A hot buttery mess

by Emma Epperly (United States of America)

The last thing I expected France

I headed solo to Brussels, Belgium. I was staying in a cute studio apartment, half a block from the Grand Place. The area was loud with touristy night life. That first night I went out to dinner and then had a beer and watched some football at a bar near the apartment. The next morning, I saw that the apartment had a microwave. Just the sight of a microwave made me homesick. I decided that I HAD to make some popcorn that night to indulge my craving. I got to the apartment, turned on a movie and tossed the popcorn in the microwave. I perched on the bed across the room from the microwave, listening to the popcorn pop. I used my favorite trick of counting three seconds in between pops; when you hit three seconds that means your popcorn is done. When I opened the microwave door, flames jumped up and hit the cabinet above the microwave. I screamed and then I froze. Fear rushed through my body. I knocked over all the dishes in the sink, dumping everything out of the used French press and filling it up with water. I started tossing water on the fire. It wasn’t stopping. I kept dumping water on it. Rushing to refill the French press as fast as I could, then dumping half the water on my feet. There was still one large flame left. I filled up the thing again, dumping it on the remaining flame. Then I filled it up one last time dumping it over the smoldering ashes. My hands started shaking as I tried to open the nearby window to let out the smoke. I took a step back to look at the mess I had just made, praying the fire alarm wouldn’t go off. There was smoke wafting out the open window, water splashed across the floor, and a giant melted black popcorn bag sitting in the microwave. I almost just burned down an entire apartment building because I wanted popcorn so bad. While it wasn’t necessarily the popcorn’s fault or even my own, it did teach me a lesson. Homesickness is normal and it appears in bizarre ways. I was homesick for a microwave, a kitchen that was familiar, and a snack that helps me relax. When I left for a long stay in Europe, I knew I would be out of my comfort zone and would probably get a little homesick. I had no idea I would get so homesick that I almost burned down Brussels, but still, it was to be expected. So, while I still haven’t had my popcorn, I have learned a valuable lesson. You will never know what will make you homesick and when you find out, you don’t necessarily have to have it.