Before arriving, I joked that I didn't care that I would end up smelling like horse shit and that I would be spending a lot of time with the shovel as long as I got time to be around the horses. I even packed a pair of pants that I planned to wear as work pants and then I could trash them or mail them home.
I would make these jokes because I wanted to ease the tension that I always felt when I told people I would be working for a free place to stay. People would get really uneasy around the idea. They would say that's not what they would want to do for their trip, or that it sounded like a lot of work, or that it sounded really unpleasant. All I could see was an opportunity to learn a different way of life and to be around these animals that I didn't have at home. Besides, museums get old eventually. I like being of service, being useful.
The other day I was given the task to shovel all the shit. Normally I just do the stalls for two to three horses and they have hired help that does the big pens where the other 10 horses are. But this week, the hired help couldn't make on elf her days and the work needs to be done.
So there I am, shoveling for two hours, and it never occurs to me once to think that this smells bad orbtat it sucks or that I shouldn't be doing this. The thought never happens. I focus on my task and make it a game in my head.
I analyze what I have to do and try to be as efficient as possible. I try different ways of working. I see how quickly I can fill a wheel barrow.
So here I am. One week in, and one week to go and I actually wish I was staying longer. Staying longer to shovel hay and shit and be in the tiniest town you can imagine. And everything is in German and I don't speak the language.
Doesnit have moments that suck and smell bad? Yes. My muscles are sore. I was on a train the other day and I realized that I am the person on the train that stinks. I smell like horse. And I don't think I will ever forget the smell of bad hay. It. Is. Pungent.
But overall, I am incredibly grateful to be here, to be working, to be a part of a family. And the horse shit is going to be there today and tomorrow and the day after. It's just a part of life. I'm ok with that.