Monday 13th was the start of what I believe is a great routine for me. I have found a solution to always having to ask for something to do and ending up cleaning. I found this routine on Monday because that is when the harvest of the Garganega grapes started. This is pin pointed as the busiest time of the year for the Fattori winery. For approximately 15 days the Garganega grapes will continously flow into the winery. So I found a place where I could actually help. Something I can do that I can interact with people. I can do this without having to completely understand everything. I can do this without messing too much up, but I still feel like I'm literally making someone's job more pleasant. So here's my plan: When I come to work in the morning I ask for something to do. I usually clean something or have a project until lunch. I go to lunch and when I get back from lunch the tractors have started to roll in from the fields full of Garganega grapes. That's when I take my spot on the weighing station. When the tractor rolls up I take the first weight. Then I test the sample of must for the grade of sugar. Then I take the second weight. Then I try to figure out how to spell the name the farmer has just rambled off to me. Then I record the amount of grapes in a journal that helps everyone to keep track of how many of what kinds of grapes are going where in the cantina. It's actually really fun. And like I said, I feel like I'm acutally helping without being a hassle for anyone.
Other than just enjoying being helpful, I love the fact that everyone is happier when I'm around. It's like my smile is contagious for them. Everyone who comes in or sees me says to me, " You are always smiling!" My reply to them is, "I'm in Italy, life is perfect, why shouldn't I smile?!" I also enjoy seeing the farmers ineract with each other. It reminds me so much of spending time up at the Dawn store during the lunch rush watching the farmers talk about the weather and discuss politics. Oh and when something goes wrong, you can bet that every single one of the people gathered by the weighing station run to "help" and by that I mean they run to the problem to see what's going on and then everyone just stands as the few people who actually know how to fix the problem go to work. I love people watching!
I've come to the point in my trip where I'm very frustrated with the language. All I want to do is understand! I just want to be able to KNOW and be sure of what is going on around me. I hate that I feel like I know what I'm doing, but I can't help. I also hate that most people in the winery must think I'm stupid because I have to be told about ten times before I know what I need to do. This is also frustrating because now that the other intern is here and she is Italian it is so much easier for them to turn to her and tell her what to do...this results in me 1. Not learning Italian 2. Not learning my job and 3. Just being frustrated. I know it comes with the territory of being in a new country with a new language, but sometimes it would be nice to feel like I was "in the know" of thing. I mean even something as simple as going to buy groceries can be a mess when you can't understand what people are saying to you. Siiiigh, this too will pass and one day I'll wake up and say, "Remember when I had no clue what was going on, so I just smiled and laughed all the time?"