My life in NZ in a nutshell – Part 4: Call me a zucchini picker!

zucchini a.k.a. courgette! Interesting fact from Wikipedia: “Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower”

zucchini a.k.a. courgette! Interesting fact from Wikipedia: “Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower”

Zucchini picking is the most strenuous labor I have ever got myself into so far in my life! The nature of job requires the pickers to bend their backs a lot and hence putting a lot of strains on their backs and knees. Back pain is the most unbearable part of the job to me. I had to arch my back backward every 10 minutes or so to alleviate the pain. L always persuaded that the job is good for toning our butts. My back pain is gone now (thanks be to god!), but then whenever I think about zucchini, I can still feel the “phantom pain”!

Pickers at work

Pickers at work

Zucchini can really grow I tell you!

Zucchini can really grow I tell you!

Picking in front of the conveyor belt has higher risk of being hit

Picking in front of the conveyor belt has higher risk of being hit

Zucchini picking brings indirect stress too. On the first day of lunar New Year, I had nightmare about harvesting zucchini (can’t really remember the details already, but it’s about being hit by the moving conveyor belt) and woke up in the middle of night and screamed in Cantonese, “Help! Help! Save me!”

It's this tiring you know?

It’s this tiring you know?

Some friends are really “supportive” about me working in the farm… :p

Me: D*mn! Zucchini picking is such a hard job. Working at funky is really not bad after all!

N: How hard can that possibly be? Maybe tough for you because of your soft hands.

Me: My back pain is killing me!!!

N: You may be the laziest Asian I have ever met!

Ah ball: ape ni….u wanted to work in farms when u decided to go for your work-holiday trip wad… cannot complain so much :p

The market price for zucchini depends on their sizes. When there’s ample supply in the market, customers tend to buy smaller zucchini as they are tenderer in texture. The big boss of our picking team once showed us the difference in perspective: when asked about which size to choose, Asian will always go for bigger size, cheaper but more flesh! (Haha)

Work hard, play harder!

Work hard, play harder!

Still playing... Die die also want to take jumping shot

Still playing… Die die also want to take jumping shot

:)

🙂

We were saying among the team mates that we had shown our most authentic and the ugliest sides to each other:-

a) We had to answer the call of nature in open air most of the time

b) Our working attire is a kind of sunk cost because there is this sticky secretion from the zucchini plants that when it gets in contact with our clothes, it is almost impossible to remove the stains. For this, we normally bought our working wears from Salvation Army to save cost. Suffice to say, you won’t see us wearing this kind of clothes when we go back to our normal routine 🙂

During rainy days, we had to be plastic-bag-women

During rainy days, we had to be plastic-bag-women because the gumboots were not 100% waterproof

c) It’s hard work under scorching sun, we all had poor skin condition and we sweated profusely!

We were also saying we would never ever gonna forget each other because there’s nothing that could top 20120122 as the most unforgettable Chinese new year eve for us: we picked zucchini for 12 freaking continuous hours! And 1 hour was in the rain! Still had to continue picking even though everyone was already shivering in cold!

My beloved partner, H. He’s stuck with me because we both worked on harvesting the same rows. For this, we always had off-day together and got to explore the town together.

My beloved partner, H. He’s stuck with me because we both worked on harvesting the same rows. For this, we always had off-day together and got to explore the town together.

Me and H in Wellington

Me and H in Wellington

The only sight of cuteness working as picker would be seeing the same frightened brown rabbit fled from the farm very frequently 🙂 K said, “Maybe it’s trying to lead me to a wonderland!”

Not only S and Y purposely drove all the way from Wellington to Levin for our get-together, S even woke up very early to prepare this for me (became my lunch for the day after). This is when you know you are being loved as a friend!

Not only S and Y purposely drove all the way from Wellington to Levin for our get-together, S even woke up very early to prepare this for me (became my lunch for the day after). This is when you know you are being loved as a friend!

Hard labor begets hunger! I ate like a dinosaur during that 1 month working as picker: I need a lot of carbohydrate to fuel my labor! The good thing was that I remained very slim no matter how much I ate! Another “benefit” that I reaped by being a picker was that my legs became very cold-resistant! Besides, I had to keep walking around, to prevent my legs from going numb (see the following paragraph). After work, when everyone just wanted to lie in the bed doing nothing, I would walk 40 minutes to and fro to go steal free wifi at McD almost on daily basis.

Eat like dinosaur but do not have the size of one!

Eat like dinosaur but do not have the size of one!

Zucchini made you suffer? Eat them!Demonstration for "revenge is sweet"!

Zucchini made you suffer? Eat them!
Demonstration for “revenge is sweet”!

I’m very sure I wasn’t being a spoilt brat because many people left the jobs while I just strove on. The highest record stood at quitting the job only 4 hours into picking. It’s just too hard! Almost every (legal) seasonal job in NZ pays the minimum wage, I don’t see why one has to work extra hard to be paid the same salary. Two weeks into the job, the pitfall began to surface and I started to worry. Whenever I sat down, both my legs went numb (like blood circulation’s being blocked). 3 weeks into the job, I couldn’t feel both of my big toes! It then dawned on me that this is not a job that I should be doing for long term. The whole reason why I chose this job was that the supervisor promised to issue a letter of support to accompany my visa extension application with the condition that I had to work for the team for 3 months. “Working holiday should not cause irreversible damage to my body.” With this in mind, I made the heavy decision not to extend my working holiday and just to make the best of out the remaining 1 month in NZ.

I taw I taw a pussy tat!

Life living at Levin Motor Camp: I taw I taw a pussy tat!

Life living at Levin Motor Camp

Life living at Levin Motor Camp

With S, the supervisor who is quick to angry but kind at heart

With S, the supervisor who is quick to angry but kind at heart

When I was still working as picker, I always pondered: how can I make the best out of the hardship. I wasn’t sure where the path will lead me to in terms of being a better and more mature person in life. Sue said, “Little hardship makes us appreciate life better”.  CC said, “Don’t be so sad… now you learn how to appreciate your desk job more :p”

Ok, I’ll not complain anymore that being an engineer sucks! :p

Call us zucchini pickers!

Call us zucchini pickers!

Part 1: Rotorua| Part 2a: Goodbye Rotorua! | Part 2b: Hello again, Auckland! | Part 3: Hello, South Island! (a) Queenstown (b) Te Anau (c) Milford Sound | Part 5: last bit of travelling (a) inmate days (b) (c) (d)| Concluding remarks

Advertisements

0 Responses to “My life in NZ in a nutshell – Part 4: Call me a zucchini picker!”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




I spot you, creativity!

Series #9 Light bulb reuse!

Reflection of the day

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 43 other followers

Inside the glass bottle…

“I want to walk tall, believe in myself, have the courage to ask for what I want and need, and live a life that mattered. I want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and know that I am loved and that I belonged. I am desperate to feel worthy and I am hungry for the opportunity to live my fullest potential.” - modified from "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" - Debbie Ford

Under the apple tree…

"If you are not spending all of your waking life in discontent, worry, anxiety, depression, despair, or consumed by other negative states; if you are able to enjoy simple things like listening to the sound of the rain or the wind; if you can see the beauty of clouds moving across the sky or be alone at times without feeling lonely or needing the mental stimulus of entertainment; if you find yourself treating a complete stranger with heartfelt kindness without wanting anything from him or her... it means that a space has opened up, no matter how briefly, in the otherwise incessant stream of thinking that is the human mind." - A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle

Blog Stats since Dec 2010

  • 52,501 hits

Ich lese….

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The time keeper by Mitch Albom

The art of thinking clearly by Rolf Dobelli

The first phone call from heaven by Mitch Albom

Inferno by Dan Brown

For one more day by Mitch Albom

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

A study in scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom

Have a little faith by Mitch Albom

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

A Fresh Start by John Chapman

Inspiring quotes!

If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other? (God in "Evan Almighthy")
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Aggie: "But what about the people who hurt you? Don't you ever want to make them suffer?" Norman Babcock: "Well, yeah, but what good would that do? You think just because there's bad people that there's no good ones either? I thought the same thing for a while. But there's always someone out there for you. Somewhere." - Paranorman
"机遇总是偏爱有准备的人"
“You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” by Walter Hagen
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, body totally worn out and screaming "WOOOHOOOO what a ride!" - by anonymous
When you travel, it’s not like you take a part of each place away with you; rather, it’s as if you leave a part of yourself there, like a part of you forever belongs to that place – the time, the people, and the things you saw; and over time, it gets burned deeper into your soul - by anonymous

%d bloggers like this: