Growing up, I never really cooked much, I really never felt that I had to. I always told myself that I would just marry someone who cooks; if I ever got married. I was never going to have kids either, yuck, the thought of a screaming, pooping and drool covered monster; no thank you. I was going to be successful in the medical field and sleep with lots of hot doctors, just like on Grey’s Anatomy. Fast forward a few years and my life completely changed due to my parents’ divorce. I did not want to end up like my mom, so I decided not to stay around the same guys in California, because I thought they were all douchebags like my dad. I decided to join the “World’s Greatest Air Force” because I was not completely ready for the real world, having only a high school education. Little did I know the Air Force was very much the real world and my first assignment would be nearly seven thousand miles away at Incirlik Air base, Turkey.
For my first few months in Turkey I felt pretty alone and the worst time was dinner time. I had offers from people to go eat but being the “new girl” meant those offers mostly came from thirsty guys, or girls. I was not ready for all that being so far from home for the first time, so I would eat my food in my dorm room. I had a kitchen but I never really thought about using it because I had fresh food made for every meal a couple of yards away from my room. If I wasn’t eating the food conveniently located at the chow hall, I could just call up and order delicious Turkish food to be delivered to my room from right off base. Once I started making friends through my job (which was Security Forces) I started cooking here and there. It wasn’t until I really started craving some good ole Mexican food that I realized I needed to get my butt in the kitchen and get to cooking. To my surprise, I was not that bad because I would get recipes from my grandma or look them up on Pinterest, and before you knew it I was a kitchen queen. I had people stopping by my room to grab burritos or whatever tasty treat I made before we went out for the night. I would cook to feed an army so I made sure they took food to go so they had a drunk treat for later. Then just as quickly as my time in Turkey came, it went. It was time for me to move on to a new base in a very different country, England.
It was a cold day in England, just like any other, in that dreary ass country. It was cloudy and I was not thrilled to be at work because I hated my job with a passion. I have never really been interested in law enforcement. I was not assigned to a flight yet, which would basically just determine which shift I would work: days, swings or nights. I was doing on the job training with the day shift and only working half the day. I was assigned to a patrol on the south side of base and when it was time for me to leave I met another patrol at a halfway point to be picked up. That was when I saw him with his perfect blonde hair, ole Neil Patrick Harris looking ass. I was trying to play it cool while these nerds tried to chat me up, but NPH was the one I really wanted to talk to. I eventually got assigned to his flight, so I took that as my opportunity to pounce, ugh I mean flirt, because I am a lady of course.
My pouncing, I mean flirting, strategy worked because about a month later we were basically living together. He would drive me to my dorm after work so I could get my stuff and then we would drive to his house until he finally told me to just leave my stuff there. We would go workout with our flight and then head home to chill for the night. He would “cook” dinner, which was usually a frozen meal he just needed to add water to and cook in a skillet. He did surprise me one time by making spaghetti from scratch; which was delicious. I was feeling pretty spoiled being chauffeured around since I was twenty with no license and having a man cook for me. It was almost what I had in mind for myself, almost.
We tried going out a few times on dates, but it was always a nightmare. The closest town to really enjoy the night life was about 45 minutes away, in the town of the famous University of Cambridge. The good thing about England is the drinking age is eighteen; the bad thing about England is the drinking age is eighteen. Imagine a bunch of sloppy college kids at a club; bad, right? Now imagine a bunch of eighteen year old inexperienced drinkers in a club, total nightmare! We were completely put off by the horrible crowd and the over-priced watered down drinks; so we became the “Netflix and chill” couple.
After a few months of playing Call of Duty Zombies, watching Workaholics, living off Coors Light and whatever he cooked, he finally said the dreaded words, “You can cook sometime if you’d like.” Okay, they weren’t that horrible but damn, I was getting used to being spoiled. I took it as an opportunity to show off what I could do. After all, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right? I made him enchiladas, salsa, rice, beans and made sure we had Corona-Ritas; I pretty much swept him off his feet. He may as well have got down on one knee right then and there. His best friend always told him that he’d end up with a Mexican girl. I may only be half and pretty much white washed from being raised by the beach in Southern California (West Coast, Best Coast), but hey close enough. We may have not gotten engaged that night, but it didn’t take much longer after that.
He proposed in the capitol of Scotland, Edinburgh, and I was completely caught off guard. He proposed the last night of some festival that was taking place so as we were celebrating on the balcony with a little bubbly, we could see the fireworks going off at the Castle. Take notes, fellas, because it was a proposal done right and it was a beautiful weekend. Ladies, don’t take after me. I replied to his, “Will you marry me?” with “Duh.” Though I am still slightly mortified by my response, I love it a little because it’s so us and our sense of humor. I became pregnant before our wedding, so I got out of the military to be a stay at home mom.
Once I got out of the military I pretty much knew my place was going to be in the kitchen for the next few years. My husband doesn’t really expect me to cook for him or anything, but I feel it’s the least I can do since he’s ‘bringing home the bacon.’ It felt very strange at first after being so independent right out of high school to be so dependent on someone again. I didn’t like it; I didn’t like washing dishes to mess them up again when I cooked dinner. I hated staying home all day, fat and having to waddle around while my husband and friends were all at work. I knew it would be the best option when the baby came but it was so hard. I decided to just throw myself into cooking and decorating. I would go so hard on meals every night, especially since it was winter and all the holidays were happening. We spent a good five hundred dollars on Christmas decorations plus the cost of the extravagant dinner and gifts. My poor husband, he just kept handing over his debit card to make sure I didn’t squish him with my belly in his sleep. I may have threatened to do it a time or two. With all the cooking I was doing and drinking I couldn’t do (he drank for two) we were both getting fat and happy. Then spring rolled around and I neared forty weeks.
Surprise, I only made it to thirty nine weeks. After a horrifying delivery and an inverted uterus with major blood loss, we had a beautiful baby boy. Kieran Wayne Wood was born on April 26, 2014 at Lakenheath Air Force Base in England. Our lives were changed forever, and so was my cooking. For the first week or so we lived off the food people brought us, sandwiches and take out. Luckily the Filipino place down the street was amazing. With my husband working nights and me breastfeeding around the clock we had to figure something out. I had to do mom friendly meals, lots of crock pot dinners were in our future. We made it work and survived being away from our friends and family in the UK with a tiny new baby. We even managed to travel to six different countries with our little baby in tow. He has more stamps in his little passport than the average American, pretty cool. He is a US citizen but didn’t step foot on American soil until after he turned one.
We returned to the United States a few days after his first birthday to my husband’s home town, which is why a California girl like me ended up in Houston. He got off active duty for now and is working and apart of the Air National Guard. He plans to start school (like I have) so he can finish his bachelor’s degree. It is a lot harder going to school with a baby than I thought it would be. I am thankful that I have an awesome husband who works so I can stay home most days with the baby and focus on my school. I would like to get into nursing and he would like to return to active duty as an officer. For now we are living at his mom’s house with our little man and living the college life. Our own version anyway, and babies are not so bad after all. They are actually really frickin’ cute with all their little rolls and tiny features; I want to eat them all up. I love my little family and if that means cooking with a precious baby on my hip while taking classes a few times a week, so be it.