Sometimes nothing changes 26.07.16
I arrive back at my workaway placement as agreed at 2.45pm, my host is not here. Ive been thinking maybe i got it wrong, maybe I expected too much, maybe i misjudged the situation. Tables are all laid and the place generally looks clean except for bedrooms with dirty towels lying around and unmade beds. I hear noises downstairs in the industrial kitchen and cafe area and go down to say hello.
She is not here either. I find a team of people preparing food in the kitchen and decorating tables in the cafe area. I introduce myself and offer help, they say they are colleagues of my host but decline assistance. I walk to her house but she is not there either. i return to wait at the guest house. Dirty breakfast things are lying around, the dishwasher needs emptying. I deal with both.
On the bus journey here i am surprised how excited i am to see high mountains and yet they remind me that these mountains themselves would be dwarfed by others in the northern islands. Ive been living a softer lower, less rugged life. It has suited me. Waterfalls stream down rock faces. Two weeks of mostly grey, rainy days and small channels have become rough, white cascades. I love the knowingness of the journey, the anticipation of the next village, hill, tunnel or service station.
An hour later, a girl walks in, we exchange polite introductions, turns out she is another workawayer, Cissy, has just been here a few days. It sounds as though she has clear boundaries, has already stated which days she will be having off. She has heard we were busy when i was here but has been concerned about not having enough work to do so says maybe its easy, for her, to choose when to have time off.
Interestingly, Cissy also seems to have had communication difficulties in her few days here and wonders why our host is not here when she was asked to meet at this time to lay, the already laid, tables. She says she is staying in Sandavagur, in another house our host owns. Has walked two miles to meet here at this time.
Cissy is pleased to hear of free camping on Nolsy, free accommodation on the Nordlysid in Torshavn, trips on the northern postbus. She is due to workaway here for two months but is already having her doubts. She was expecting to be doing painting and handyman tasks as there would be no guests. Hmmmm sounds familiar.
Around six pm a guest arrives whom neither of us are expecting. There are as yet, apparently uncleaned rooms upstairs and neither of us know whats happening. Annoyingly, my phone is refusing to make calls, again, and she has run out of credit. We establish the guest in a room, i begin to turn around the three beds that need doing as she heads off to find our host. She doesn’t return. I finish the rooms and clean the bathrooms in which the bins are full of dirty sanitary products. There are insufficient clean towels and piles of washing that need doing.
An hour later Cissy and my host appear clutching a bowl of chickn curry. They have eaten and brought me leftovers. There seems to be a problem tracking down a key. Cissy gets taken home, i find myself a beer. And another for later.
It sounds as though I might quite like this disgruntledness. I think though, that what I like, is Cissy finding it difficult too and although she is much more generous than i in her understanding and acceptance of our hosts human frailty, nevertheless, her experience validates mine.
Time rolls on. It is ten pm. From nowhere my host arrives, starts talking about her mothers death andher inability to cope with it, how her head is all over the place and she doesnt know whether she is coming or going and how everything reminds her of her mother. Of how she is the youngest and she knew her mother best, shared christmasses and belongings. How she is grieving when her siblings take her mothers things that she feels are hers. She pauses. I say it must be so very hard with her mother being so much a part of everything she has here in the guest house and tears start to fall. she says she cannot grieve, not yet, and our conversation moves on.
We physically move to the wedding reception tables. She frets about the place settings, asks whether i think the napkins should go here or here. I think about Cissy living, neither with our host nor in the guest house but somewhat removed from the situation, i am jealous. Unsurprisingly my host doesn’t like my thoughts or suggestions about the napkins.
I am sleeping in the single room. The room where i permanently hit my head on the lampshade. My bedroom until i fly home.