Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Today, I bring you a lesson on the amount of perseverance it takes to be a Peace Corps volunteer. I woke this morning with plans of staying in bed all day in order to read the fifth Game of Thrones book. Then John William called and asked if he could bring his health promoters youth group to my site to give charlas to the kids here. Once I realized that I would have to spend my day being a functioning part of society I decided to make the best of it.

I got out of bed, got ready for the day, and decided to try to fix my electric oven. I bought my oven a year ago and had a few glorious months of cooking (cake! cookies! pizza!) before it stopped working. I used the screwdriver on my Swiss army knife to open up the part of the cord that plugs into the oven and saw that the wires had burned through. I shaved off the plastic coating on the cord to expose the wires and twisted it back around the screws. I plugged the oven into my extension cord and was overjoyed when it heated up.

A few weeks ago, a friend delivered me homemade chocolate cookies with caramel frosting. They were delicious and I decided to try to recreate them. I mixed up chocolate cookie dough and dropped a couple of cookies onto my baking sheet. I placed them in the oven and started looking for a frosting recipe that doesn't require powdered sugar.

A few minutes later, I went to check on the oven and saw that it was no longer working. I looked at the outlet and saw that the plug had melted the outlet. Despite my best efforts, I could not save the oven and officially had to call it a loss. I also realized that my extension cord was no longer working so I also preformed emergency surgery on that (which led to one pretty gnarly electric shock when I forgot that I had plugged it back in and had to fix it again).

So I now was faced with a big bowl of chocolate cookie dough and no way to cook it. I was pretty frustrated because I had been super excited about making cookies (and had let myself dream of homemade pizza for supper). I was also a little afraid because I knew I would eat that whole bowl of cookie dough it remained in my presence and would probably die.

At this point, I didn't even really want the cookies anymore. I had attempted to fix my oven twice. I had shocked myself while fixing my extension cord. I had lost my dreams of pizzas and other baked deliciousness. I was discouraged. I was tired.

I was determined.

It was time to pull out the big guns. I put on my old, disintegrating UW-Whitewater sweatshirt (it turns seven this year) and turned on “The Devil Wears Prada”. And then I used my trusty Kindle to Google ways to cook cookies on a stove top. Google failed me.

But an idea did come to me. I put my stove on the lowest flame possible and buttered and floured my skillet. I added more flour to the dough to make it thicker and spread the dough into the skillet. I put the cookie sheet on top of the skillet and crossed my fingers.

Amazingly, it worked! The bottom burned a little bit but I was able to bake one big skillet sized chocolate cookie bar of deliciousness. I topped my cookie with a tasty buttercream frosting. I probably should have stopped there but I still wanted to make caramel. This ended as a bit of a disaster and left me with a burned finger, a ruined pot, and caramel all over my shoe.

Despite my disastrous attempt at candy making, I’m pretty proud of the outcome. Sure they took four hours to make and left my room a complete mess. Yeah I ate so much cookie dough in the process that I don't even want to look at the actual cookies right now. But I didn't give up.

I mostly write this for any employers who read this blog. If someone comes into your office with “Peace Corps volunteer” on their resume, you should understand what that means. Peace Corps volunteers are master problem solvers. No milk? Use the evaporated stuff. No plates? Use a Frisbee. No shower? Use baby wipes.

So, Employers of America, hire the Peace Corps volunteer. Trust that, no matter the situation, they'll be able to McGyver something to fix it.

Hire the Peace Corps volunteer. (Especially if that Peace Corps volunteer is me.)

No comments: