While I’ve lived in several places I’ve also visited several places. My parents were amazing and decided to send me to Spain for the summer after I graduated high school. Dad was working for a French based company and they had a section based in Spain. So I went to Spain and worked in the sunflower fields for four weeks. Every morning I would get up at six and meet Miguel out front for a ride. Miguel was my boss and he was there from Argentina. He spoke English pretty well, which made my mornings much better. We would go to breakfast and have some toast and a drink and then go to the farms. Once I was at the farms he refused to speak to me in English again until the next morning. The farm was a research farm. The sunflowers were covered in mesh bags so they couldn’t be pollinated by something “unknown”. We, the other workers and I, would take the bags off of two different flowers and pollinate them with each other and then put the bags back on. It was busy, repetitive work. I loved it! Loved being in the sun, loved having no one near me. I loved being in the middle of a giant sunflower field. Sunflowers absolutely everywhere.
At lunch time Miguel would come and get me and take me to lunch with the office workers. Lunch was especially unique. I hadn’t seen it before and I haven’t seen it since, but it was a great idea. At lunch time the restaurant would put one table out in the middle of the dining room. That table would fill up and then they’d put another at the end of that one. Once that one filled up they’d add another. We sat next to whoever sat down next, no saving places, no skipped places, all together. I’ve always loved the idea because it forces people to mix with people they might not mix with otherwise. Even now, when I go to a church function I wonder why churches buy those round tables. You can’t fit two families comfortable at one of those tables and so there always seems to be empty seats and people sitting by themselves. At church, especially, aren’t people supposed to get to know one another? How can they do this if they don’t sit with each other? Don’t people come to church dinners to be with other people? It’s not any fun being at one of those tables and no one joining you. I’d change things up a bit if I had it my way. I’d do it just like they did it at that one restaurant in Spain.
On the weekends I would go home with one of the ladies in the office. Inmaculada was wonderful to me. She taught me how to behave more like a proper Spaniard and less like a farm hand. I had picked up some of the colloquialisms of the farm hands and I wasn’t allowed to speak that way around her. She would take me home to Osuna, then we’d hang out all weekend. Sometimes we went to the beach or other places. They treated me like a princess and at the same time treated me like a sister and daughter. Her family was a lot of fun.
After the weekend it was back to work on Monday. Even though I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in my life since, this was one of the best adventures of my life so far. It was my first chance away from home, far away. I had just turned 18 and I was an “adult”. The freedom I had between dinner and breakfast was more than any ever before. I once walked around most of the night with a boy who worked near by, we walked up and down the Seine and then went and got a drink and then he walked me home. My landlord was pretty mad about that. (I really can’t blame her). After work I’d walk around the shops and sometimes buy something or get a snack. (I did get paid for the time I worked). I blew all my money before I came back home. I’m surprised I survived it and came back unharmed. There was this exciting train trip I took at the end from Seville, Spain to Lyon, France. But that’s another story. Hasta luego.