Meeting Pierre

In between Matthew, Uzi, Yollana and I discussing the severity of our almost contract as managers, Julianne left and we gained two new volunteers: Pierre and Camille. Meeting them was awkward for Matthew and I because we weren't managers but Yollana wanted us to manage them.


Pierre and Camille arrived around dinner time one night. They had the joy of being thrown in head first to all the things our property entails. Their first dinner consisted of being squeezed in at the end of a table full of four kids and five other adults—seven including them. They only slightly made a face at the odd soup in front of them and they kept their mouths shuts when we ran out of food and the kids demanded the adults what to do throughout the rest of the dinner. I felt bad for them. If that was my first day I would have been way overwhelmed.


Thankfully dinner ended and the newbies had a chance to sit and talk with Matthew, Alex and I, sans kids and bosses. Camille made the courageous decision to go straight to bed and that gave us an excellent opportunity to get to know Pierre on a deeper level.


Our chat took place beside a warm fire in the lounge room. We talked about all sorts of things but the conversation quickly got interesting. Somehow we jumped in to our thoughts on society's problem of over educating people and shaming those who have common labor intensive jobs. This is something that has bothered me for years. Our culture only values people who use their brain for a living, yet the ones who use their hands are just as valuable in the big picture.


Pierre made the point that countries like Australia, America and France have to allow immigration or else they couldn't function because Americans, Australians and French people do not want to do the crappy jobs. Americans use Mexicans, Australians use backpackers and French use the refugees to do it for them. That's why Australia has so many jobs for backpackers and thats why America has so many jobs for Mexicans and sometimes even Asians. We don't want to have to do those jobs. I hadn't thought about this before but it made perfect sense. Immigration was economic, really. Immigrants take the labor intensive jobs like fruit picking, housekeeping, construction and childcare.


We could tell immediately that Pierre was wise and well-travelled. He knew history and politics for almost every country on the globe. I knew he was just 24 so I asked how he got to be so well-travelled.


“I went to university and I tried to learn but after a year I decided I couldn't take anymore. I didn't want to sit on a bench listening to someone talk all day. The professors hadn't even lived or worked in the places they were teaching me about. It doesn't make any sense. I really wanted to learn, but I want to learn outside of a school building.” He said he has traveled ever since.


I shared my similar story about taking a year off from college. I learned more about people and life and work in that one year than I did in all three years of sitting in a classroom. We all talked about the stigma that comes with traveling. Most kids our age were starting families and careers. Our choice to travel is sometimes frowned upon or seen as a threat. We had all experienced situations like this yet we were here anyways. Pierre said he wants to look back on his death bed and know that his entire life was full. He didn't want to look back on life and wished he would have done something when he had the chance.


Pierre told us his desire to travel started when he was quite young. His mom moved when he was only three months old. Pierre began to see moving around as a way of life, and though his mother has been stationary for quite some time, his urge to roam has remained.


He remembers talking to his grandad when he was very young. His grandad said he had the opportunity to try skydiving once but he didn't take it. Pierre said for some reason that conversation has always stuck with him. He doesn't understand why people like his grandfather are okay with never leaving the place they were born. We decided there were three types of people in the world. Those who never leave their home and are happy with that, those who are most happy to travel, and those who never leave but wish they would have.


Around that time our conversation was interrupted with business. Yollana called Matthew and I into the kitchen to further discuss our contract. Before long Alex wandered in and the conversation got silly. Yollana left for bed and Matthew ended up telling Alex and I stories about getting handcuffed in middle school by our school resources officer. The prank was meant to be a joke but his mom didn't think it was so funny. Alex asked us if our hometown was really country and we told her about the farmland surrounding it. She asked how much land my family farmed and I responded in acres. She wasn't sure what an acre was so Matthew drew up a map and explained acres, 80s and the whole loot. I pitched in and would up drawing a map of the entire family farm. Alex laughed and said if she was ever in Oklahoma she'd stop by the farm and know her way around each field, thanks to my map.


We all laughed and then realized it was nearly midnight. Our conversations had been so hearty we hadn't realized the time.