What a weekend!
Background: Last Wednesday, there was a Dutch guy named Joost (pronounced Yost) that arrived to the village to stay in Kathy's son's house for the month. It is a nice house with indoor plumbing (rare in these parts), a nice and light bedroom and a huge field with tons of fruit trees. He had agreed to stay for a month, live in the place and do some work on it in return for staying there for 3£ a night and being shown houses around the village and in other villages. Then, in July, he was going to be a volunteer here. His welcoming was unusual but, I thought, awesome. He arrived here at the house and Elly had not come back from Popovo yet. It was pouring down rain for a quick summer thunderstorm and the power went out. Sara and I made him some tea, chatted him up and then Elly arrived. She invited him to stay for dinner, he said yes and we played monopoly ALL afternoon. He lost (to me I might add- thank you boardwalk ave.) but it was an all around good time.
Flashforward: Friday: Joost comes with us to Popovo for our day off to grab some groceries and check it out. Due to Sara's negativity, I said peace after the bus and left them to enjoy a special Dutch only day. When I came back, I thought something was weird but didnt want to get into a conversation about it so I didnt say anything.
Flashforward: Yesterday at the fair: We dont see Joost all Saturday, and Sara said he didnt want to come to the fair because "He hates fairs". SHOCKER. A dutch person hates something or judges it without trying it and complains about it. Around 2, we go to the center of town to meet Charlotte, a British woman who owns the pub, who is going to take us to the fair. First, we decide to go to the pool because it is hott. The pool is great- huge, perfect temperature and there is a bar. So I get a whiskey, sara gets a juice, she "couldnt imagine drinking before 4"- ok, well I need this beverage to stand you all day so im going to get it. After about 4 hours at the pool, we go to get dinner and, actually , by this time, Sara is being cool. She hasnt complained or been really negative in atleast 2 hours- we are joking, laughing, its good. We go to dinner and we split a bottle of wine. She TOTALLY lightened up. We were joking and we rode some rides, shared some new food we wanted to try- great. As we were walking around the fair she drops a bomb and says that Joost is leaving Monday (today) because he is unhappy with his situation. Charlotte then walks up, no chance for elaboration. All and all, great day with Sara- considered her a new person, maybe she was just having a bad week.
So this morning, I do a follow up at breakfast. She says Joost thinks he is paying too much, doesnt want to work, says the house is unbelievably dirty, is pissed off that Kathy isnt here and "doesnt fit in with the village". Wow, that is a whole lot of negative judgements he has made in 5 days. So my first question was " how can someone not fit in here?" "do you see this freak show we call Voditsa?" Everyone is welcome as long as you make an effort to be a part of the community. Second, he is paying too much? He is paying 5 dollars a night with laundry, a kitchen and internet. 3rd, the house is not so dirty. I mean, this is not the Netherlands, it is Bulgaria and its an old house. But it is not infested or anything. Finally, why does it matter if Kathy is here or not? Sara says "well he was emailing with kathy and she never said anything about not being here." "yeah, but its a company email she probably didnt see why it would matter as long as Elly was here". So we get into this conversation and, it turns out, sara agrees with all of this! She thinks our deal here is horrible. That we work too much, or should be paid. She says she can barely stand to stay in this house it is so dirty. She says we "are doing them a favor" and should be treated better. I cant understand it. This is a CONSTANT theme with her. She continues to travel even though every trip she has been on (India, Vietnam, Spain etc.) has been "the worst trip ever". She just goes on and on and on and on about how bad everything she has done is. :: In a baby whining voice:: I just didnt fit in, I got a bad welcome and it ruined the whole trip, I didnt like it, It wasnt for me, the job was horrible, AHHHHHHHHHHHHH
So I changed the subject before I totally lost it about what we were going to do today. I needed to mulch the tomatoes to help them keep water in, so I asked her to water and prune the tomatoes in the greenhouse. I go up there after a while and she is using a dinner knife to cut off the tomato branches which need to go. I said " you know there are scissors in the tool lounge right?" She said no, so we went down there together. I pulled out some scissors, just lke the ones I used in Israel, and she said "No, No, No, thats craziness, you cant use those, you will cut off the whole plant". ::Breathe, smile:: "what?" She says "Thats just craziness". I tried to keep it in, I have tried to be patient but MY GOD WOMAN. I told her "Craziness is child soldiers in Africa. Craziness is that people will starve today. Craziness is the fact that we are alive and thinking right now. Craziness is NOT the reality that someone who has no reliable income and lives off subsistence farming didnt feel it necessary to fork up the money to buy special tomato pruning scissors. These will be f***ing fine. "
Needless to say, things are a bit awkward between us right now. I really dont know what to do. I am upset with myself that I lost it with her because she is just so pitiful. But, come on, one positive thing. Say one positive thing. I know she has a side of her that is fun, not obsessed with order and is ok with exploring outside her boring, belgium bubble but it comes and goes with the breeze, and its exhausting to be around. Any thoughts, advice on how to deal with such a soul?
Joost left this morning without paying, without locking the door or doing any work. He sent kathy an email that said "I am here by withdrawing my request to be a volunteer. I do not fit in here." There are all kinds of people out there.