My last couple of posts have been quite informative and anxiety-centric, so I thought I’d switch things up a bit and do a more personal post this week. Although I’m excited to start back at university in just over a week, I’m also sad to be saying goodbye to this summer and to the amazing summer job I’ve been so lucky to have.
For the past three months, I’ve been working at a tiny little boutique winery called De La Terre. Most of my time has been spent in the newly-opened cafe, where we serve a variety of platters to match our wines, though I’ve also done some labelling over in the shop. Working at De La Terre was easily the best job I’ve ever had. There were times when it did get a bit stressful, such as when we had massive lunch rushes in our first week of being open and didn’t really have a cohesive battle plan. But most of the time it’s been super fun, and more than anything, it has been immensely rewarding.
It’s also been incredibly sweet. Not many people can say they enjoy free wine and amazing platter food on their lunch breaks, nor an amazing view of the surrounding countryside. Going to work was never a bad thing (and, dare I say it, something I actually looked forward to). The thought of having to wake up for work in the morning never made me anxious, as it did with my previous summer jobs. For someone in the process of recovering from anxiety, it was perfect, and I feel so grateful for that. I’ve never had employment I’ve genuinely loved before, and it was lovely this summer to be able to say, ‘I love my job.’
I’ve had a lot of fun learning how to make coffees, crackers, relishes, and all kinds of fancy finger food. Just between you and me, I’ve also had fun enjoying some of the fruits of those labours. Working in the cafe, I got to meet loads of people – not just locals, but people from all around the world. Probably one of the things I least liked was not often having the time to stop and talk to the customers, because so many of them were interesting and had such stories to tell. But y’know, if that’s the biggest complaint I have, then life’s not too bad at all.
(My actual biggest complaint was probably the times I had to clean up the shop, which involved vacuuming up all the spiders that had made homes in the windows. RIP spiders.)
I also got to play with the winery dog, Gracie, who was a little puppy when I first started. She’s now grown to be big, clumsy, and hilariously playful. She’s also very very cute.
Working at De La Terre really has been an invaluable experience for me. I learnt a lot of kitchen skills, and really came to care for this little business I’ve been working for. The work was interesting and challenging enough that I was never bored (except, perhaps, for those few times when I spent all day labelling, but even then I couldn’t really complain). And because I was working for family, I think that was why I didn’t experience much of the work-related anxiety I felt last year or the year before, when I was working for very large retail companies.
I’m really sad to be saying goodbye to the winery and the cafe. I really have had the best time working there, and I’m looking forward to coming back for visits on my breaks from uni, to see how everything is getting on. I’m also really sad to say goodbye to this summer, as it’s been one of the best I’ve ever had. I feel like this summer is when I’ve really committed to my recovery and started to see some real progress. It’s been a healthy, encouraging and relaxing break from the stresses of student life, and has left me feeling refreshed and ready for the year to come. I’ve loved the heat and the sun and the long bright evenings. I’ve made some great memories with some really good friends.
Thank you to Kaye and Tony at De La Terre, for putting up with me:
- throwing food all over the kitchen;
- being a cheeky shit;
- turning up the radio too loud on the days when we were closed;
- going to the gym the night before work and then being tired as fuck;
- eating all the cranberry relish;
- eating all the marshmallows;
- going on about the education system in this country I mean really;
- complaining about wasps;
- complaining about having to kill spiders;
- using all the gloves;
- that one time I ate the avocado dip that was supposed to be for everyone.
I’d also like to thank them (more seriously) for hiring me and for giving me this amazing opportunity to help them out in the cafe over summer. I’m gonna miss constantly being made fun of (and giving it back, obviously). I’m gonna miss Gracie being an idiot and running around in endless circles. I’m gonna miss all the wild emus. I’m gonna miss all the long blacks I had now that I know what they’re called. But most of all, I’m gonna miss that one Ed Sheeran song. ❤
Even if it didn’t seem like it some days, I’ve had the best time, and I really hope that the cafe and the winery both continue to grow. I can’t believe that I’m heading back down to Wellington tomorrow, let alone that this time next week I’ll be just about to start my third year of university. The end of second year feels like so long ago, and I feel like a completely different person now. At the same time, this summer seems to have just flown by.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous about going back. I’ve gotten so much better since I left Wellington and university and been really able to focus on recovering. I’m now the happiest I’ve been since my last year of high school, and it is a bit hard to think about going back to a place where I was so sick for so long. Still, I feel like committing to my studies and developing healthier ways of managing study and stress is all part of the recovery process. Confronting the things that make me anxious head-on is only going to make me stronger if I deal with them right. And I’m really excited to see everyone again, and to see what this year has in store. Wish me luck!
And on that note, I’ll leave you all with some more pictures of my pretty pretty workplace.