~Florence Prag Kahn
My hands and arms are covered in bruises and cuts. My back hurts and my legs are tired. 11-hour shifts, six days a week and all for a measly $13.00 NZ dollars an hour. I never in a million years thought that I would be in New Zealand packing fruit, but I wouldn't have it any other way. There is nothing glamorous about being a kiwifruit packer and some days are unbearable. However, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything for one simple reason...the people. In my short time at Oakside, I have met some amazing people from all over the world. I am learning about different cultures and I am learning to speak a few different languages in exchange for helping my new friends with their English. Rather than me telling you about each of them, I thought I would let them tell you in their own words.
Hola! Mi nombre es Carmen Maria Alvarez Rodriguez y soy de Meico, naci en el D.F., pero vivo en Torreon que es en el norte. Me encanta viajar, conocer nuevas culturas y gentre y algun dia me encantaria escribir un libro.
(Hi! My name is Carmen Maria Alvarez Rodriguez and I am from Mexico. I was born in D.F., but I live in Torreon, which is in the north. I love traveling, meeting new cultures and people and one day I would love to write a book.)
Hallo, Hoe gain ditto. My naam is Kate Grant. Ek is van Suid Afrika AF. Ek is die enigeste kind en my family en ditto is nie so lekko nie. My verjaarsdag is ap die 25 April zdi en sisal 27 ewes. Ek hoop my Afrikaans is reg. Want ek ka nie dak nie en my had is see anti ek het kiwis gepok.
(Hello, how are you? My name is Kate Grant. I am from South Africa. I am the only child in my family and it is not so nice. My birthday is the 25th of April and I will be 27. I hope my Afrikaans is good enough because I can't think or write properly because I have been packing kiwifruit.)
Hallo, alles goed? Mijn naam is Martijn Robert en ik hom muit Nederland. Reizen voor mij is een instelling.
(Hi, how are you? My name is Martijn Robert and I'm from Holland. Traveling to me is an attitude. Peace!!)
Hola, mi nombre es Geri! Soy de Argentina, Cordoba! Tenes que visitar Cordoba! Estas invitada! Ya tenes casa en donde Quedarte! Es un gusto haberte conocido Amy! Tenemos que organizer una comdia todo juntos así nos conocemos mas. Fuera del ámbito de los kiwis!! Espero poder viajar y conocer mucho mas de NZ! Y quien sabe, capas que podemoa hacerco juntas! Un beso!
(Hello, my name is Geri! I'm from Argentina, Cordoba! You should visit Cordoba! You are invited! You have a house you where you can stay! It is a pleasure to have met you Amy! We must organize a dinner all together so we can get to know each other outside of the kiwi ambiance! I hope to travel and know more about NZ! And who knows, maybe we can do it together! Kisses!)
Hallo Amy, Mein Name ist Stephanie Galtz und ich komme aus einer kleinen Stadt im nördlichen Duestchland au der Ostsee. Wir Kennen Uhus vou der Arbeit bei Oakside. Wenn du dieses Buch nocheinmal liest kannst du dich bestimmt an das Mädchen erinnern, die mit ihrem Freund im Van geschlafen hat. Ich wuensche dir noch eine wunderschöne Zeit in Neuseeland! Liebe Gruesse, Stephanie
(Hello, my name is Stephanie Glatz and I living in a little town North of Germany on the East coast. We know each other from the work at Oakside and we are packing neighbors. When you read this again you will remember me as the little girl with her friend and slept in a van. I wish you a beautiful time in New Zealand! Nice regards, Stephanie.)
My co-workers are all amazing people. I find spending the long days at the packhouse with them is very inspirational. Being in this type of environment makes me want to spend the rest of my life traveling. We live in a very big world and there is so much to see. Caskie Stinnett once said, "I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine." I couldn't agree more! Although there is a little more routine in my life right now because I punch a clock, things are ever-changing. With each new experience, each new situation and every new person I meet...I grow as a person.
Carmen also shared her favorite quote with me and I think it is very fitting (especially since we are in Middle Earth.) "Not all those who wander are lost." J.R.R Tolkien.