Seasonal job for the first time – harvesting adventure
We have always wanted to try a seasonal job abroad. But there always was ‘something’ what was stopping us. This year the story was different. One day we realized that it’s the best moment to try it. It was the end of summer, we didn’t have any special plans for autumn but we wanted to spend winter in a warm place, we also wanted to earn some money and we discussed with parents that our dogs can stay with them for some time. So we started to look for opportunities.
We decided to try our hand in grapes harvesting. We love wine and we’re very interested in the process of making it so it seemed to be a good idea. What about a country? We considered countries not too far from Poland to be able to easily reach the point and come back if needed. We checked Germany, Austria and France and sent some emails. We got a positive response from a very nice woman who was working in a winery in Franconia. It was the closest possible place for us so we liked it. We were supposed to start working in the middle of September so we still had 2 weeks for preparing ourselves and visiting some places. And that’s how it began.
A few days before the job started we had to do a covid test and send results to the employer. In Germany it was quite easy – they had testing points in many places like airports, train stations or motorways parkings where we could do it for free. We chose the last option – point near a motorway (or rather ‘autobahn’ in German). After being tested we could travel again and wait for results, which turned out to be negative (so positive for us :)) and we could finally go to the place of work.
Next days were like in a dream. Sometimes not very nice one btw. I don’t want to tell whole story with details but I’ll summarize what we liked and didn’t like in things we took part in. Have fun!
🙁 Not like:
- Waking up before sunrise –> We had to wake up before 6 am to be ready for a meeting point at 6:45.
- Temperatures –> When we started to work it was horribly cold (less than 10°C) and during the day full sun and high temperatures (sometimes almost 30°C).
- Organisation –> There was chaos all the time. If you think that Germans are organised – you should see it! We know it wasn’t easy to organise this job but it was worse than I could imagine. We didn’t know where we would work, for how many hours, how we would be transported, when any break would be, etc. And when we asked – no one knew the answer. And it was like that with any topic.
- Safety (or rather lack of it) –> We were working on steep slopes without any kind of security. Sometimes it was so hard that we were afraid of our health. There was even no first aid kit.
- Food –> We didn’t expect a lot but in the middle of the day when we were tired and starving we were receiving two little bread rolls with two slices of cheap cheese, NO vegetables, even no butter, everyday. After work it was better but there were some issues all the time (once they forgot about vegetarians, another time there was not enough food, etc.). And we never knew what time we would receive something to eat.
- Sparkling water –> They had only sparkling water (strong or medium) and no still water. For me – unbelivable 😉
- Cigarette smoke –> Many people (including the boss) were smoking very often and sometimes it was impossible to hide from the smoke.
- Boss (or rather real boss’ father) –> He was rude, peasant, shouting, smoking and we didn’t like him.
- Language –> German language is not the most beautiful one and listening to it when you don’t understand anything can be annoying sometimes.
- Tiredness –> We were really tired after physical work and we didn’t have enough sleep… so we were more and more tired every day.
- Unmet basic needs –> There were many moments when we were hangry and thirsty, needed to pee, were tired, had wounds, were dirty, had sticky hands etc. – sometimes only some of them but sometimes everything in the same time and we couldn’t do anything with it!
- Moving –> It was a job in which you don’t have to sit and look in the screen for 8 hours. We like being in a move at work.
- People –> We met really nice people from Germany with whom we could talk and laugh for many hours. We learnt a lot thanks to them and spent very nice time during and after work. There were also many Romanians with whom we couldn’t talk because of language barrier but they were so nice and helpful that working with them was a pleasure. OK, not always. Sometimes they were loud and noisy but the group which was working with us the most often was very nice 🙂 Once we arranged a meeting after work where there was a German speaking Romanian with his two friends, us who speak English but not German and a German guy who speaks English. And some beer 😉 And in this group we could talk and share info about us. Nice experience!
- Other people –> One day we met a couple from a vineyard owner’s family who was helping only once. And we love these people. We met each other for a few times after finishing job and we hope we’ll meet them many times in the future. They made all our difficult experience better. They are very positive and helpful – helped us with our broken car and invited for a dinner (actually not once!). We spent with them amazing time and I think it’s the best part of this adventure 🙂
- Harvest job –> Picking grapes itself is a quite nice job and we could do it again if it would happen on flat vineyards.
- Money –> We earned some money for next travels 🙂 We think money here was not adequate to the job conditions but still it’s money.
- Winery –> We had a chance to see a winery and learn about a process of wine production. It was really interesting!
- Language lessons –> We could practise our English skills all the time and we learnt a lot of German in a very natural way. We saw how easy it is to learn a new language’s basics if you spend time with people who use it.
- New experience –> It’s always nice to try something new.
These are the most important points when we think about our first seasonal job adventure. We are glad that we tried it. We are not fully satisfied by this experience. Sometimes we have dreams about this job and we wake up stressed. But sometimes we see some people or places which remind us about good things from that crazy time and we have fun again. For sure time which we spent in this job was different that any other moment in our lives and we will remember it forever!