Working in the Vineyards
If someone told me I could only take one thing away from this internship experience I already know exactly what it would be and I’ve only be here for two weeks. No its not the homemade food, fun family time or even the wine every night.. although all of those things have been amazing. It’s that after this I know for certain I could never make it in solitary confinement. That probably sounds a little odd to you I’m sure. Here’s the reason behind it:
When I get up at 7am I am greeted by my French host parents and then I set out for 4 and a half hours of working in the vines with 5-6 French people who only speak French. Then I come back for lunch where my host parents mainly just speak in French unless I ask my host mom something, then she will respond in English. Then I normally head back out for 3 more hours in the vines before my day is over. When I come back home my host sister, Elise, is normally back from her internship. Elise is the only person in the town that I’ve been able to hold a conversation with. So that means that everyday I spent about nine and a half hours, give or take a few, not talking. At all. Not to mention but during this time I’m also trying to listen to the other people’s conversations to see if I can tell what they are talking about which 9 times out of 10 gives me a headache from trying so hard and I end up not figuring anything out anyways.
Even though I’m surrounded by people all the time, for most of the day I can’t even talk to anyone. This is especially hard for me because as most of you know, I love to talk. Going from talking all the time to barely saying a word has been so weird for me. I would have thought it would have made me depressed not talking for almost 10 hours a day, but it hasnt. It’s just wierd. I’m not going to lie though, when everyone in the field is all talking and going on about something and I have no clue what they are talking about it can make you a little sad and left out but, I can handle that for a month. It does get awkard though when I hear one slip up and say, “Brehna” which is how they pronounce my name, when they are talking about me and I’m just like, “I don’t know what your saying but I know it’s about me.”
I think you could even go as far as to say it could be used as punishment to place someone in a cell with 5 people who all speak the same language and the other person doesn’t. Luckily I know enough French to get by and with the help from Elise I can talk to my host family in the evenings very easily. But in the end it would win out that me and solitary confinement would never, in any circumstance, be an option.
I was orginally planning on blogging more often but with early mornings and late nights with family dinners I haven’t been on my blogging game as much as I would like to but, here’s the recap from my life in France since my last post. Last weekend I had the opportunity to meet the man Elise interned with her freshman summer and meet his daughter, Julie. We spent Saturday at the beach and explored Queyrac a little bit. Sunday we didn’t end up going to Bordeaux so we just hung out at the pool. Elise and I are still planning to make a day to go to Bordeaux to see the city we just have to plan that out. You can’t not go to the wine capital of the world when you live an hour away, it’s a must see.
Then this week I worked in the vines every morning and most afternoons, apart from bottling once this week and getting an afternoon off. On Wednesday I labeled and boxed up 600 bottles of wine with Elise for the afternoon which was really fun. We talked about her school, Purpan, and how it’s a private university so she still has to pay to go there. We also talked a lot about our dad’s and their farms which was really fun to see how similar they were. Both of our dads work all the time which is a norm globally to make a farm succesful, yet still make time for their families. I know I have personally seen the passion Adrien has for his cattle and winery which reminds me so much of my dad whenever we would talk about anything related to the farm. It’s almost like I can see a little bit of my own dad when I look at Adrien which is really comforting since he’s 4,077 miles away (yes, that is the exact mileage from Queyrac to Bourbon).
Plans and Previews
This weekend I am staying at the host home again. A new family is moving into the rental home across the road so I’ll probably help clean that out and get it ready with Fabienne and Elise. Elise’s brother is also coming up on Saturday for his birthday to have a dinner with the family so I’ll get to meet him and his girlfriend. Other than that I plan to just relax by the pool and plan out my last week of travels. I know what days I’m going where, I just need to find hotels and decide between training or flying for each stop and then book those accordingly, so I guess I actually have a lot left to do with those plans. Even though there’s a lot left to plan I have no doubt I’ll be able to get it all figured out in no time. I am also still needing to find a cute market in France to get a painting from for my France artwork, but hopefully I’ll be doing that soon so I can share that with you all as well. Then this next Tuesday is Bastille Day here which is France’s Independance Day. I’m excited to see if we go to any parades or festivals and see how my host family celebrates this day in comparrison to the Forth of July in America. Many more posts left to come. Eight weeks down, four more to go with my adventures across Europe!