Thursday, March 8, 2012

Master Chef vs Survivor

Have you ever tried to make something in the kitchen only to find yourself running out of both available bench space as well as clean chopping boards and then facing one set back after another?
That was my cooking experience tonight.  
I was making lasagna.  It's a family favorite, something that we don't eat in Thailand very often, a real treat and rare that we even have all the ingredients in stock.
I'd made the meat sauce and that went reasonably smoothly, other than the fact that both my chopping boards were completely covered in carrot, tomato, onion and garlic scraps that screamed, "clean me up".
I didn't though but instead began to make the white sauce and that's when the setbacks began...
The white sauce wasn't thickening up enough so I decided to add some cornflour.  My baking containers are all squished in to a bottom cupboard and so on hands and knees, I began searching for the corn flour which, because I don't use very often, was of course, right at the back.  I needed it quickly so I pulled all the other containers out and just left them on the floor to race back to the saucepan.  
I then discovered that I had neither the bench space or the motivation to simply find a cup and combine a small amount with some liquid before adding it in.  I saw the mess on the bench and made a bad choice and just threw a bit in.... of course it just made the already thin sauce really lumpy.  
After angrily trying to beat the lumps out of it with the back of the wooden spoon, I resorted to the fact that I would have to put it in the blender.  To get to the blender, I had to move the rice cooker but there was no where for the rice cooker to sit on the already full bench, so I put it on the floor too.  
I blended the white sauce, which did the trick beautifully, but added to my pile of dishes that were now stacked high like the Eiffel Tower.  I then had to add the cheese.  Well, cheese here is very expensive so to save money I buy it in a big packet from the Thai version of Cash and Carry and freeze it!  Then I can just cut off sections when we need it.  But of course my chopping boards were still covered in vegetables peels, my bench was lost under everything... the floor {just kidding}... it was not an option. Really!  
I grabbed a clean plate from the dish drying rack, balanced it on the side of the sink and did my best to hack off what I needed.


Do you ever feel like life is a bit like this?  
You want to do (A) but you can't do it until you accomplish (B) but you can't accomplish (B) until you finish (C), but you can't finish (C) until you move from (D).  You can't move from (D) until you've achieved (E).... and so on.

I have so many things that I'd like to say, share, understand, discuss with the people here, but I can't do any of that until I can comprehend and speak Thai.  
I can't understand and speak Thai unless I practice and study all the time.  
I can't practice and study until I prioritize it and not just leave it until the night before my lesson like I {sadly} often do.

And so that's where I'm at, basically I'm in the middle a big mess!

But, you know what?  I did find the corn flour... I did stack back the containers nicely... I put back my rice cooker too... washed the dishes.... wiped the bench and mopped the floor.
You know what else?  {Not to boast} but I made a really GREAT lasagna {and dessert too!!!}.
And strangely enough, this small, insignificant task of making dinner on an ordinary Wednesday night in the North of Thailand comforts me.  Because if I can survive the small set backs in my kitchen, and reach a not-so-important 'end goal' then I am going to make it my mission to keep on trying to achieve my harder, yet much more significant, ones.
I am definitely never going to be a contestant on Master Chef but I am determined to keep-on surviving persevering here until I am speaking Thai like a local!  

What's your advice on "sticking with it"?  How do you motivate yourself to never give up despite the set backs?  Please leave us a comment below!


Anonymous said...

Andie, I have no doubt that you will accomplish all that God asks you to do! I love reading your blogs, you are so honest and encouraging, keep up the wonderful job you and Dave are doing in Thailand, and thank you for sharing your journey with us.
Love Sharon

Cross Family said...

Thanks Sharon. We'll be seeing you in a few months.... dates coming soon!!