Today I made a very large salad. I sliced each piece of the greens and piled it all together in one big lot. The tool? A bread knife. The greens? Weeds. HEAPS of weeds. Grasses, thistles, clovers, "docs," and many, many more. The WWOOFer task for the day was to weed the pond area. We were given spades (to remove the pesky "docs") and bread knives (for all the rest) to accomplish the task. The three WWOOFers spent much of the morning wondering why in the world there was not a weed-whacker to use for this job, and obligingly made progress around the pond amidst a chorus of extremely loud frogs.
This is not what I signed up for. Farming? Yes, when I am not helping with the rockwall business, household duties, or office work, I am helping to check off farm chores that nobody else around would like to do. Is it organic farming? No. Do my hosts help out alongside me and teach me about organic farming? No. When I took on this WWOOFer job, I knew it would be different from others, but thought the opportunity to work with the portable rock climbing wall business would make up for that.
I don't want to badmouth anybody, and I certainly didn't want to fall short of a commitment I had made, but things have gotten to a point where I am checking out early; literally. Nate and I are leaving first thing in the morning to catch a bus back to Auckland where we will rent a car and spend a long weekend exploring. He only has 3 weeks left of his semester here and would really like to be enjoying the time he has before he leaves. I feel like my excuse is not so singular in explanation. There are lots of little things that have built up and I've mentioned some before.
I really hate leaving before I said I would, and believe me our hosts are not giving us an easy time about it. They are surprised and disappointed and stressed, and therefore questioned our character, integrity, and potential for future success. They see things strictly from the business perspective and don't understand how uncomfortable we have felt in their home. They have been gracious and kind, however strict and overbearing. It's been difficult to find the balance between their welcome arms and unreasonably high expectations; their kindness and their insistence that everything be done perfectly the way they say.
Every time I try to explain what is so "wrong" with the situation, it doesn't seem all that bad. My hosts have a nice house and are generous to a point. I don't want to complain all night and spell out every detail, but I have not been comfortable here, and I have not felt comfortable approaching my hosts to explain that. There is a lack of flexibility that you might expect with inviting 3 strangers into your home, and though I respect the effort to retain some semblance of "normal," and in general having certain rules for your house, I do not find this an overly hospitable environment.
I already regret leaving early, and feel terribly that I did not stick it out for another week, but I hope that soon enough I will be off on new adventures and able to put it behind me. This is my year to go off and see the world, and I'd like to make the best of it. Perhaps it is quite selfish of me to leave, but I also think it's silly to keep doing the same thing when you are not happy with the situation. My college roommate's wise aunt once wrote in a card, "Be healthy, be happy. If you are not healthy, see a doctor. If you are not happy, change something." Well, this is my something and I am going to change it. Forgive me if I appear to have lost some integrity.