I was trying to convince myself to delay this post, to push it back a few weeks or maybe even – – not write it at all. My intent to do that was due to the evoke of emotions that come from speaking of Marcellaz and my time with the Weber family. The emotions are of happiness and of love yet they are of sadness on behalf of my absence. I miss them, I miss the day to day interactions with them and I miss their laughs and smiles, these are all things I will hold within my heart eternally.
It was my first WWOOF experience, it was my first volunteer experience AND it was my first month in Europe; so everything was new and ever changing – – which I hold very dear to me because it has molded me into a very patient and adapting person.
I didn’t know what to expect, Jessica was the one who kept in conversation with Miki Weber via email for a few months, so all I had to go off of other than Jessica’s outtake was what one blogger once wrote about her experience on the Weber farm, “Miki is like a grandfather to me.” I knew within that statement alone, that there would be warmth and comfort and that reassured me as well as it waved away any fears and doubts.
Jessica and I stood side by side at the Annemasse train station early in a February morning, we swayed there with our backpacks searching for a Volkswagen van that was due to pick us up. We were exhausted from sleeping within a train station the night before and our eyes could hardly stay open, yet our hearts and souls yearned to be emerged into this experience; so we waited with smiles as huge as we could possible make them to be. A red van comes chugging up and backs into a parking space, then out comes Hanny, she gives us a three kiss French greeting as she guides us to her van asking “how we are?” and “how was our travels?” We could feel that she possessed such a vibrant free spirit and kind soul that it radiated through her every move and every word; I instantly felt at ease as we weaved through the hilly roads of Marcellaz.
Hanny made an impact on me that I cherish; she was kind, warm and addicting to be around. She would go out of our way constantly, without being asked, to do for us. She would cook for us something that we might of mentioned the day before that we liked and she was so eager to show us a wide range of Swiss, French AND German food that our mouths would learn to love and adore. Nevertheless, the two meals a day she cooked for us every single day we were there has been absolutely delicious and kind. It became a comfort to see her everyday, to see her with her teapot or with a book in her hand, and she became a part of my heart along with a part of my soul family. (Soul family are people that I have met in my life that have touched me so deeply and sincerely, that they become family, in their own way.) I loved her German accent mixed within her Swiss accent that had a touch of a French twist also, it took me a few days to understand what she was saying, but once I did I automatically loved her voice. She laughed constantly at all kinds of things and never gave herself the full credit she deserves. I’d like to help by giving my own credit, Hanny: You are a wonderful woman, you’re worldly intelligent, you’re unconditionally kind and warm, you’re faithfully dedicated to your home and family, you are funny, you are very enjoyable to be close to and to communicate with and you’re full of the purest kinds of love.
Hanny has characteristics of my mother, always giving and always dedicated to her home and family; no matter the cost to herself, to her time or to her comforts. Always giving. Always.
When I said goodbye to Hanny at the train station a few days ago, I held back the tears that yanked at my eyelids. Through her eyes I felt her sadness of not wanting us to go quite yet and I felt her large and powerful motherly vibe not wanting to see us go either. Thank you Hanny, you unknowingly helped me into being a better person.
I pause at my keyboard for a moment here, as I try to find the words that match the emotions that arise when I type the name, Miki.
Miki is a man of great integrity, he is 78 years old with a ten hour workday, seven days a week. He is dedicated, strong, honest and warm hearted with a sense of home and trust that lingers on him, it is so powerful to feel when near him. I felt almost put to shame at how hard he works for endless hours everyday. (Hanny makes him come in and eat meals throughout the days, without her, he’d work the entire day away without remembering food.) He reminded me of my father and my grandfather, all of which consisted of dedication to their work, their families and their pride in whatever they strive in. My grandfather in his attention to detail in his pristine woodworking. My father in his unwavering dedication of his work, knowing that the work brings home the support of the household. My father also consisted of a dedication to a solid foundation of a family, never allowing faults or mistakes tilt the strength of his family. Miki’s dedication is in his love of organic farming, he grows everything with the purest intents of love – even though he will joke around and say “someone has to do it.” But I know, that I witness that sparkle in his eye daily, that sparkle that tells me, unknowingly, that he loves what he does and that he loves every minute of his work. Miki’s dedication to his family, his wife and her happiness has been another powerful quality he owns, wearing it unknowingly and proudly on his face and on his heart, for the world to acknowledge.
Miki has shown me that I consist of strengths that soar to magnitudes that I thought were unattainable, and he makes me feel that I can even go higher. He praised us in our work, he taught us how, he eased us when we made mistakes and he bestowed in us the drive to want and need to do better.
I miss the “qui boit du vin?” before each meal, which is him asking us if we wanted any wine. He was generous and so kind to his wife, thanking her for each meal he ate of hers and taking care of her when she grew ill. They traveled all over almost every continent together throughout their lives, taught rafting classes to camp kids, hiked to Machu Picchu in Peru and camped there for seven days, did a seven month trek from North America through Mexico into South America, white water rafted in Nepal, and they have pictures for every story they tell.
They inspired me into fully comprehending that anything is obtainable when you have love and faith, reassurance from yourself and from a partner and when you posses a will to never give up. Ever.
Thank you Miki and Hanny, you have changed me, strengthened me, structured me and loved me as one of your own – – I will forever hold you two within my deepest parts of my heart and soul.
This WWOOF experience was more than I could of ever of asked for.