Three months ago, I quit my job, got married, and traveled 3,000 miles to begin my new domestic adventure. Living in a tropical paradise, sleeping in every day, and being minutes from the beach were all a dream come true. For months prior to my last day of work, I dreamed about the sweet escape island life would offer me. No more three hour round-trip commute into Downtown Los Angeles every day or having to sit in a desk chair for 8 hours.
Other than missing my family and friends, leaving sunny SoCal was an easy decision. The six months of school my husband still had to complete seemed like the perfect extended vacation for me. Sure I wouldn’t have my car, fast food restaurants for those days where I didn’t feel like cooking, or a steady job that provided an income and security; but, I was being given the gift of relaxation and time. I had lavish plans: I would cook gourmet meals every day, run on the beach to get toned and fit, and expand my horizons. Maybe I could even teach myself calligraphy and begin an online Etsy store to sell my work. After all, I had nothing but time now.
In my newfound role as domestic goddess, I decided that I first needed to master the art of cooking. It couldn’t be that hard – I had an entire Pinterest board full of recipes that I couldn’t wait to try. I settled on a Honey Sriracha Chicken recipe, mostly because I was craving Chinese, and also because it didn’t seem to be too difficult. I was confident that I could have the whole meal ready by the time my husband came home from a long day of studying. I gathered my ingredients on the counter for easy access and scanned the recipe a second time to see if I had forgotten anything.
Wait a second…cornstarch? That wasn’t an ingredient I just had lying around considering that we were on a limited student’s budget and only kept the necessities around. Okay no problem, I thought, I’ll just head to the local Target…
[bctt tweet=”After all, I had nothing but time now.” username=”wearethetempest”]
But there was no Target in Grenada. The only place that would be selling cornstarch was the local grocery store that was a 10-minute bus ride away. I would have to leave my apartment, catch a bus to campus, then take another bus to get to the grocery store. Never mind – cornstarch couldn’t possibly be crucial to the recipe anyway. I would just fry the chicken plain and the sauce could be a little watery.
Excitement returned as I turned on the stove and began frying the chicken pieces.
Excitement dampened, however, when I realized that frying on “low heat” wasn’t an option on this millions-of-years-old stove. No matter how many times I turned the dial, the flame burned bright and large, shattering my dreams of evenly cooked and delicious poultry. I watched in horror as my chicken turned golden brown (but wasn’t cooked from the inside), brown, and then finally charred black.
Anxiety increased as I kept one eye on the clock and threw in the ingredients to cook my sauce. I needed to stir until it came to a boil – which never happened because the stove shut off five minutes before the sauce would have been done. We needed a new gas tank. I didn’t even know where the gas tank was, much less how to change it. Admitting defeat, I slumped on the couch and waited for my husband to come home to witness my failure as a housewife.
[bctt tweet=”Anxiety increased as I kept one eye on the clock.” username=”wearethetempest”]
“Something smells…” he trailed off, wrinkling his nose, as he walked into the apartment and collapsed on the couch next to me.
“God I hate this stove, it’s too high, the chicken burned, and how the hell am I supposed to go get cornstarch without a car!” I wailed, covering my eyes in frustration and disgrace. I was met with silence and peeked out of my fingers to see him grinning at me.
“Hey babe, you wanna order some pizza?”
At that point, I had to laugh. “We can’t. We don’t even have a Grenadian phone to order delivery.”
We dissolved into a fit of laughter as we got up to check on the remnants of our ruined dinner. As he poked at the burnt chicken, and I stirred the half-done sauce, we turned to each other in unison:
“Let’s walk to the pizza place!”
As we put on our flip flops and headed into the night air, my husband turned to me with a hint of apprehension in his eyes and asked, “Do you wish you were back in California?”
[bctt tweet=”And once we got a new gas tank, I’d try something a little simpler.” username=”wearethetempest”]
I smiled knowing it was a very real fear of his – that I hated where he’d brought me – and looked around at the quiet darkness and the magnificent view of the stars you didn’t find in LA.
“No, I think I’ll be just fine here.”
Soon enough we’d be back in the States and I would be rousing myself out of bed at 6 AM to trek to my full-time job. Until then, I was content living where others just came to honeymoon. And honey sriracha chicken may have been out of my league tonight, but I’d get there eventually. And once we got a new gas tank, I’d try something a little simpler…maybe a nice pot of fried rice?