Monday, September 9, 2013

An Early Departure

Pictures are from my last morning at the farm.
“...so maybe, if you want to catch an early train..”

I had just been kicked out.
I know that's perhaps not the nicest way to put it, but, I had been asked to leave early - just two days early. I was bad enough that putting up with me for two more days wouldn't do, I guess.

Thus ended my stay at the farm.

And, I'm glad they asked me to leave and I believe they rightfully asked me to do so. I don't want to write ill of them. It just wasn't a good match.


The two folks I was doing a help exchange with (I help out in exchange for room and meals) both have bad backs. Essentially, what they needed was someone to do the back-work around the farm (demolition, digging...) and while I'm not totally unfit, I wasn't able to meet their expectations.  After just a few days, my back wasn't doing great and I knew it. Normally, it seems like they had either multiple folks at a time which I think would've been a lot lovelier. Physical labour always goes over better with someone else working alongside you. Having a stronger person with me would've meant  more could have been accomplished. But, it was just me. I was putting all of my weight into the work and it still didn't always look like much.

“Mägi, I think you're just not cut out for farm work,” is what she told me.

This was one phrase, I have to admit, I wasn't fond of.

It was reminiscent of an old broken record that's played often in my head that I daily work to really make broken, smashed to bits. It goes like this, “You're not good enough. You're not good enough.”

I know I'm not the strongest person – but farm work isn't just solid back-breaking work for 4-5 hours a day (although I know many days it is).  I felt like I wasn't being utilized in the best way possible – and I wasn't, because they didn't need someone like me.


I was asked to less than 30 minutes after I made a comment about my back. I was trying to comprehend the purpose of my task and made a side comment, “Sorry I'm working slow, my back is toast.” Then I went back to work.

She didn't beat around the bush in telling me to pack up.
She wouldn't even let me to clean up my tools in the garden where I had been digging.

I apologized for not meeting expectations, feeling a bit stunned but relieved, and grabbed their phone to make some calls.


I did some slow breathing, first, to make sure I was steady and clear. Luckily, I've learned to work with what's thrown at me and felt in control of my emotions the entire time. I could feel them pulling and straining, but I knew everything would be ok.

In case you were wondering – getting kicked out of your living space in rural Scotland and having no idea where to go when you're a 22-year old female traveling alone isn't the greatest feeling. I really didn't know where I would sleep that night... or the next or the one after that.

Luckily, last Saturday night I was wandering the streets of Bonnar Bridge and on the road I met a woman and I got in her car. Her name was Jennifer. Her daughter was lovely. There's an entire other story that goes along with that day.

But, in talking to Jennifer, she had expressed that she could use someone around the house and I would be welcome there. I decided to see if perhaps she could take me in, maybe even just for one night.

I dialed.
Busy.
Dialed.
Busy signal.
Dialed.
Dialed.

Bingo. Her warm voice answered, making me feel immediately at ease. She started right up in asking when/if I was coming.

“Well, I was wondering if maybe possibly I could come today,” I said timidly.

Within an hour I was packed up and out the door. I didn't feel like waiting around. I feel awful to have wasted their time, energy, food, and emotions. I hate being a nuisance. I'm glad she asked me to leave.

“I'm sorry to have let you down,” I said in earnest to the woman as I left.

I was grateful I caught her leaving because she expanded and said it wasn't against me – it just wasn't a good match-up. That was true. I felt like after she said that, I could leave with a little bit more peace.

I had been ready to leave. I wasn't being as busy as I wanted to be and I think it's because they didn't know how to use me.

I've got pretty keen senses. I can sense if someone is bothered with me through walls without ever even seeing them for a week (it's happened before). I wasn't entirely sure how to remedy it this time. I knew I could just confront the situation, but I didn't feel like I had the emotional gusto to say, “Hey! What am I doing wrong?” because I knew what it was that I was doing wrong, I couldn't necessarily improve upon. I couldn't become instantly stronger and fit overnight – nor gain the weight needed to get that shovel to go into the dirt. I hated feeling like I wasn't being much of a help.

It was a peculiar tension.

They were a lovely couple, but I really didn't fit in there or feel a sense of connection. I'm not sure what it was. I tend to put the blame on myself and say I was doing something wrong, but perhaps I'll just take her word for it in that we weren't a good fit. I know they adored the couple that came before me. They were very different around the Basque couple. It was something about me, and that's ok.

I unceremoniously departed the farm.
I didn't even get to say good-bye to the man.

It was the first time this entire trip where I felt like I was leaving a place and no one really cared at all. All my other departures had some sort of warm farewell. In my head, I'm flicking through them all and they all give me the feeling of a bowl of hot porridge. Leaving here felt like nothing. I'm still really grateful for them and everything they did for me. I wish they could have said the same for me, I really do.

I never really got verbal feedback in what I did. I remember being told once that I did “good.” After working for a few hours, I needed something to fuel me. Critique or compliment, I'll take either – both propel me do better.

It felt strange walking down that road, dragging my suitcase down the path and across the bridge.



And, this is when things in Sutherland picked up because all things tend to work out for good.

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