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Staying with the Stompes in Golden Bay

NEW ZEALAND | Thursday, 18 December 2008 | Views [777] | Comments [2]

Pete's version:

Last week Erin and I went to a farm to do some exchange work (they let
you stay for free and feed you, but you don't get paid).  The drive
was long and remote, most of the time on a dirt road.  After 3 hours
of curvy roads and bottoming out on gravel, we finally arrived at a
mansion in the middle of nowhere. 

We were staying with an Austrian family who seemed more than happy to have us when we emailed them, but when we arrived and they discovered we were Americans, it was a different story.  You could cut the hostility in the room with a knife and they were quick to suggest changing our week long stay to 2 days.  The first night they told us all about how much they hated Bush and 9/11 was planned by the US government.  It was a strange night, but we held tough hoping they would soften up when they got to know us. 

Sure enough they gave us a job the next day and told us we had the whole
day to complete it.  We finished in about two hours with little to no
help, and by lunch time they apologized for their attitudes and said we
were the hardest workers they have ever had.  The rest of the week was
great with an awesome schedule:  Breakfast, work, sandwich break,
work, lunch, nap, work a little, tea and cookies, work a little more,
nap, dinner.  Last night when we were leaving they said again they
were wrong about us and told us we were always welcome back.

Erin's version:

So after driving a sickening 3 hours on winding roads into the middle of nowhere, we were greeted at the Westhaven Retreat by a pleasant Czech fellow named Tomas who said, "Welcome to the end of the world."  It totally felt that way.  We were then introduced to the home owners, Monika and Bruno.  (Imagine a strict German woman who was raised in a convent - this is Monika - and a thin chain-smoking old guy - this is Bruno.)  They didn't like us and made that apparent with the dinner conversation revolving around stupid Americans and conspiracy theories.  Weird stuff.  Thankfully Monika and Bruno have a nice daughter also named Monika who is married to Tomas (who was a WWOOFer at the lodge 5 years ago) - they were very pleasant and so were their two little boys, Tomas and Sebastian.  (Lots of name sharing in this home.)

We were immediately put to work washing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen, which Monika (Sr.) criticized the whole time.  Going to bed Sunday night had me feeling a bit uncomfortable and not too excited about the rest of our stay. 

However, Pete and I worked hard to make a good impression on the Stompe family.  They began to soften up and I decided to like them more, too.  By the end of the week we were sharing pictures from home and they were laughing and joking with us. 

It turned out to be a great experience, and one highlight was the food.  Our menu included: chicken and rice, fish and potatoes, nachos, pizza, spaghetti bolognese, and delicious lunches of fresh veggies and sandwiches.  And while the above meals sound reasonably normal, each was made with an Austrian touch - very yummy. 

Comments

1

I find it really amazing how people 'think' that bashing americans is something of the norm or testing you to see how tolerant you are.

I hope they now know that not all americans are all conspirators and are not stupid. Good Grief!

I'm proud of you and Pete for hanging in there and winning them over!

Hugs to both! Aunt Kim

  Auntie Kim Dec 19, 2008 1:57 PM

2

Uggg....silly people. I'm glad it turned out good though!

  Calley Ekberg Dec 27, 2008 4:43 PM

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