Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why I adore my host mom…

A few weeks ago I helped my host mom pick cherries.  We had done this the week before too, so there wasn't much low hanging fruit.  Now, I assumed the natural course of action would be to use a ladder.  Right?  Wrong.  I'm in Moldova.

Instead, we pulled the branches down, far past a point I would consider safe for the tree, and then picked the newly accessible fruit.  Twice during this process we heard significant branches breaking, and had to quickly let go.  Each time, my host mom looked surprised.  Both times, I asked myself how, if this is the normal way of picking cherries, this could surprise her.  Then I asked myself why after 58 years of this nonsense they hadn't bought a ladder.  Then I thought maybe they had a ladder and it's broken or on loan to a neighbor.  Then I looked at the poor tree, remembered I was in Moldova, and decided "no, they probably just break branches every year."

Then we went to go get a hoe.  A garden hoe.  An implement of destruction.  NOT harvesting. 
She then handed me the hoe, and not knowing what else to do, I began hoeing the cherries from the unreachable parts of the tree, such that they plummeted to the ground, which is covered with rotten cherries.  My host mom looked aghast, snatched the hoe, and then used it to pull a higher branch down, after which we proceeded to pick more cherries, until the branch started to break.  She looked surprised, and we moved on to another branch.  We repeated a few times.  Then, looking thoroughly annoyed with the tree, my host mom began to shake it, after which cherries plummeted to the aforementioned ground.  Then we went about trying to find the good ones in the rotten mess.  We later went back to collect the rotten ones, which got fed to the pig.  I’ve consistently been impressed with how nothing is wasted in Moldova.

Then we laughed.  Then we finished.  The top third of the tree, easily reachable with a 15 foot ladder, remained covered in perfectly good cherries. 

Throughout this process, my host mom alternated between laughter, bemusement, and annoyance.  Consistently, however, she looked like she was discovering this process along with me for the first time.

And this is why I adore my host mom.  Just about every experience is like this: hilarious, fun, and just a little care free.  And that makes the cultural integration that much easier.

Maybe they've never picked the cherries before?

1 comment:

latercater said...

I have found that the Moldovan really are incredible. I will miss my current MG terribly when I move sites. She also does what we could call "very interesting" things... but I love her dearly.