Thursday, September 22, 2016

Same But Not

A friend of mine is in the middle of a "who do I want to be for the rest of my life" kind of crisis. Wisely, this friend of mine, not knowing where exactly to begin changing things, started of with the one thing she knows: unfulfilled dreams.
One of these was ... harvesting grapes. You know. The real thing. Where you get to cut and gather the grapes. In a real winery. She wanted to, her words, "doing something with her hands instead of sitting behind a desk all day" and as she is currently in between jobs, why not experiencing it?
(As I am writing these words, she is harvesting her grapes, feeling good!)

Listening to her telling me about this particular dream, made me think of my aunt. The eldest of my mother's 4 sisters. This lady (who today is 80 and lives in Italy) spent many years coming to the French part of Switzerland (the Lake Geneva region) to earn money harvesting grapes. She didn't do it because "you know, I am sick and tired of working behind a computer screen" but because she needed the money for her family. Every year in spring and in autumn she traveled to Switzerland, doing this really hard job (6 days a week, in every kind of weather). She usually stayed 4 to 6 weeks. I know how hard it was on her because I visited her quite a few times when I was living in Lausanne. I saw the fatigue in her eyes. Her hands' condition. Neverthless, she came back, year after year (until her health put a stop to it). Earning (in my opinion by far not enough for this kind of job) money to pay the bills back home.

If I'd tell my aunt about this friend of mine, my auntie would probably laugh out loud. She'd tell her to be lucky "to have a job behind a computer screen" "where you don't have to get up early and be outside in every kind of weather". My aunt wouldn't understand that it's not about earning money. She'd laugh at the notion of "finding a sense to my life". A totally alien notion to her.

I am by no means glorifying the old times here. But I am not glorifying our times either (I know that not everybody in the Western World can indulge in notions like "finding sense to one's life").

It's just the way it is.
I thought it was a nice story to tell. About a job and how it's perceived in a different way.
I am proud of my friend and her courage to live her dream.
I am proud of my aunt. She was (and still is) a hard worker and made the best out of what she had.

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