Day 13, Norg
SLEEP!!!!! HAHAHAHA!!!!! Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep wonderful sleep... we missed you so. If you thought using pillow cases full your clothes would suffice as a comfortable pillow, you'd be wrong. The Wifey and I got to sleep in. We gracefully rolled out of bed at 11:00am and got ready for our bike ride adventure. Google maps has come to be one of our best friends. I'm not talking about the kind of best friend that will help you move in 116 degree weather. More of the complete jackass, but has helped you out in all types of bad situations (mostly because they are the ones that got you there in the first place) best friend. Our plan of attack for the day was to bike to the nearest town, a quaint little place called Norg. We went to pick up some much needed supplies and grab some local food.We were told it was about a 20 minute bike ride and google maps confirmed this.
We mounted our bikes and headed off in the direction google told us to. Keep in mind we had to ride to a certain spot to pick up enough internet to get directions and then take screen shots to make sure we didn't loose those directions because we solely rely on free wifi now. After about a kilometer (Yea. That's right. A kilometer. The WAY easier unit to measure distance in) the road we were on stopped and turned into what looked to be a sand-type ground the rest of the way. We didn't like the idea of riding our bikes in the sand and decided to try another path to see if that was any better. No luck. The new path we had chosen gave us another four hundred meters (google it if you don't know) of cement before also turning into the ash/sand/dirt substance. We didn't want to try another route and have the same thing happen, so we decided that this was the only way and rode on... and by riding I mean getting off the bikes forty-five seconds later, gracefully slanging obscenities at the ground, and walking our bikes through the forest dirt/ash/sand trail. In the forest dirt/ash/sand there was a Dutch sign noting the history of the trail (I think). Our handy Dutch to English translator app translated it loosely to "The ashes of our fallen elders" or "death trail cesspool of impending doom torture ride explosion terror horror bike path". You can't put too much faith in an app you got for free, so we carried on. Shana kept her head in the game and decided instead of having small bouts of being mad at the trail, she would make it half way and have one (lets say bigger) bout of frustration/anger/annoyance manifestation meltdown. Like when a kid gets so fed up that they go absolutely limp and become dead weight, this is what Shana did in adult form. After the promise of candy and a back rub she was ready to go again. Equipped with only a camera, two bikes, and a sense of humor we abolished the dirt/ash/sand path lined with boobie traps (sticks, bugs, and deeper dirt/sand/ash) and vanquished the trail.
The rest of the ride to Norg was nice. After arriving in Norg we stopped in the pharmacy for our supplies. It turns out sunscreen is worth its weight in gold in Norg. After supply-getting we rode around the small town and came across a restaurant that served some actual Dutch food. We split a pancake made with bell peppers, onions, and potatoes and some french fries (don't hate). After linner (or dunch if you prefer) we ransacked a local market for some essentials: Haribo gummy snack packs (to help ration), bubble water, beer, and a small bag of Cool American Doritos. Our bodies were going into shock after eating vegetables and fruit everyday. During our snack hunt we ran across some interesting food items. Hot dogs in a jar and hot dogs in a can. Our last stop before returning to the farm was a small ice cream shop. What better place to get some high quality bike riding fuel? We shared a double scoop of gelato in a waffle cone and cut out. The ride home was nice, even though the sand/ash/dirt trail was inevitable. At least we knew what we were in for.
After returning home we told another volunteer, Roger, we'd make dinner for the three of us. It was our hosts birthday and they said we would be on our own for dinner. The plan was to make stir fry, but the peppers (maybe?) we pulled from the freezer smelled/looked funny. We had already boiled the noodles and potatoes, so starting something else wasn't an option. What we were left with was a true american dinner for Roger: white stir fried noodles with cheesy mashed potatoes. A true american dinner masterpiece. After our all white dinner we said goodnight to everyone and headed off to bed.
Day 14, Faux Weekend
After our big american dinner we decided to seize the day american style; by sleeping in until 12:30. We didn't want to run out of seize early and the day was long and there would be plenty of seize for later on. The other volunteers, Una & Cynthia, had left in the morning. While it was sad to see them go, we didn't even wait until the room was cold before moving our stuff in. Our new room seemed like a luxury suite at the ritz compared to our old room: 1.65 more square feet, a small semi-working chair and PILLOWS!!!!!!
After moving we made some coffee and sat with our fellow volunteers. Realizing how much we've seized today we decided to sit by the tree at the prison museum and steal internet. We didn't want to seize too hard because we were informed earlier that we would be working from 7pm-9pm that night harvesting potatoes. After we finished stealing internet we all went back to the house to get ready for dinner.
We came home to find the two new volunteers, Steve and Rosie from New Castle. We welcomed them, showed them some of the ropes, and then we all walked to Lambert's house for dinner.
The dinner we had was amazing. Vegetable quiche, salad, hummus, fresh baked bread, goat cheese, and homemade raspberry sorbet.
After a huge dinner we changed and harvested potatoes. It wasn't as hard as garlic, but I could see it getting repetitive and monotonous. For all ya'll who haven't corralled spuds before here's a quick learning on how its done: Step one: the tractor comes by and pulls them taters right out of the ground. Step two: You get on yer hands and knees and a put the big taters in the crate and the tiny taters in the bucket. What counts as a tiny tater you say? If it's smaller than yer eyeball it goes in the bucket. At the end of our shift we got to ride on the back of the trailer like real farm folk.
Since we all just showered and the sun hadn't really gone down yet (even though it was a little past 10pm) we all sat outside and just hung out. We swapped stories and bonded. William (another volunteer and Lambert's friend) pointed out a star that was in its end stage. It was flashing different colors and we stared at it for so long, it's a surprise we didn't have a seizure. After realizing it was way past everyone's bedtime we said goodnight and prepared to hit the hay.
Day 15, Potatoes: talk about an egg hunt!
We woke up extra early for potato farming. Potato farming is as monotonous as potato farming. That's right; there's nothing else in this world as monotonous as potato farming. Even though farming potatoes is a lot more like easter egg hunting than digging for rotten garlic, I still couldn't get myself to enjoy it. Wait a minute, that's a lie. I did enjoy looking at certain potatoes. We farmed a few rows of bright pink potatoes and a few rows of almost black/iridescent purple potatoes; aka Faberge eggs. The pink potato was my favorite because once it's wet/peeled it's super bright (see diagram 1.3). But it still sucked*.
After lunch break we worked on cleaning garlic in the shade, which was so amazing I got reminded of that fact that we're on our honeymoon. Seriously, if I could clean garlic in the shade every day I would totally be a farmer. But we can't, so I won't.
After work we had dinner which was full of my favorite foods; carbs, carbohydrates and carbos (Jerrad's pet peeve is this word, so be sure to use it around him a lot.) After dinner we stole some internet, made a choco cream peanut butter sprinkle sandwich (our absolute new favorite food, see diagram 4.8) and went to bed.
*I asked Jerrad what he thought about potato farming (because I wanted someone to complain with & misery loves company) and he responded with something along the lines of "I really enjoy getting the exercise through manual labor and being outside." Yes, my husband is a spokesperson for the "Positive People Being Happy and Enjoying Life and Wearing Sneakers" foundation. The PPBHELWS, if you will.
Day 16, Goddamn Potatoes and Perfect Peas
Hey guys, I have a secret. Are you ready? Here it is... I fucking hate farming. It's true. I know I've been sugar coating all of our farming tasks so far and I've convinced you all that all that I enjoy every moment. But the fact is that it's just not fun. We had to farm potatoes again and I think part of my soul died. That's right, every potato you eat took a part of someone's soul. Think about that next time you want some goddamn french fries.
But! The soul-dying can be reversed! I found this out after break when Lambert put Rosie (the English lady) and me on vegetable collecting duty. We got to chit chat, tell stories and bond through pea plants. While gently snapping pea pods off of their cute little stems we were giggling. That's right. I had FUN. So when I said I hate farming, I meant potatoes and garlic. And the bugs. Peas are fine.
After peas, we all took a six hour break. Then we had dinner and immediately after it was back to the devil's starch. I remember telling myself, "ok, this is going to suck no matter what, so I'm going to think positive." So for about 12 minutes I pretended it was an Easter egg hunt again (seriously, there's nothing else to do), but I quickly returned to being bitter about the task. Finally at 9:45pm we were done.
After relaxing for a little bit, I reminded myself I chose to be here (even if I can't choose the hours/job) and that this is what we wanted. At the end of rants like this I like to bring them to a close kumbaya style. I enjoy complaining, but in reality it could be much worse and again; we chose this. In the end, work like this will make us appreciate the rest of our trip that much more. And the people we've met so far (in just one week) are truly great. They make everything bearable. And the choco cream peanut butter sprinkle sandwiches... they make the whole world a better place.
Steven and Rosie (who claims she's un-photogenic, which is obviously a lie)
Pondering about potatoes