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Planting Trees at Videle for the Fourth Time

Did have to make use of another one of those old book reviews to make room for this, but there was no other way now. Struggling to get it posted before midnight anyway, and in the end had to post it partially and add the rest a bit later, after only getting up at 4:25 PM today and spending the evening making mamaliga again, and with that thorn that I’ll mention at some point below still in my finger, which makes some things rather tricky. Also means I’m wondering what to do about it, because it may develop into a worse problem than it first appeared if I can’t get it out, which problem may well be worsened just by my attempts. I mean, after showering last evening I used the normal method, trying to get a needle under it, but it seems to go straight down, so I opened up the bit of skin above it but that was it, and while sleeping I had a bandage which I had put vinegar on, after reading that vinegar was one of the things that could draw splinters out, but that didn’t seem to help in any way either, and I quickly gave up on using my small pair of scissors to try to grab it, as there didn’t seem to be anything to grab. Of course, passed the needle and scissors through fire and medicinal alcohol, but they may still cause problems, and not happy with how my finger looks now, after removing that bandage, possibly because of the vinegar as well.
One annoying thing is that I was awfully fast while doing the squats this evening, but don’t have the exact time, since there was a replay at the end. I really don’t think I matched that 2:10, but it was awfully close, and I had noticed how fast I was and was wondering whether I actually wanted to try for a record. Sort of decided against it, but I nevertheless saw 1:59 when I looked when I got to 90, so 2:10 would have meant an average of 13 seconds for ten and 11 seconds for the last ten, making it unlikely. And I did try to accurately count those first few seconds after finishing, before I could open the clock and match the seconds there with what was on the screen after the replay, and this is what leads me to say that 2:12 is the most likely time. 2:11 is also possible, however, and that was what I thought at first glance, before checking again, so being a mere second off would mean that there was at least a chance that I matched that 2:10 after all.

But this post should really be about planting trees again, for the second time this month, after doing so at Vanatorii Mici two weeks ago, and for the fourth time at Videle, after going twice in the spring of 2018 and once more last autumn. And yes, regarding the issues mentioned in the previous post, I did finally get a reply, confirming that I was indeed on the list… Only to not find myself on it after all, so it’s a good thing it didn’t matter, since that list only circulated after we were already on the bus and got to me just minutes before reaching our destination, so nobody said anything or, as far as I could tell, cared that I just added myself at the bottom, after a few others who had done the same.
That reply came Friday afternoon, after I quickly checked again when I woke up to pee, around 1:45 PM, and decided to send them a private message as well, since there were still no replies to the e-mails or comments. Napped a bit more after that and it was close to 4 PM when I finally got up, at which point I saw that confirmation… And it probably helped just enough for me to avoid breaking down completely, since I was increasingly worried and not feeling up for it, for being around people again in itself, plus again being functional in the morning and working on hardly any sleep. And dad didn’t help either, since he came back from wherever he had been earlier just as I was getting up in the afternoon and then started moving things around in the living room again, still being there and awake at 3 AM when I finished eating, though he had finally gone to bed by the time I also did so again, just after 4 AM. Having him around, and moving around, when I was in that state only made it worse, of course, and while I was in the kitchen at night I was shaking and even getting a bit nauseous and out of breath, so I’m quite surprised that I did manage to catch another brief nap, though I was actually awake again a few minutes before the alarm rang, at 5:30 AM. But the fact that it was much closer to my usual time obviously had much to do with that, since when I tried to catch another nap in the evening I ended up trying every method I could think of for at least one and a half hours before finally managing to get at most 45 minutes of sleep. Admittedly, I might have fallen asleep earlier, but I believe I was just drifting off when something fell, not sure if because of what dad was doing or in the apartment above, and I was sitting up and with my heart thundering right away, after which point trying meditation techniques backfired, as I was even more acutely aware of both noises and sensations.

At least the morning went well enough, and I was out a bit after 6:35 AM and getting to the meeting place a bit before 7:15 AM, though I did go to the toilet in that park first, actually getting there some five minutes later. I was awfully worried on the way though, since when I reached the metro I suddenly stopped being certain that I had to get off at Eroilor, wondering whether it was there or in fact at Izvor and being unable to really make up my mind, though it was fine in the end. And, as I already mentioned, the fact that nobody checked the names on the list before getting on the buses meant that there were no more reasons for concern once I was there.
What was interesting was that I ended up not just going there again, not just on the same bus, but actually on the same team with both the guy who was my teammate a year ago and the one who was, or at least intended to be, my teammate the first time I went there, and the organizers formed two teams in each bus, one for each side, though people who wanted to be on a certain one could switch. Didn’t spot the latter myself, so only noticed him when he came to me as we were walking to our area and asked whether we had seen each other while planting there before and I took one glance and told him we had been teammates last spring, but my teammate from last autumn stood out while waiting to get on the buses, being tall and with that ponytail, and I rather waited for him when I noticed that we were heading for the same bus when we were told to get on. With people crowding at the front door, he went in through the middle one and I waited my turn there, but with people already sitting in the seats in the front part of the bus and not wanting to ask whether those next to them were free, I had a good excuse to sit right in front of him and ask whether I knew him from there. That was all the interaction, however, since he said he doesn’t even remember what he did last week, much less a year ago, and when we started working I didn’t try to ask whether he wanted to team up again, just trying to go at it on my own again at first.
Either way, we left at exactly 7:45 AM and had a lot of stuff to fill and sign on the bus, the contract and other forms being separate this time around. What can be read from what I wrote while the bus was moving isn’t my problem, but the nausea caused by reading and writing under those conditions was, so had to take breaks and look at the horizon now and then. As I mentioned above, the list of names that we were supposed to find and check ourselves on was the last thing that reached me, minutes before arriving at the destination, so the fact that I wasn’t there proved to not be an issue. And, since I’m at what happened on the bus, our kits were given there as well, and the backpack was the same, just the name of the NGO differing, yet the supposedly reusable bottle was made entirely of plastic this time around, so pointless and even harmful, and the hat was of that kind that you need to tie at the top in order to wear as one, and otherwise can use to protect your neck, or mouth and even nose if you want. Stuck to wearing the one received two weeks ago though.

After some confusion due to some roads being closed in Videle, we reached the destination at 9:15 AM and walked through the mud to the tents. I was among those who walked next to the unpaved road leading to them, since it was way less muddy there, but after a point that wasn’t an option anymore and doing so before that point led to quite a number of burs sticking to my pants, so I had to take a few moments to get them off. Since there was one that I only noticed after I started working, I’ll probably need to have another look at my clothes before washing them, since I’m yet to do so.
Getting back there, there was a stage and it was still being set up, but the sandwiches and tea, and also coffee for those who wanted that, were waiting for us, and the sound system was soon operational as well. One of the first songs was Nothing Else Matters, so I found myself nodding along, with my teammate from a year ago and a couple of others doing the same, but then there was some rap and some electronic music or something of that sort and many others started humming or even singing along and even doing some dance moves while we quickly moved away. Can’t say that I heard anything else I might have been fond of among the songs played before the live band took the stage, but also can’t fault the selection, seeming that they really tried to move through the genres and have something for every taste. The band really wasn’t in the least for mine, however. And, either way, being driven away at that early point meant I was among those having a look at the area we were to plant in before the speeches, and noticing the threatening clouds all too well, as you can also see in the pictures I took, albeit once again just using my phone and mostly before and after the actual work. Those who spoke said that it won’t rain until the afternoon, but the forecast said something else and quite a gust of wind brought dark clouds, and also the smoke caused by the lunch starting to be cooked, above us, prompting someone to say that we may even end up with a tornado.
Nevertheless, we started planting at 10:30 AM and I wasn’t left to go at it alone for long. Not that I’d have managed to do much if I would have been alone, since the ground was very soft but there were a lot of roots and, at least in some areas, some rocks as well, but I did mean to try, yet a man quickly approached me to ask whether I wanted help and took over digging. And he was there with his son, who was planting, leaving me with little to do… Which became even less when the woman who had sat next to me on the bus joined us as well, and four was definitely a crowd, even if one was a child. Plus that he told her that he had quite a cold and had taken everything he could think of to be able to come and work that day, adding another very good reason for me to not want to be around him if I could help it. So from that point I sort of flit around, not trying to dig anymore but looking for places where I could plant, sometimes getting back to help what I guess was sort of my team, sometimes helping others, as often as possible planting on my own in holes dug by others, since some seemed to just dig, occasionally gathering discarded markers or moving bundles of saplings closer… Seem to recall someone, probably that guy who offered to help, accidentally hitting my head at one point, but forgot exactly how and thought it was a very light hit, though now that I thought of that I just noticed something that may be a lump and therefore indicate otherwise, though it’s at the back of my head and I therefore can’t exactly check. Either way, flitting around like that also helped me avoid much of the interaction, though I had to struggle to avoid a breakdown even so, especially when the coordinator came to me a few times to teach me how to plant properly, seeming determined that I wasn’t doing it well.
Rain started soon and, at first, stopped again, but once it started again it didn’t stop anymore, though at least it remained quite light. So we kept working and actually finished our area quite early, so we moved to help those working on the one next to it after that and were just about finished there as well when the lunch break was announced, a bit before 1 PM. Since I had a spade again after we switched areas, I insisted on digging and planting one tree completely on my own, but otherwise didn’t count how many I was involved in planting at all. One thing I obviously know, however, is that at one point I ended up with a thorn in my finger, a part of it still being there after I removed the glove, and the very tip still being there even now, as I already mentioned, probably because I pulled that part out too hard instead of working it out gently. Kept thinking of asking the medical crew for help, but couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I’ll see what will happen now…
Back to the lunch break, I went to the toilet first, so there was a long line for lunch by the time I got in it, and it was hard to keep my hands clean for even a moment, with mud all over my clothes, including inside my jacket’s sleeves, and also on my phone, so after having washed twice before getting in line I ended up spending a fair bit of time wiping them with a napkin and rather holding them up, since the moment I lowered them they got all muddy again. And while I’m on the topic of waiting in that line, another interesting thing is that I ended up being just behind the girl who had asked about Sapiens two weeks ago, and we had recognized each other early on, but I didn’t mention that message I sent her then either, and she’s yet to reply, or probably see it at all, filters being what they are. Also in line, the woman who had sat next to me ended up next to me there as well, though she walked away after a while and didn’t seem to return, or at least not next to me again. But while she was next to me I noticed that she had one foot in a plastic bag, and when I asked about it she said that the bottom of one of her shoes had fallen off, and when I mentioned the times when I had the same thing happen with my boots she said she had thrown it away, so nothing to do about it anymore.
As I was finally approaching the tent, I heard something about the first person to go to the area for vegetarians and those fasting, and a moment later the guy who I guess was the main coordinator came to say that those who don’t want meat can go there directly, and there’s no waiting in line either. Of course, the moment he said that, a line did form there as well, plenty switching, myself included, and I’m not sure I saved any time, since I was quite close to getting the regular lunch at that point. But I had been considering going for the meatless courses anyway, if possible, being kept from actually trying to figure out how to do so before that moment by the fact that I thought they had a more limited quantity, just for those who had specified wanting vegetarian or vegan food when registering, and I hadn’t done so.
The food was good though, and the servings were quite large, unlike two weeks ago, and you could also ask for a mix of the main courses, which most seemed to do, myself included. Alongside that, there was a mix of cooked, possibly baked, vegetables, two choices of salad, and pie as dessert. In addition, as I was eating, having finally sat down to do so even though the benches were wet after having first eaten the pie while standing, the main coordinator came to the tables to say that anyone who wasn’t full and wanted more can go get more, and a bit later did so himself, announcing it as well, which was again quite the opposite of what happened two weeks before. The plates and utensils were strange though, seeming to be made of wood, thin and light wood for the utensils and possibly wood shavings for the plates. I heard something about the plates being edible though, but they didn’t seem to be to me, and since they were single use either way, it was probably worse than using plastic.
Unfortunately, if they did have tea ready when we got there, by the time I finished eating they were out, so I couldn’t get more then, that first cup remaining the only thing I drank while there. And what was strange was that I saw quite a number of volunteers walking to the buses when I asked about the tea, so I asked the guy who had been my team’s coordinator, who was at that tent at the time, whether we were supposed to leave and he said that another bus will leave when 50 more will want to, but 50 had wanted to leave then and they did. So I stepped back away, uncertain what to do next, and eventually got another bun and a piece of one kind of steak. Had been wondering about it and, between the main coordinator saying so, quite a number of things, mainly from the main meat courses, still being there, and my teammate from a year ago snatching a piece just as I was considering doing so, I worked up the courage and then just placed the steak on the bun and ate it while standing. The steak left a rather bad aftertaste, which lasted for hours, so I was a bit worried for a while, but I seem to recall that sort of aftertaste after eating similar kinds of steak, probably brought by dad from his mother or bought from somewhere, so it may have something to do with the sauce or spices used.
After I was done, I saw that some had gotten back to work, though the conditions were quite miserable. The organizers had given some flimsy raincoats to those who had wanted them, but it was just too rainy and muddy, yet some people tried and, after considering it for a few moments, I retrieved my gloves from where I had left them and joined them. What I did was plant trees in holes that were already dug, focusing mostly on those, a fair number, which were too shallow and didn’t have much around them in terms of earth which had obviously been dug out of them, leading me to believe that some had started digging them before lunch and had stopped at that point, resulting in the insufficient depth and most of the earth which had been dug out having been rained on for about one hour. But I did my best, trying to dig a bit deeper with my hands when necessary, since I hadn’t taken a spade again, filling as well as I could and keeping at it until 2:20 PM, when the main coordinator came to tell us that it was enough, we had already done more than they expected under those conditions, the weather didn’t allow for more and we should head to the buses.
So I cleaned up a bit more, quickly trying to wash off some of the worst from the sleeves of my jacket as well, then went to the buses, trying to search for the one I had arrived in, though I wasn’t certain I could recognize it anymore. Went first to one that seemed about to leave and asked a guy who was next to it, but he said we won’t return on the same buses, asking me whether I even remembered mine, and to just find one that still had free seats, since that one was full, and make sure it gets back to the same city, since there were one or two coming from others. There was another bus alongside that one at that time, but the guy ignored that one and told me to try those that were still behind, so I went there… Only to be turned away by my team’s coordinator, since I found him on the way and asked him as well, having him confirm that we won’t return on the same buses but saying that those that were behind were almost full as well, directing me back to where I had been, to that one which had been alongside the one that was about to leave. So I turned back around and hurried, overtaking many from the group which had started in that direction before me, and then also managing to very quickly change my boots with the shoes before climbing on. The driver was giving people some of those things to put on shoes so you won’t get the floor dirty, but had run out before my turn came anyway, and I managed to change before all seats filled up, so it was fine.

We left at 2:40 PM and the trip back was uneventful. There were no more lists or speeches, no confusion, the others were mostly quiet and plenty of people, including the one I ended up sitting next to, actually slept. The driver was chatty, but mainly with a person sitting right behind him, after noticing that they were living on the same street. We were back just before 4:10 PM… And when I got to the metro station the card gave an error. I had kept it in the notebook, which had been inside both backpacks, since I had placed mine in the one I had been given, and the sweater I had taken with me was above it, but the machine had taken several seconds to read it in the morning, so I guess something might have been wrong with it already, and either because of the moisture or because that machine couldn’t properly write on it in the morning, or because of a mix of the two, it became unreadable. But when I told the woman from the booth, she just waved me through, not even checking that it was still valid, and I was back here at 4:45 PM.

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