Thursday, September 24, 2009
We are required to work four hours before taking a one-hour lunch break, and another four hours after the lunch break. No other breaks are allowed. If I have to go to the bathroom, tuff. The field is my toilet. Luckily I haven’t had to do that. But my colleagues are constantly going among the weeds. A turned back is considered privacy. I try not to avoid seeing them urinate, but at times I catch a glance of a stream.
By the end of the day, I am sticky with grape goo and sweat. My arms and face, the only uncovered parts of my body are a magnet for thorns, seeds, pieces of grass and insects, including mosquitoes.
Because one has to carry the grapes that they pick up and down the rows, which are usually on a slant, the work requires physical strength. It is highly demanding on the body that by the end of the day I could care less how I look. I just want to splash water on my face, hands and arms and sit in peace.
The weather has been sunny and about 28 degrees Celsius everyday. The heat at times makes it almost unbearable to work. The others aren’t bothered as much by the sun as I am. This is not the first time they have worked on a farm. And also they have told me that it is worst to work in the rain because the mud makes your feet weigh 10 pounds each.
I am not embarrassed to say that I don’t even wash my hair at the end of the day. What’s the point. I don’t go anywhere and I haven’t done anything but eat and sleep. The only thing that reminds me of who I am is my tube of Lancôme lip gloss that I carry in the pouch fastened around my waist.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I returned from Sicily by train on September 5. Since that time I have been waiting for Florence to open up again, and fill with my friends and acquaintances who left during the July/August break. In addition to that I have been desperately trying to find work. Since the city is basically dead from July to early September it has been difficult for me to find a job. Finally Friday night my roommate gave me the good news: I will be working la vendemmia (grape harvest) for three weeks starting tomorrow.
Because the harvest is in the countryside of Tuscany, in the province of Siena, her parents will host me Poggibonsi. She gave me the details of my job; I will be the only woman; I will be working with old Italian men; they will be talking about sex and may occasionally try to pinch my ass; “So be nice, joke a little and at the same time keep some distance,” said Francesca.
I heard woman get paid less than men, which leads me to believe that I will make 4 or 5 euros an hour. Regardless of the pay and hard work involved in picking the grapes Francesca told me that it is fun. I know I will be exhausted and may even have to work in the rain, but I am excited to be a part of the process that results in the best wines of the world.