Time Flies

Time Flies

Let me see, how exactly do I sum up the last eight months of my life? It’s going to be hard but I am going to give it a really good try, let’s begin.

On the 27th of August 2015, I got on a plane at O.R. Tambo, Johannesburg to fly to Auckland, New Zealand. I had no idea what awaited me for the next eight months ahead. I had kept a diary of my everyday happenings which turned into weekly and then monthly writing because I was either too upset to write or just too tired. I worked 24-7, with one day off every five days, plus a foaling night in between where we would foal five to six mares with no sleep and had to be at work at quarter to six that morning. It was definitely an eye-opening, life changing season in New Zealand for me. I gained immense knowledge for my field, and personal growth (and personal “death”) beyond what I thought possible.

Every farm that I have worked on have had their ways and their “traditions” and things they have done for generations as well as this farm. I don’t agree with half the stuff they do or how they run their business, but this job is about compromise and you will not learn anything if you keep doing things the way you were taught or the way everyone else does it.

Why fit in when you were born to stand out? Dr.Seuss

One of the reasons for doing seasons all over the world is to broaden your knowledge and the more you experience the better it is for your next job and the next and so on. For example, my New Zealand season I had done my first yearling preparation for the 2016 Karaka Sales in Auckland.  To be honest, no expected at all. My contract specified that I would be “assisting” in yearling prep but I did not realize that is what I was going to be doing full time. I had only ever prepared a handful of yearlings in college but that was nothing compared to what was waiting for me in New Zealand. The only time I had worked with mares and foals was when the yearlings were out all day and there was nothing to do, plus the additional foal watch once a week which (by the way) was THE most excruciating  foaling season of my life. I had never seen so many problems and experienced so much pain (personally) before. In the beginning of the foaling season we had had a death, orphaned foal, or dummy foal almost every week. In conjunction with trying to keep your horses alive and save a precious little soul you would have your spirit ripped from your chest, slowly and painfully, and crushed into a million pieces by a heartless human being whilst all you are trying to do, is do your best and do your job the best way you know possible.  As usual I found a way to get through it, the funniest thing was EVERYONE felt the same, and I am glad I had those friends that was able to put a bandage on my wounds and I was able to carry on, even if it was only a single word, a friendly wink, or a reassuring smile…IT HELPED and it was all I needed. It wasn’t all moonlight and roses, I did experience the worst of the worst but I also experienced the best! I had the best foaling team, a wonderful kiwi man and a hilarious Irishman. Whatever we went through and whatever the season threw at us, there was always a pat on the back and a laugh at the end of the shift. Nothing brings you closer than laying in the rain stricken grass at one in the morning while it is still pouring down with rain and you can’t see more than three meters in front of you, your partners tugging on these spider long legs whilst I had a little face in my arms as we bring a new little champion into the world. People ask me why I love my job, and this is why…seeing this precious face as it has its first look of this world, as it has its first sneeze, as it tries to figure out how to use its legs. I just cannot put this feeling into words, there is a part of my heart and deeper; my soul which belongs to them.

I just cannot put this feeling into words, there is a part of my heart and deeper; my soul which belongs to them.

So, that was foaling. The yearling preparation was another adventure all to itself. It was a good experience but I wished it had been under different circumstances. It’s a pity that this had to be my first yearling prep, because after this one I thought that I would never be able to do another yet not one but many people told me that they had never done a season like this in their life. Every day was a struggle and there was not one day that went by that someone wasn’t crying or someone wasn’t made to feel like they were as useful as a handful of dirt. I am not going to elaborate much on the yearling preparation (due to many political and other reasons). Although, it was not the greatest of times, there were still good memories, there were still times that we had laughed until our stomach hurt and there were times were we made lifelong friends. I had learned to handle yearlings and one MAJOR thing that I had learned is that I am NOT too small, and I am NOT too weak to do this job, and I definitely CAN do ANYTHING! (Excuse the emphasis!)

I am determined that I will do another yearling preparation and I will do other sales which I WILL do well. This is not going to get me down; it was just a little hurdle on my way to the top. I did not just trip over this hurdle I fell over and face planted…but I have dusted myself off and I have got a new pair of trainers on, I am ready to get running again.

Overall, this season was a roller coaster season of ups and downs, of love and heartbreak, of friends and enemies, of trial and error, and of failure and success.

I must also say that I definitely made THE best out of my day off. I made sure that I was going to use EVERY single hour, every minute, and every second of that day to the best of my ability. I had done things that no one could every take away from me and made memories that will last a lifetime. After all, we are all writing a book through our life and I want my pages to be filled with the best stories ever written. I don’t want to look back in life and think, “I WISH I DID THAT!”

I thought I was finished writing but I just need to give some credit to the PEOPLE that I had met on my adventure. Two people in particular need more credit than I can give. This couple took me in as their own, they gave me transport in a foreign country, they gave me food, they have me a home, most of all they gave me love when I felt like there was no more love left in the world. I realized that there are still amazing people left in the world and I still cannot come to terms how you can do this for someone you don’t even know. There is only one explanation and that is they were more than human beings…they were my guardian angels and I hope that they read this because I don’t just owe them this thanks I owe them more than I could ever give.

THANK YOU!

As with every season you meet people from all over the world, this time one man in particular from Ukraine (out of all places) found a special place in my heart. We had a rocky beginning but I tell you, there is no one I would trust more with my life than that guy! He had always been there when I needed him and had the best pair of shoulders that could carry all his problems yet could fit all of mine as well.

As with my fair share of kiwi’s (remember the Nicolas Sparks guy in particular) there had also been an Irishman, there had been an English girl, there had been  Japanese, and there had been people that have come and gone too quick to realize. Every one of them at an impact on my life and I just hope I had the same effect on them too.

It is just impossible to sum up so much in your life in enough words to make sense and yet not too many words that I bore you to death.

To summarize, if someone would ask me, “Would you do it again?” my answer would be, “YES, I would do it all again!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Journey of a Thousand Miles …

A Journey of a Thousand Miles …

Day 1: Sunday, 30 August, 2015

I always knew that my dreams were going to come true one day, those famous words ONE DAY. Now that I am finally doing it, it feels surreal.

Second adventure overseas…this goodbye was harder for some reason. The crying didn’t stop until after the security checks. It was a little more heart sore leaving my family behind this time for reasons I just can’t seem to explain. One of those things in life that you know will come but choose not too, you know. We were going to grow up at some point and become . . . ADULTS. Now it’s finally time to earn my keep, it’s finally time for my FIRST job.

The journey to New Zealand was alright, I didn’t feel so great and was very uncomfortable. My whole body ached and pained. But you know what, God got me to New Zealand safe and sound, the food on the plane was good, I sat next to nice people, and watched lekker movies but BEST of all…what I thought was going to be seventeen hours turned out to be 10 hours and 45 minuets plus the three hours to New Zealand. The hotel was a grand welcome to a day of traveling, security checks, grumpy people and speed walking. It was clean, and the bed…oh, the bed was GREAT! I only got to sleep at around midnight though. After a early morning and a little call to the family, Roadcat came to get me and I was on my way to the farm. Now, at my new home…Cambridge Stud in Cambridge on the North Island in NEW ZEALAND. (I just had to say the whole line, doesn’t feel quite real yet)

First of all, jet lag is not so bad. Maybe I am just coping better with it than I thought. After I arrived at the accommodation two of the boys came out to say hello and help with my bag. I honestly cannot even remember their names. I am so freakin bad. After a slow unpacking session into my tiny ass closet, I discovered the Wifi code and set off on facebook. Inbetween facebook and not wanting to go outside of my room I had a very nice nap really. I just kept having that feeling that I am falling though, must’ve been all the flying. Today I met an Irish “lad”. I also met a nice (very tall too) New Zealand guy (I presume) who has a girlfriend, and another lovely guy (oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I cannot remember his name!) He was so kind to let me tag along to the shops with him. Which I have been panicking about for ages while my stomach was eating me from the inside. It was really nice of him. His accent is a little bit strong for me to understand but he has the most amazing, kind smile. I am not sure what it going to happen tomorrow, I think I might just go to work with the guys and see what happens. I dont want to seem lazy if I stay at home and wait for someone to come to me and don’t want to get in the way tomorrow morning either. Dad just told me to follow my instincts so let’s do this thing!

Third SEASON & my FIRST JOB.

Let’s do this!

Day 2 – Monday, 31 August, 2015

So I have decided to just go with the boys this morning and see what happens. What harm can it do?

FEELINGS AT THE MOMENT:
This house is quite disgusting, my room smells like the cabins in Plettenburg Bay (which is not so bad really, loved that smell) I was scared to sleep under my covers, so I kinda froze, I forgot to buy sugar, dreading to drink my coffee, could hardly eat my toast this morning….the jam was nice though. I am so scared to start today?!? “What if I can’t do this!” that is the constant doubt in my mind! I AM SO SCARED right now! I keep reminding myself though … God would not have put me here if I couldn’t do it!

It is now the end of the day, it went fairly well. Marcus (the manager) is nothing like I thought he was going to be. He is really nice, and helpful. I am warming up to the guys as well, I think they are also getting used to me too. Tyson and Lochie are really nice, until tonight I was still a little scared of Sean, he called me out to see where the mares foal at night. Was quite a foaling, they don’t help at all, like at all. The mare was struggling for more than 10 minuets and they still didn’t do anything. But eventually they gave her a hand. I also observed the same thing at the foaling I did today. ( my first foaling at Cambridge Stud) luckily when they do help the mares they pull the foal to the hocks and rub it’s nose and stuff … just like Summerhill. They also try and keep it off the floor which I think is smart, it’s still level with the mares pelvis…that way it can’t get stuck.

All I can say for the rest of the day is that they New Zealanders are just super dooper, REALLY chilled. I went on a feed run with one of the girls, Leesha…it was cold and rainy but was a lekker 4×4 ride around the farm.

Need to get used to their accents as well, they just talk so fast! And the yearling manager was even talking to me like I don’t understand English?!? That really made my day!

Day 4 – Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Oh my golly, today was just BLEH. I am sitting now pouring my heart out to my sister because the only thought that entered my mind today is that THIS is NOT worth missing Christmas and New Years for! I don’t know what to say really. It’s just this place, I never know what is going on….I don’t have a place and I seem to just wonder around. There is just so much going on in my head right now.

Other than that, I finally conquered the whole taxi story and did some shopping. My stomach won’t be growling for a good while now! Phew.

Day 7 – Saturday, 5 September 2015

First weekend in New Zealand.

I am finally having really good nights sleep, no more “Jet Lag” and waking up up at three in the morning at least.

Yesterday was my day off, one of the girls that work here, Hannah, took me to sort out my phone which was a huge help! At least I have got that sorted, and I also got my bank card today! Now I must just wait until it is filled with some money!
I had big plans to explore the town yesterday but with this whole transport story to get there and back is just a hassle! And taking a cab is considered a sin at this stud…to be fair…sixty bucks is also a little mad! Anyways, I was thinking of actually buying a car while I am here and selling it before I go. That would make me some decent bucks….even just selling it to the stud for the other temporary staff to use in the future.

I am still feeling a little lost at the moment. I don’t know how to explain it really. I just thought that I would be happier and more excited about this? I remember when I was at Summerhill and even National Stud for that matter. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and had massive butterflies in my stomach for the day ahead! I was pumped, enthusiastic, ready for anything! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!? I just want to slap myself and say, “You are in freakin New Zealand, a whole other world….who gets to travel so much and your only 21!!! You are so LUCKY!”

What is wrong with me?

Day 8 – Sunday, 6 September 2015

So, it’s the end of the week. It hasn’t been the week that I have expected at all. I don’t want to go through it all, there is no point in it really. I had different visions about this place and everything. I am mostly just disappointed but yet this is just another lesson of life that I needed to learn.

All I just want to do now is just go home. (Wow, not what you were expecting?!?) Or even just sort out my visa and go to Australia now. I don’t want to miss Christmas with my family or New Years, but it’s not only that. I feel that this is really not worth missing Christmas and New Years with the family. Is it quitting if you want to do something for yourself? Is it quitting if you don’t want to be treated like dirt and take a stand? I have no idea, to be fair. Who knows, maybe I look back in a few weeks and say…”I can’t believe I felt like that!”

I will finish of this weeks diary with. . .God put me here for a reason and I am going to conquer this one way or another.