28th of October to 21st of November, 2019.
From where to start? At the beginning I thought that things would be all right but… with that feeling that something would might go wrong. I could say that I should always follow my instincts, again, as I always say, but then actually what could I do? I mean, could I just leave without any explanation? Or should I make up a story or something? Is not that too mean and / or bad? I do not know.
So what are those things that I thought back in there? Well…
A. is always, at all times, offering me everything and asking about what I want to eat all the time, giving me food all the time, and trying to be so nice all the time. And I am thinking, like we think in Brazil – Isso não vai prestá! (This will not work well!). Just for you to know, in the future, that would go in a completely different direction, to not food at all in the fridge, or just not vegetables at all, not even rice in the cupboards or something that I could eat apart of bread. Not even the cheese, her so easy to make, daily cheese (not an intentional pun), I would have in quantity, but just a little. I felt that they were thinking I was eating too much. Were you, Lei? We know you eat a lot… The three meals! The three meals that we had for agreement since the beginning and I should have. That’s all! But instead of that, I would have breakfast early morning, lunch around 2 or 3 p.m., which is already an absurd, and then they would not expect from me to have a good and healthy last meal. Like as I should go to sleep without eat anything else. Oh, Lei, but you should eat anyway, because that was the deal. How the hell? How the hell can someone eat with this whole bad feeling around, like everybody is expecting for you not to eat?
At this same point as well, there is no cooking that I could eat that have no meat on it. OK, at the beginning I was eating some soup here or there, just the vegetables and not caring for the meat, but then all the time like that? If I would not cook something without meat, which I should prepare for everybody, no food for me. Another ridiculous thing is, while they are cooking and wasting a lot of food into the garbage, that is all right, but them if when I cook, not loads of food but enough for everybody eat nice and still have some left overs: “Oh, Lei, please you must cook small portions because I cannot through so much food away.” Then I cook little portions, just for me, what happen? Everybody come and takes some. When they already have their food with loads of meat and I, apart of that little portion I made, have nothing else to eat. And to make it worse, laugh, they open a small glass of pickles, and share just between them, not even worrying about offering to me, even that if was just for politeness. Oh, how silly of me, they do not know what that word means here in Croatia! Wow! Yeah, it’s true.
The whole problem started for different reasons: A. does not speak English and has no patience, at all, to learn. It does not matter how much patience I do have, because she goes nuts easily. Then, there is no schedule at all, every single morning I must ask what in Loki’s heaven do you want for me to do. But how I will get the courage to ask her anything if, all that she can do is complain about how her husband, M., keep asking her everyday, all the time, what he must to do, and also her daughter and son. How? Plus, they do not believe that as a woman I can do a lot of hard work, even that A. as a woman put all the farm together basically on her own. But that is another story, because she is the queen of the world and she can do anything. Plus she is always right, it’s true. So while many times I get no work at all, other times I spend the whole day without one single minute free for myself apart of when I am going to sleep. I clean the dishes all they long, even if I do not eat, I must to clean the kitchen because it is always a mess. I work in the morning, I cook, I clean after cook, I spend the whole evening with the kid, and then I clean after dinner as well. If this is not work properly I don’t know what it is. Just because you had a donkey as volunteer before me, this L. that she talks so much all the time and how perfect he was, who was working in the farm, cooking, cleaning dishes, listen to her problems and probably saying: “Yes, of course you are right, A.”, do not expect the same from me. If he had no life at all apart of the volunteer work plus it was probably as domain as you are, I am not like that. At all. I love my independence, I have loads of things to do apart of being around you, making you company, and listen to your shit, which by the way, you do not want to change at all, hãm? You just want, as so many people in the world, to complain about it to someone and that is it. Because, come on, it is not that difficult plus, if it is that much shit, which makes you so sad and bla bla bla, just change the whole thing and that is it. But no, I have to listen the same complains, about the same thing, every single day. AH, I am so pissed but at the same time I am glad that I will not let that put me down.
Nothing, I repeat, nothing that I would do was good enough for her. She would remake or rearrange everything I made. My food was not good enough (come on, guy, you know how good I cook, right?), because L. was a great cook, much better than me, he would make a buffet every time he cooked. It is like I was reliving my childhood or my whole life again. And I am sure that is the same way that she raised and still treat her kids.
But I want to talk also about what I learn from Croatia. They love paprika! They eat all the time and they put in everything. What would be the comparative to Brazil? Tomato? And apparently, all the farm people live in the quite same way: the way they eat, mainly, not very well arranged during the day, with a late breakfast (even though they wake up very early even in the weekends), a strong lunch and a not very sure dinner, which can be anything or nothing. So even that they try to eat bio and organic and natural things, they do not have a good routine and do not practice daily exercises to keep them healthy. That is why so many people around here are fat. But back to the food, they have something called strudel, but which is actually a croissant kind of pastry with eggs, yoghurt, cheese and sugar inside, which I loved! Some baking with spinach and cheese are very delicious, like Burek. But A.a makes this soup, all the time, which I can barely call it soup, which I believe it might also be Croatian. She just put big pieces of meat, a big piece of cabbage, some whole carrots and that is it. The other “soup” was just that in a lot of water.
I went out with her to some traditional stuff too. Not that I had an option because all the time she just say: “We are going…” and not even asking if I want. OK, I do want to learn more about the culture, the costumes and stuff, but the problem is that it always takes too much time, hours and hours, so I ended up almost never having some time just for me. One of them it was a “fish soup” competition, which was very boring, at least for me and D., who remain most of the time inside the car. A. did not cook the soup and that was why they just got the fifth place. She is a great cook. The other festival it was actually pretty cool and I felt so bad that I could not enjoy more. I got water / food poison in the night before, horrible pains which could not let me sleep, but even so I decide to go. The thing is I read about home made treatments and I learnt that better is not eat dairy products, drink coffee or alcohol for two days, so I could not drink all the wine people were offering for tasting for free or either the cheeses. So sad! But even so I was devastated, I felt that A. was not happy with me, as I did not want to drink or eat… What? How? I did not choose to get sick and I just did for your fault! It was your food and the water from your house which made me sick. Cannot you see? I wish I could drink and eat all these nice stuff for free but I could not risk my healthy. I also went to see her training the dance for this day. Over boring.
There was one time I decide not to go. I had a huge migraine crises overnight, barely could sleep, so I decide not to go to A.’s Graduation from one of her culinary stuff. I could not risk have another crisis, in the middle of the thing, and not be able to enjoy or even worse, since I would not be able to lie down in a silent, peaceful, comfortable and dark place, to have also a miserable day. Then, the most ridiculous thing happened: A. said I should take whatever I would need to eat and cook because she had to lock the house. What? Lock from whom? From me? I felt so betrayed. How she could not trust me? What could I possible take from there, which I would not had taken before, all the times I was alone in there? Unbelievable. Even D. was ashamed of the situation. Buy lucky, I had some potatoes and vegetables from the other day so I could heat it, in my bedroom, to have it as lunch. Absurd!
This family had some serious issues with the kids: they raised the first born completely on his own, so the boy got independent and focused on the studies. Not just because he liked but because he wants first to prove himself, second to not become like his parents, non-educated people who have to work from sun to sun to have a normal life. Then when they have their second child, a girl, they raised her in the completely opposite way, being around her all the time. Now, the girls is spoiled and super attached to them, not even want them to leave to somewhere without her, plus, she is not into studies very much. Everything been completely their fault, they blame her! And treat the poor creature like shit! Always comparing her with the brother, saying that she should be more like him, and this kind of shit. Now, I have get that from my first few days around. Do you thin they do? Do you think they listen to me or believe me? And the boy is also quiet mean to the little girl, what drove me crazy sometimes. And I am pretty sure he is gay but is afraid to admit.
A. has some nice friends and we visit some of them. She could learn so much from them, how to become a better person, how to have a better life, but I think she just does not want to.
One day we visit a friend of A., who also uses Workaway. At the end, I believe she brought me along just so he could give me a lecture of how I should behave as a volunteer. Because that was the only thing he could talk about it: how he had so many bad volunteer who never did anything. And if he knew what A. and her husband actually think of him being gay… They did not actually say anything to me but, you know how is it, you know the little things people say, not saying, that truly tell you what they think. It is like old “I have nothing against homosexual people as soon as they do not come close to me” one.
A. drove me to the next town on my departure day. She wanted me to believe she was sad but I know she was not. Even the little girl, which at the beginning said I was like her second mum, barely said goodbye to me.
I know I did good and maybe I could have done more if they had guide me more a little bit more instead of expecting me to know more about their farm and house then themselves.