The Astromaid Chronicles

Slow Travel, Creative Living, and Speculation

Tag: back in ohio

Beware The Onion Look-Alikes!

Shannon here, after a very long hiatus, after a very long and productive spring.

I have one message for you all:

BEWARE THE ONION LOOK-ALIKES.

What does this mean? you might be asking. Let me explain.

A few nights ago, Jorge wanted to cook a meat-and-veggie stew. He’s very good at these. It’s definitely something we’ve planned to offer in our eventual Argentinian restaurant. The sauce, the veggies, the meat, the spices–it’s all so very delicious and subtle and mixing.

However, when Jorge set out to make this stew the other night, he told (re: whined to) me, “But Shannon, we’re out of onion!”

“Go to Kroger and get some yourself,” I said. “You have a truck and legs. Go on.”

He didn’t go to Kroger. Instead, he set out to make the stew onion-less. I admit, I was a little disappointed. Onion makes everything better, for some reason. The same reason why I get a little sad when someone tells me they didn’t have garlic for a particular dish. Like, come on, people–these are basics. It’s a sad day when you run out of onion or garlic and can’t replace it.

But I digress. I was working upstairs in my office this evening at my newer part-time job, so I wasn’t around for much of the cooking part. When I came downstairs later to check in on all the tantalizing smells wafting upstairs, an exuberant Jorge greeted me.

“I found onion,” he tells me. “Look!”

Inside the pot, slices of onion simmer alongside potato, carrot and steak bits. I nod appreciatively. “Where did you get it?”

“From outside.” He swirls the spoon inside the pot.

I think about this. Duh. We have green onion outside in the planter, growing, healthy and green, lovely and onion-y! Of course! I take another look at it. But that bulb looks way too big to be the green onion I’d been cultivating. Those onion roots are usually slender and small. This root was bulbous and hefty.

Small, slender roots of the green onion. Mmm...delicious.

Small, slender roots of the green onion. Mmm…delicious. [Photo Credit: www.wisegeek.com]

But I didn’t say anything. I figured, hey, what do I know? I planted those green onions last September. Their underground parts might have gotten very large in the interim. Who am I to judge an onion’s private soil bits?

Dinner was served. We sit down and enjoy a delightful stew. Everything was delicious–until I ate the onion slice. It was a horrible taste–so bitter and strange. I swallowed it down fast. I figured it was just one of those random disgusting tastes that sometimes inexplicably crops up in meals. Like, I dunno–a slip of the cook’s hand, something innocuous but gross, a weird bit of potato, who knows? Everything else tasted fine, so I didn’t think much of it.

Dinner ends, and I hurry back upstairs to continue my work shift. Meanwhile, Jorge cleans up downstairs, turns off all the lights and tucks himself into bed. I am working in my office for awhile, and about an hour or so after we’d eaten, I begin to feel really strange.

I’m dizzy. I’m unable to concentrate. And God help me–I feel like I could puke. I NEVER. EVER. PUKE, either.

“Jorge?” I call out. “I feel sick. I feel like I might puke.”

There’s a few second’s pause on his end. Then, he replies, like in a horror movie, “Me too. I really feel like puking.”

Three minutes later, while I’m sitting at my desk trying to convince myself I’m just hallucinating the nausea, Jorge rushes from our bed to the bathroom and begins puking his guts out.

“I love you,” I tell him feebly from my office, which is right next to the bathroom, while he retches his face off. “I’d come help you if I weren’t afraid of puking my guts out too.”

“It’s okay,” he tells me between heaves. “Stay in there.”

I wait for him to finish, intent on consoling him once he’s done retching. But once I hear the water running as he’s rinsing his mouth out, I feel a familiar sensation. A hot rush of sick barreling from stomach to throat. Dizziness, heat, and discomfort creeping through every cell of my body. I rush to the bathroom, put my face into the same toilet he’s used for the past ten minutes.

And I puke my face off, too.

“IT WAS THE ONIONS,” I wail as I empty the contents of my stomach. “THEY WEREN’T RIGHT.”

Later, once the puking has subsided slightly, he tells me the onions were slimy at the base. I google a little bit and read about others’ horrifying encounters with eating slimy onions. Vomiting, nausea, and the like. I feel distantly consoled. Like the internet is telling me, Hey, this happens to everyone. It’s okay. It was just bad onions.

I remind myself of this as I continue to vomit from midnight until 8 am every hour, on the hour.

Every thought about the stew I had eaten, or any form of any onion ever, makes me distantly nauseous, though.

Finally, I’m able to roll onto my side without puking around 8am, so I snag a few hours’ sleep. Once I’m up and about the next day, my first order of business is to uproot and dispose of all these slimy green onions I’d unknowingly cultivated. What horror in the garden! I storm outside, eager to upend all of these sinner scallions, to let them die a painful, shriveling death in the sun as a penance for our illness the night before.

When I get outside to the planter where my green onions were…I notice nothing missing.

As in, there are no green onions that had been pulled for yesterday’s dinner. Jorge had put something else into his stew. AND I HAD NO IDEA WHAT IT WAS.

When Jorge returned home that day from work, I showed him the green onion planter. “There’s nothing missing. What did you put in our stew, JORGE?”

He insisted it was onion. Onion growing on the side of the house. He gestured toward the back garden, the one up close to the house. The area of the garden where I had definitely, decidedly, never planted onion ever.

As we were walking down the driveway, he gestured toward a plant in the front garden. “It looked just like that,” he said. “Just like that onion there.”

My gaze landed on the plant. It was no onion at all. I never planted any bulb onion in my garden, front or back. I never planted anything but the slim, slender, totally innocuous, non-vomit-worthy green onion.

Jorge had pointed to the daffodils.

We ate a motherfucking daffodil in our stew.

Jorge pulled the daffodil in the middle stage, without the flower. Just when it looks exactly like a green onion.

Jorge pulled the daffodil in the middle stage, without the flower. Just when it looks exactly like a green onion.

Now it all made sense. Why else would we have puked our guts out like some modern rendition of the Exorcist: Food Edition? We had literally poisoned ourselves, as evidenced by any google search on Daffodils:

All parts of the bulb are toxic to people and animals, but the toxicity level is low unless you eat a large quantity. For example, a handful of bulbs is considered toxic, while one bite may lead to an upset stomach. If you accidentally ingest lycorine, you may begin to have stomach problems, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, as well as salivating, trembling, depression, convulsions and tremors. [Why Are Daffodils Dangerous?]

We had nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, salivating, trembling, and a whole lot of depression regarding WHY IS THIS PURPORTED ONION TRYING TO KILL ME?

Yeah, just an accidental dinner-time poisoning. OOPS.

Jorge felt horrible throughout all of this, I should mention. He stayed up with me while I puked the night away, and felt so badly for causing all of this terror from one simple stew. Once we found out it was a daffodil instead of a rotten onion, he felt even worse. Who harvests daffodils instead of onions? It’s a mistake anyone could make, I suppose, if you aren’t well-acquainted with your wife’s sprawling garden.

At any rate, we’re much better now, and definitely on the healthy side of our unintentional daffodil poisoning.

We’ve both learned what slimy onions can do to someone’s gut as well as the accidental daffodil, so I hope all of you will take all of these lessons to heart and avoid both rotten onions and perfectly good daffodils during your next home-cooked meal.

The Changing of the Tides

One of the only certainties of life is change. What goes up comes down, what recedes will swell, what backpacks to South America will someday return to North America with a frightening array of alpaca sweaters.

It’s the only constant. Back, forth, up, down, back, around, and again.

Despite knowing this, I didn’t quite expect myself end up back in Sandusky. I knew I would always be visiting home, but I hadn’t counted on my roots calling me home so quickly.

There’s something sublime about Home. It’s not just one characteristic, but rather the seamless and elegant blend of so many blessings. How could I choose just one? There’s family here; there’s four seasons and marshes; there’s my community of friends; there’s art and music; there’s my childhood memories; there’s the freaking lake; there’s Cameo pizza; there’s hummus freely available in the grocery stores.

I’ve pined for these different characteristics to varying degrees for about three years, sometimes missing each one viscerally, like a knife point in the heart; and other times just feeling the absence like a dull throb, a lingering stubbed toe.

There’s no world journey without feeling the quiet pulse of one of these sensations, like a quiet murmur in your ear. You just can’t quite shake it entirely, whether it’s the scorching smell of spring that nearly brings you to your knees with it’s familiarity of home, or maybe overhearing compatriots speaking with your accent or hometown slang. Jorge feels it when we are away from Argentina, too; we both feel it when we leave a place that we made home, like Valparaiso, Chile, or the Sacred Valley in Peru.

We’ve left pieces of our hearts around the world, a trail that leads us back to good times and fond memories. And in following the trail around the world, we’ve made our way back to Ohio.

But why OHIO of all places?

Well, for a few reasons.

One: because missing home began to hurt. Like, a lot. It took leaving home to realize how strong my roots were, and that call finally reached a fever pitch. I want more time than the frantic, one-month whirlwind; more elbow room to make plans, have dinners, make memories with my people.

Two: because Jorge wants to learn English! And boy, is he cute when he speaks it.

Three (and most importantly): because we’re getting married!

In my wildest fantasies of where my life might take me, three years ago I never imagined that this path might lead me right back to my hometown, with the love of my life at my side, preparing to seal the legal deal.

I never even imagined meeting a man like Jorge, or that he would become my partner so fluidly, so effortlessly. I have yet to write about how we met, or what it was like in the beginning (and that story is coming!), but he was the man who met me and wasn’t afraid to take the leap with me. Sure, let’s move around cities in South America and see what happens. He’s a badass and I couldn’t be more grateful to have him in my life. Oh Jorge, let me count the ways!

Jorge and I when we met, in March 2013 -- Valparaiso, Chile.

Jorge and I on the night we met, in March 2013 — Valparaiso, Chile.

Jorge and I in July 2015--Akron, OH

Jorge and I in July 2015–Akron, OH

I also never imagined I might be moving into my own Sandusky pad, complete with a tiny orange office space and back yard and free landscaping reign, which will mark my first ever rental in this fair city. (And the first time I’ve had to schedule garbage pick-up. Can’t I just tie it in a plastic bag and toss it in the plaza corner like every other South American country?)

I never imagined I’d be scouting reception venues and gathering my girlfriends so we can hunt for a damn dress (groan). Or that I’d even be confronting the issue of marriage and reception planning. Spoiler alert: I never wanted a traditional wedding, and I STILL don’t!

I couldn’t have seen any of this, and despite the fantastical weirdness of it, despite how surprising it still sounds even to my own ears, it is the truest and most organic journey I’ve ever been on.

The Horgs is the only man I’d say yes to. We’re life partners, a fact that we both feel to the marrow of our bones and back again. Travel has had a lot to do with our certainty on this front. We’ve shared so much  together, and being on the road has fortified us in a way that makes it easier to look to the unknown and know that it’s gonna turn out all right with him by my side.

People write a lot of articles about why travel is the best thing a couple can do together. I might be the next writer to add my two cents to that debate, as well.

So that’s it, folks! We’re going to be in Ohio for about a year. That’s all we can commit to for now—the travel urge pricks hard, and there’s no telling what we might be ready for in a year. If you’ve ever talked to us about our future plans, you’ll know that we have business ideas in Central America, and other ideas for around these parts. The future is brimming with possibilities!

But for right now, first thing’s first.

Time to marry this Argentinian.

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