really. He is the main character of The Irregular of Magic School. He is irregular for a lot of reasons… Tatsuya is intelligent and analytical. Would this ever work out for me? No. Because he has no feelings. Too bad for me. He was born without any magical ability apart from decomposition and regrowth. (which can’t be accurately measured.) His family disapproves of his magic and skips over him as the future head of the family. So Tatsuya is left to be his sister’s guardian and bodyguard as she is the future head of the family’s magical organization. His emotions are merely skewed in a certain direction, with one particular aspect becoming especially sensitive. Tatsuya does not possess the ability to feel any strong emotions like fear, despair, envy, hatred, disgust, gluttony, lust, sloth, and love, with the exception of a single individual (his sister) as a result of the magical testing that was he was exposed to at a young age. The high school they attend has a system for those magically inclined… but like any high school, there is a caste system. His sister is ranked high and is popular; Tatsuya is not. As a result…. people believe him to be dumb or incapable. And that is their downfall. (I love a character that is deceptively cunning.) It is later revealed that Tatsuya is “‘half’ of Taurus Silver” who is considered to be an ingenious CAD Engineer. He is in the military and is one badass. It is epic to watch him wipe the smirk off people’s faces and earn the respect that he rightly deserves. He counts on you to underestimate him so he can hand your ass to you.
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  4. Roy Mustang – For his feats that I enjoy… see my post about FMA:B. Maybe I have a thing for flames…  Roy Mustang is the Colonel on Full Metal Alchemists and Brotherhood. Roy appears to be, at least on the outside, shallow, self-absorbed, and a womanizer who is infamous among many of his colleagues for the selfish and narcissistic vibe he gives off. He comes off to most as a sort of cocky layabout, shirking most of his duties and delegating his paperwork to subordinates. However, Roy is expertly manipulative and several steps ahead of those around him. He manages to look as though he has no clue what is happening… even though he engineered certain things to happen. (He didn’t kill Maria but he makes it seem as though he did.) It is all apart of his plan. I am starting to see a pattern here. His wholehearted dedication to changing the world for the better makes him a powerful force and is one of the many traits of his that I admire. I couldn’t be his subordinate though… Shout out to Riza Hawkeye. Nothing like a powerful, intelligent character…
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  5. Sakata Gintoki – As my Twitter friend and I say… This man knows how to stress a girl out. He the main character of Gin Tama. Gintoki is extremely lazy. Extremely. He is often seen wearing a dumb expression on his face and spends his days lounging around reading Shounen Jump while imparting wise and sage-like advice to his younger employees, even though he doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about most of the time. However, even though he is lazy, Gintoki is quite dedicated to his job and tries to help people with the best of his abilities (usually in a very strange and twisted way). Despite or due to all of these traits Gintoki possesses an immense amount of charisma and has amassed a quite large group of friends. When it is needed, he is able to impart words of wisdom and can make those around him feel much more alive even with his inappropriate jokes and deadpan statements. This ability has given him very loyal allies, friends, and even former enemies. His powerful swordplay and range of abilities gave him the nickname “Shiroyasha” (“white demon”). He is capable of turning the tide of any battle, being called “The Ace” by Katsura and Takasugi. He defeated strong Amanto and killed many high ranking ones, even those who are in legendary status (like enma and ogre). He’s also strong enough to defeat opponents considered the strongest in their respective classes. However, his biggest weakness is his rage/anger. Despite becoming faster and stronger, he is a berserker whose only goal is to kill his enemy, leading to enemies that are equal or stronger than him to defeat him or hold him off. Badass swordsman that lulls those that don’t know him into a sense of security with his laziness but will take your head off if he needs to… (plus he is hilarious…) Where do I sign up?
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  6. Kaneki Ken – Kaneki needs love in his life guys… he has had a hard time. He is the main character of the Tokyo Ghoul series. Kaneki starts out as a shy boy who spends most of his time reading. He is extremely gentle and appears to be optimistic most of the time.  He used to willingly take the blame and punishment for others so that he can be someone who doesn’t hurt people, but rather “the person getting hurt”. (I thought it was a stupid idea.) However, this lack of assertiveness got him bullied and taken advantage of. After being turned to a half-ghoul, he begins he clings to his human side but he does befriend ghouls at the Anteiku coffee shop. After being held captive and undergoing intense torture at the hands of Yamori, Kaneki’s personality changed drastically. He trashed his previous ideology of “being hurt rather than hurting others,” pledging to crush those who dared threaten his place of belonging. He adopted the habit of cracking his knuckles from his torturer, Yamori. Kaneki became ruthless, cruel, and brutal in order to protect his friends. (There really is a pattern here.) Kaneki has been through a lot. I mean he has a hatred for ghouls and then he is made into one… he is captured and tortured… suffers from Marie Antionette Syndrome (It is hard for me to watch)… and then he has a precarious mental state. He needs a hug and I can provide it to him. All he wanted was a damn date… Poor Kaneki.
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  7. Aizawa Shouta – I’m not usually attracted to long hair… but the man bun does it for me. Aizawa is the Pro Hero Eraser Head and the homeroom teacher of Class 1-A in My Hero Academia. He has this ‘I just rolled out of bed’ look about him. He has a very stern approach and has high expectations for his students. He doesn’t filter his words or ideas for anyone. What you see is what you get… mostly… As a teacher of high expectations, Shota is known to expel students who he feels are not suited for U.A. High, although he has not expelled any students from Class 1-A yet despite being well-known for doing so. He can be rigid and strict when necessary, and also has little tolerance for disobedient behavior. Shota is not afraid of putting his students through rigorous training and often pushes the more unpleasant parts of Heroism so that his students can overcome their limits. (Something about shaping young minds… and being a positive role model…) Despite his apathetic traits, Shota genuinely cares about his students and will go to great lengths to protect them as he saved Tsuyu from Shigaraki, in spite of his grievous injuries. (Check out my post on MHA…) He has also expressed belief in his students on multiple occasions and is confident that even the likes of Bakugo would not be swayed by Villains. Recovery Girl even implied that he allowed himself to be captured by Momo during her End of Term Test in order to boost her confidence. Teacher, cares about his students and their well being and he is fighting badass… Yep, I am good.
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  8. Joichiro Saiba – Did you guys know that there is an anime that combines my love of the Food Network… and battle shonen…? Food Wars… well Joichiro is the father of the Food Wars main character, Soma. Like his son, Jōichirō is laid back but professional and has a serious side that emerges whenever he is cooking. His skills are world-famous. Back in his student days, Jōichirō was very charismatic, earning many admirers and the respect of his peers. As the sole parental figure in Sōma’s life, he is a mentor, teacher, and rival to his son, though he never pushed Sōma to become a chef, allowing Sōma to develop that interest on his own. Jōichirō is, if anything, very supportive of his son. (I love a caring, supportive dad… Isshin Kurosaki anyone? Long hair again.)
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  9. Mugen – He is one of the protagonists of Samurai Champloo. Both Mugen and Jin accompany Fuu in her search for “the samurai who smells of sunflowers.” There are many words to describe Mugen… He is the antihero. He is rude, lewd, vulgar, conceited, temperamental, and unhinged.  He is fond of fighting and has a tendency to pick fights for petty reasons. Mugen is extremely competitive and will take on any and all challengers. On top of his consistent rivalry with Jin, he is prone to gambling and taking on fights with anyone else he deems strong enough. He is also a sore loser and will go to great lengths to redeem himself from a defeat. Mugen absolutely despises authority of any kind. His anarchic behavior stems from his childhood growing up in the lawless and often violent Ryukyu Islands. Mugen states he would rather die fighting than be on his knees pleading for mercy. Mugen’s highly unorthodox swordplay and a fighting style based on breakdancing. Something he developed on his own… taking bits and pieces from all forms of martial arts and making up the rest on-the-go as he fights his opponents, make him generally unpredictable in a fight and a force to be reckoned with. What I enjoyed was the way that he helped Jin and Fuu when they needed it… despite being a VAGRANT. Would that really work out for me? Probably not. But I can wish right?
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  10. Himura Kenshin – The main character of Rurouni Kenshin. What I enjoy most is the plethora of people that wanted to push the pacifist to his old ways… (Why do this…? The was an assassin for the government.) Kenshin is soft-spoken, serene and humble, always willing to put others before himself, both in terms of well-being and social standing.  Kenshin doesn’t hesitate to put himself in the path of harm to shield those around him and often attempts to diffuse contentious situations with soft, calming words and a somewhat clownish personality involving feigned clumsiness. (I know, I know… another unassuming badass. I have a type apparently.) These traits lead those unfamiliar with Kenshin to view him as ineffectual or easily exploitable. But when his strength as a rurouni is insufficient to defend against a particularly threatening foe, or when the most depraved and horrendous acts of evil push him and his patience to his moral limits, Kenshin’s restraint falters and his personality reverts to that of his days as the Hitokiri Battōsai. He immediately abandons his serene humility and Kenshin’s normally warm nature becomes cold and distant, allowing him to contemplate taking the life of his opponent and even make vicious, bloodthirsty threats. Into battle, Kenshin’s combat prowess and capabilities are greatly increased as his inhibitions are loosened from his moral considerations, but this in turn also spurs him to access more pragmatic, ruthless, and even vicious tactics, including unrestrained and maiming blows at his greatest might without discrimination.
    (The live-action did it for me. I know what people say about anime live actions but this was awesome. Part four is coming out shortly… get some of that in your life.)
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  11. Yato – One of the main characters in Noragami. An obscure god who considers himself a God of Fortune / Happiness and War, he has been labeled a God of Calamity and Depression in the past. Yato’s dream is to become a famous god, whom everyone worships. Yato can be mischievous, crude, and unpredictable in his behavior. As his existence would end if he were to be forgotten, he has developed Athazagoraphobia. Despite his aloof and often idiotic personality, Yato can be quite wise and very serious when the situation requires it. He has a very low tolerance for weak-spirited people, having little motivation to help those wanting to commit suicide. This is mostly due-in-part because Shinki hasn’t had the chance to experience a full life; oftentimes dying in unfortunate accidents or at the hands of another. Yato is also rather mysterious; He refused to tell his true name and past even to his closest friends, fearing they would hate him; especially given he’s a god easily forgotten humans. That and abandonment issues caused by his dubbing, “God of Calamity.” In the past, Yato’s nature was extremely ruthless and cruel, however, his personality seems to have altered to a more optimistic standard. He became more reluctant to murder, regretting being involved in killing jobs tasked by his father and wants to cut himself off from killing people in the present. Though, he seems less reluctant when dealing with murderous and “sinful” people, deeming it a necessary evil. Still, Yato can be a cruel and merciless person, showing great loyalty towards those he loves and cares for. He was angered when Hiyori was kidnapped… and was going to slip back into murder mode for those he cared about. So here is my last character that goes to bat for those he cares about… much like Gintoki… he seems aloof and not caring but will burn everything down for his people. He just needs love guys…  a hug… a loving relationship.
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In the end, these are the characters that warm my heart and keep my attention while they are on screen. In a lot of cases, they are the reason I stuck with the show… (not saying the storylines are bad or anything.) Is there a pattern I see emerging… MAYBE… lol.. But could a relationship really work out with me and these characters… well I can hope. That is all for now.

Quarantine Post #12: Family Cruise 2018

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There was a time when I went on cruises regularly. In the beginning, I had less money and big dreams of traveling. I was and in some cases still am enthralled with seeing new destinations that I have never seen before (whether they are considered touristy or not.) I have been known to work without taking a vacation. PTO didn’t seem that interesting when all I could afford to do was be at home.

I was first introduced cruising in December 2010 when the awful job I was working at told me I had over 40 hours of PTO that I needed to use before I lost it in the New Year. Only 24 hours would be rolling over to the next. Kinda weird that you would put in all that work and just lose PTO. (Don’t worry. Shortly, after this job, I went back to school. And ended up with an actual career.) At that time though, my co-worker and I decided that we wanted to actually do something with our time away from work. Where can we go? And what can we do for cheap? We figured we would google cruise deals. What we didn’t know was Christmas is the time for cruise deals.  She and I decided to take 5 days off… go down to Florida and take a cruise to the Bahamas. Now here are two people that do not drive… and don’t have the money to fly… talking about going down to Orlando. well Port Canaveral (Insert Eyeroll here.)

She and I ended up having a guy friend/co-worker drive us down in his two-door sedan. Great guy. But I often wonder what we were all thinking. At this time in my life… I hate the 8-hour drive/ride to Orlando. I have done it way too many times at this point. I made the executive decision that next time I go… if I go… (if I can convince my friends…) I will be flying. (Delta if I am flying with Leah.) It was an adventure. We ended up in a hotel for a few hours and then shuttled over to the boat. Not having any idea what to expect, tired and hungry, we found our room. A week before Christmas, we found ourselves in an interior room. (We didn’t know any better.) Interior rooms are usually the cheapest on a cruise ship but what we weren’t prepared for was that they are at the bottom of the ship. They are the smallest. (This is an understatement.) The room was the side of a shoebox, small bathroom, and no window. Well… we had youthful optimism on our side. We figured we would never be in the room and we weren’t. But hell you live and you learn.

The good thing was there was plenty to do on the ship, most things being inclusive. I ate way too much. (That much pineapple always leaves a burn.) It was my first time out of the country ( not my travel companion though. She has studied abroad in France. How fancy.) The boat stopped in Nassau… we got to do a lot of shopping and in CocoCay. CocoCay was pretty much a beach so we got to sit and relax. I know that it was 75 degrees in the Bahamas and there was an ice storm at home. So I definitely made the right choice.

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This experience… while relaxing… shaped the way I now travel. I mean… the more you know. I had no idea what to expect… we didn’t do a lot of vacations growing up (unless you count road trips to NYC to see family. I did thoroughly enjoy those.) I realized that if I saved my money and prepaid… I got actually book excursions instead of just sitting on the beach. (There are people that like that sort of thing.) Since this first one, I have been to the Bahamas another time with a different friend. Same cruise line though. We ended up spending time in the Atlantis waterpark there so that was cool.

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A hurricane was going to hit so we weren’t able to head to CocoCay the ship came back to the states. The Bahamas is a great, short, and cheap cruise. Or at least it was a few years ago. (More on that later.) 3-4 days for about $300-$400. I had also been to Jamaica and Grand Caymen on a Carnival cruise with a friend of mine. I was able to talk him into riding the ATV’s. First time trying that out so that was fun.

When it came time for another group trip, there were two things I wanted to do. The first was to tell my siblings living in Florida so they could decide to come with. The second was to figure out what everyone wanted to do. The interesting thing about this trip was trying to narrow down what everyone wanted to do. With so many friends going, (about 10 of us), it took a while to narrow down where we were going to go. We had to get everyone to agree on the date, location, and length of the trip. Not to mention the cruise line. There was a person that was not interested in visiting Haiti… There was another person that didn’t want to go to Cozumel. (I am still intrigued at seeing it but enough people voted against me. lol.) I didn’t want to venture back to the Bahamas again… (And just to let you guys know… they have actually built a waterpark in CocoCay. There is a lot to do now. How annoying after I have already been there twice. Will I ever revisit it? Well maybe.)

We did eventually decide on Carnival (I mean it has Guy’s Burger Joint.) We knew that it was going to be an 8 day trip. So we chose the 4 best destinations:

  • St. Kitts
  • St. Maarten
  • Grand Turk
  • Puerto Rico

I usually pick cruise destinations by the excursions I can do in each port. (Now people have told me in the past that they like to get there and haggle with people about using jet skis and all that essentially creating their own excursions. The only issue I have with that is… It is easy to end up getting left behind by the cruise ship. Normally, the excursion is able to contact the cruise ship if something ends up running behind schedule. So they don’t leave without you.) Getting left behind is a big deal… because you can cruise without a passport. But if you get left behind… you can’t fly back into the country without one. Excursions were a big deal because… my sister was coming with… so I didn’t have to talk anyone into ziplining with me. The only downside is Mariah is down for all the things…  I should have known better because when I asked her what she was comfortable doing… she said… “Whatever you want. I am down.” She’s scary lol. I told her that I had settled on ziplining in Saint Kitts and riding ATV’s in Grand Turk. She never batted an eye. Since I had been on cruises before in all different rooms… I opted Mariah in for a room with a balcony. When talking to my brother (Mansa), I asked him if he would be upgrading to a balcony room and his response was… “Why? You got a balcony, mom has got a balcony. It is like I have one too.” (If you guys need an extra brother let me know.)

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What was funny is that when my mother heard that my sister and one of the brothers was coming… she took it upon herself to join us. I really thought she was bluffing. But she definitely called my bluff by calling up Carnival Cruise line and dropping the $500. My mother is not really into gathering and vacationing in the traditional aspect. My mind was blown when she decided that was what she was going to do. She revealed she had no interest in leaving the boat when we get to the destinations… I was more blown away because my mom is claustrophobic and has high anxiety. Cruise cabins aren’t that large and I wondered if she was going to be able to deal with that. Also, she is heavily allergic to seafood… so there was a bit of worry there because I know they serve a LOT of seafood on the boat. In the end… it turned out for the best.

My mother mentioned the cruise to my grandmother and my aunt. Now.. unlike my mother… my grandmother and aunt have been all over the world and have been on several cruises. They even took my cousin on a cruise to Europe and one to Alaska. They have been all over. You could call them cruise veterans. They decided that they would come along as well. This trip became a large group one very quickly. It was all good though. I knew everyone was going to get along so no worries. My grandmother, cousin, and aunt flew down to Orlando… they were the smart ones. At 3 am… My mother and I pile into the car and start heading down to Orlando…. (The ride itself can be uneventful if you aren’t caught in a speed trap in one of those small towns between Atlanta and Florida. Those tickets can be anywhere from $1000-$1500… what a crock of shit in most cases. I had one friend drive down to Port Canaveral and got a ticket and my mother who got one on the way back from another trip we took.) In any case, we made good time. But unlike with road trips as a kid, I get bored and stiff on this trip. (7.5 to 8 hours is just too long.) My mother has a playlist she likes to listen to OVER AND OVER again. We never agree on music and not in the mom/daughter way you think. (My mother loves gangsta rap or rap in general… DMX, Biggie, etc, etc… (It helps with her writing her books… She actually decided that she was going to come and write for the week.) We finally made it… (Nothing like seeing the boat while driving up.)

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Usually, I don’t like to drive for more than just being stiff as a board when we arrive. I usually do not want to pay to park… and the longer your cruise… the higher you have to pay. I tried to tell my mom not to pack lightly because I knew we would need to walk through security and there a long stretch before you get to the boat. She had a hard time and luckily we ran into Mariah and Mansa. They were the good children. (I had my own luggage to carry. I know… bad daughter right?) We have to wait for those to put cash on their accounts before all boarding the boat together. Being on a cruise before, I knew the dining room is closed. But we were starving… I do know that the buffets are all open and SUPER CROWDED. But I was hankering for a burger… a GUY’s burger… (Man do I love Guy Fieri… You guys have got to see Guy’s Grocery Games.) In the end, the choice came down to the Burger Joint or the Blue Iguana… (if you guys knew how much I love burgers.)

My grandmother and my aunt had been out on the lido deck for hours… because of course, they flew. It was great to meet up with everyone and eat. Mariah and I head to our room to drop things off… It was my first time having a balcony and I was impressed. It was a good-sized room and a good space outside. She and I started our photoshoot as any older sister would do with her younger sister. Shout out to her for getting me some sunglasses.

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Now, I am not sure at this point where we went first but I do remember it was two days on the ship to get to the first destination. One thing that stood out in my mind was the comedy club. We spent a lot of time after dinner waiting on the adult shows… (Carnival had the shows broken down between kid-friendly and adult.) The guy Spike was hilarious. I think we saw every adult show he did. It was great to take a few hours after dinner and relax and meet up for a comedy show. It is even better when your siblings are old enough… we settled in… had a few drinks and enjoyed the show. Spike saw us on the ship and was nice enough to take pictures. Great guy.

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From this point on, I will be talking about highlights… or things that stood out to me the most. We on the ship for 8 days…I do not remember everything that went down every day… I am getting old lol.

Waterworks

What does stand out to me was that there was no rocking climbing wall on this ship. I remember doing it on one of my cruises to the Bahamas. What the Carnival Sunshine did have was the Waterworks… which my family (with the exclusion of my mother got dressed and headed to try out.) Ever see your grandmother take a water slide down? Mariah and I looked over to see a giant splash. It’s the way you know someone finished their journey down. There was no one but my grandmother climbing off the slide. Good times, good times. What I didn’t realize is that this area varies from ship to ship. On the Carnival Sunshine, there were four large water slides all different colors.

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My brother, Mansa, had purchased a gopro and could not wait to use it on these slides. I think the next time I take a trip… (I plan on doing a winter trip in the future…. and learning to snowboard.) Nothing better than having that footage you know. But he seemed to have a blast. I don’t think I ever got as fast as he did. But it was good times nonetheless. He seems like he had fun right?

SkyZone

The next time we had a free day… We decided to tackle the Sky Zone. Which was essentially a ropes course on the ship. It was so windy that day… the funny thing was that I was struggling while younger kids were conquering the course no problem. (Kids have no fear man. LOL.) I decided to follow Mariah… She has no fear guys. I mean seriously. Her concentration was sharp. Her mind was a steel trap. I knew I wasn’t going to go ahead of her… but trying the rope after her was nerve-racking too. But at least she was talking me through what I needed to do. But I would like to point out… there were two sides to the ropes course. Easy and Hard side… we were on the easy side… LOL… we all made it but it was a struggle.

St. Kitts – Ziplining

When the bought docked in St. Kitts, Mariah and I took our passes and headed out for ziplining. All of the people had to gather and sign a waiver… (BTW waivers generally freak me out… ARE YOU SAYING I AM GOING TO DIE?) What was great was they had a practice area where everyone was able to get suited up and fitted for helmets and test work on the technique. The helmet was a bit of an issue for me… (I had too much hair… I was almost defeated but Mariah made sure to get the helmet on me.) She was like a woman possessed. Shot out to her again because I would not have been able to do this excursion. Which I may not have thought was a good thing at the time.

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What gave me the biggest misconception was the practice area that we were in. I did not think ziplining was going to be that big of a deal. I was lulled into a false sense of security. Once everyone had the technique down we were jostled into a van and head up the mountain. I don’t know why I didn’t think this through. On the ride up, I had so much anxiety. Luckily, Mariah was there. The ride was bumpy and we just kept climbing higher and higher. (This is like when Mariah and I were at Six Flags, and we got on the Goliath… I let her talk me into sitting in the front… I remember having a conversation… we were talking and talking and talking… We still hadn’t reached the top. I decided at the last second I didn’t want to ride. But alas… it was TOO LATE. lol.) But I made a last will and testament. Someone should know what to give who when I am gone. (Leah doesn’t know but she has to take my whole manga collection.)

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There was a great view at the top. But I had decided that I was not going down. Mariah being who she is would not hear of it. I was prepared to let the people keep the money that I paid for the excursion… ($300) and wait for Mariah at the bottom. She told me she would not hear of paying for something and not doing it. She basically told me that she would give a 300 kick if I didn’t. Looking at the view at the top of the mountain didn’t help. But I got up there and did it. (One of the best things I did on vacation. No matter how long I live, I will always remember ziplining with my sister.)

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Mariah went first. No hesitation and went for it. My turn next. No turning back now. If I don’t come down after her there will be hell to pay. So down I went…

She was impressed. There were only about 6 lines down the mountain. Which was great for me. I am not sure I could have taken more. It ended when it was supposed to. We managed to get to the bottom. The last line being ridden side by side.

 

We were able to take pictures with the crew and even hold their monkey. (Don’t ask me why they had a monkey. Or why Mariah wanted to take pictures with it.)

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Good Times. It was an experience. I am not sure I would ever do it again. But I am glad I did it here. Anyone going St. Kitts via Carnival cruise in the future… (Not sure how the COVID-19 will affect travel in the future.) I recommend the ziplining.

Grand Turk – ATV Adventure

As I have stated before, I went on an ATV adventure in Jamaica. Super fun. So I knew I was going to enjoy this. I knew that if anyone would want to do it… it would be Mariah. Mansa had already been on a cruise and rode ATV’s in whatever city he stopped at in Mexico. I wanted to see Mariah’s reaction. So when it came time to disembark, we got off early… (Our ATV time wasn’t until late afternoon.)

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My sister being the photographer she is wanted to take pictures under the giant GRAND TURK sign. That took a while since it seemed like everyone on the island wanted to do that.

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We spent some time down by the beach before heading over to get food. I got to watch people ride by on jetskis. (I promise I am going to get to do that on a trip here soon. It is still on my bucket list.) There were even people who were on their parasailing journey.

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Because we were off the boat so early, we were able to hang out and get food at the Margaritaville and get in the pool. Nothing better than getting your food and watching people fall on the surf machine.

The weather was great. Something about cruising in August instead of September. (September is hurricane season. Generally, we avoid September when talking about cruising. It is usually cheaper but in the end, your trip may be cut short.) The place was crowded… we weren’t the only ones that wanted to eat off the boat. (Nothing wrong with eating on the boat. A lot of it is free but sometimes you just want to experience what the Island has to offer.)

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The issue then became trying to find a place by the pool to wait for ATV time. It took a minute but we were able to get seats poolside and relax our minds.

We managed to get to the group on time and get fitted for our helmets and pick our ATV’s. The first thing that stood out to me was how different these looked from the ones I rode in Jamaica 3 years before. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to handle this. Take a look for yourself. This is me in 2015 in Jamaica. I wish I had a scarf or something because I came off of this one being super dusty.

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And then this was what we got in Grand Turk. (Both were great btw… just different.)

No cages this time.

This was a guided tour. However, unlike the tour, I did in Jamaica, this one was through the streets of Grand Turk. I remember the tour guide saying… “A lot of you guys are visiting from the United States where you drive on the right side of the road. Just remember here it is the opposite. So keep in mind that left is right and right is suicide.” Talk about the jitters beforehand. But it was pretty easy to follow them. It was great because we were able to stop and take pictures and they even provided us with free waters. If I get another chance to ride an ATV somewhere… I will take it.

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I noticed Mariah was extremely quiet. This never happens. She told me when we got off to take pictures that she had to concentrate and make sure she didn’t end up on the wrong side of the road.

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Had a good time. It was a two-hour tour. We headed back to the ship to get food. We were tired but happy. The dining rooms are normally closed on a disembarkation day. So we had Guy’s Burger Joint to choose from or the Blue Iguana and those things close pretty early when it is time to shove off again. So I got tacos… (That is a close second for me to cheeseburgers.)

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San Juan, Puerto Rico

Now, this was after Hurricane Maria… and if I was paying more attention I would have chosen a cruise with a different destination. Maybe it was too soon to be visiting. But when we arrived the city was beautiful. If I hadn’t known a devastating storm passed through the area, I wouldn’t have believed it. My siblings and I decided that we were going to take a stroll around the city. Such history all over. I loved it. Nothing better than walking around a new place with family.

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It was great to be able to walk around in another US city and get cell service (which is spotty at best in other places.) I was able to call my dad. In the meantime, we got food. (Tacos, which interestingly enough people felt that I should have bought something else. People love to complain about something.) There was so much great architecture… Old San Juan has the best most colorful streets.

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There is nothing better than seeing the Umbrella Street up close.  My niece was thoroughly entertained by it.

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Just great scenery where ever you looked. It was the most peaceful setting.

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I had so much fun and all I was doing was wandering around. It was great to experience that with my family. Great music was being played… it was easy to sit back and relax and enjoy my time there.

In the end, my family and I had a lot of fun. Great times, good people, and great food. It really is all I can ask for.

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But that is my blurb for now. I have said this would be my last cruise for a while… But I have a lot of other places that I want to visit. And I get there and explore… you guys will know about it.