The last time I posted I ended that I had my first day off. Well since then, that Friday, I had Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning off. The time off was much needed to relax and catch up on rest since I have been in France, yet it was a bit too much time. I ended up finishing three books since Friday. Bookworm? Absolutely!
Saturday consisted of nothing. Literally nothing. The highlight of my day was laundry and we went and got la glace (ice cream). Laundry was quite the operation, not having my host dad here to translate between the host mom and grandma. It eventually got done after a lot of pointing at clothes and the washing machine. That’s pretty much my main form of communication with my host mom, pointing at things and responding to what she says with oui ou non (yes or no). Sometimes I don’t know what she’s saying and I just shake my head and say oui. Not too sure I want to know all the things I have answered incorrectly!
Sunday I had my first French fishing adventure. Yet again, a lot of pointing at things and saying oui ou non. Didn’t catch a darn thing and there was a man that kept taking my pole and reeling it in and casting it back out. I didn’t understand him, I don’t have a clue if I was doing something wrong or what he was doing. I kind of got irritated. At the end of the day, I came to find out it was a fishing tournament for the family. I was the American that didn’t catch a single fish, but I got a medal for it!
Monday was the fourth morning in a row that I got to sleep in, how nice that was! After lunch, we labeled a crate of bottles and boxed them up. Easy work. My oldest host sister and cousin and I knocked it out in about two hours, and we were done for the day. Simple enough. We labeled, probably, 750 bottles.
Tuesday morning we continued labeling half of another crate of bottles. We flew through that, and until lunch we spent our time washing plastic containers that are used to collect the grapes during harvest. Nothing like a little chlorine bleach to ruin my favorite Purdue hoodie.. whoops L After lunch we headed out to a different field that I haven’t worked in before. The rows were crazy long, it completely and inevitably sucked! It was another afternoon of plucking leaves away from the grapes so the sun could reach them in the morning hours of the days.
Wednesday, yesterday, we spent the day in another field that I had not been to. Finally a day not spend plucking leaves, I thought. But it was much worse. (Plucking the leaves wasn’t hard, just boring and took forever). This time I had to go through each and every one of the vines and find a young “pump” (that’s what they call it, I think it’s what we refer to as a stem) and tie it to the older, principal pump so that as it grows it grows straight. After tying this pump, I had to cut any other young pump off. Understanding why this is done: the vineyard I work for is certified biologique (organic), this is used as preventative matter for a wood disease. If the principal root or pump gets this wood disease, it is cut down and then the younger pump that was tied this summer becomes the principal pump for vines and grapes to grow off of. No treatments or chemicals are able to be used since that interferes with the organic regulations, so this is used as prevention. It’s not guaranteed that the root will get the wood disease. I hope this makes sense. We did this for the entire day, before and after lunch.
Today, Thursday, I only had to work in the morning, similar work to yesterday. Though today there was no tying pumps, cutting all pumps because these vines are younger than those that we worked on yesterday. The wood disease is not a problem in young pumps. All day was spent bent over or crouched down trimming all the pumps, which is a lot… let’s just say thanks to today’s work I’m going to have some strong legs when I get home.
And a little funny story to end my post. Today at lunch, my host mom brought out a plate with what looked like a dark brown bread. We passed it around the table and only two people took a piece, one of them being the 5 year old daughter and that girl will eat anything! I told myself that I would try all the food that is made, it’s a learning experience and I don’t want to be a pain in the a$$ and be a picky eater. I took a small piece, a few people snickered at me for taking it. I had a small bite, it wasn’t bad, but it most definitely was not good. My host dad asked if I knew what it was… then went on to explain to me, all I understood was flour and pig’s blood, after that I was so grossed out I awkwardly chugged my water and ate a piece of baguette. I like pork, a lot. The meat though, not blood!!
And now I’m here writing this. This afternoon I finished my third book, Sarah’s Key. Definitely a book to read, very moving. Finished it in about 5 hours total.