On a recent morning as we were finishing up breakfast, my host father, Nicolae, said that he would be heading out to pick watermelons with a friend of his son-in-law. I got invited along and had a fun time.
From what I could tell, people came out for a couple hours to help Ion to harvest his watermelons. Seems like it is friendly gesture, and in return, he sends home a few watermelon with everyone.
Harvesting watermelons is a group effort. There is one guy arranging watermelons in the back of a truck, one guy (owner of the field) choosing the watermelons, and then several of us standing in between in a line tossing the watermelons one by one. Other than the fact that it takes several people, it is pretty efficient and allows the watermelons to be put into the vehicle that will transport them to the capitol (vs. having a tractor moving along through the field and then reloading into a van).
We worked for a couple hours and got the van loaded with several hundred watermelon. Then we tossed in a few dozen bags of sweet peppers on top of the watermelon and we were done. Afterwords, some vodka with some fresh watermelon in the fields, and a final thank you beer from the owner of the field at a local bar.
It was good to be outside all day again (feels like forever), and to hear some different people’s Romanian, to continue to get a better ear, as well as hang out with some new friends.