Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mondays Really do Suck.

Especially when you get attacked by a villager twice. It's a long story, and I'm tired and trying not to dwell on it too much, but I'll give you the run-down.

Teresa is a villager who can be very violent. We, the new co-workers, were given a short lecture by her house mother about what provokes her and what to do and not to do and all that lot. Teresa also can't communicate very well at all. She repeats a few phrases (naughty girl! hit the children! meenenaquasp! be quiet!) over and over again, and says good morning and goodbye, and that's it. Also, she's really big and strong and scary looking. Emily is terrified of her. On Monday in the food centre, where Teresa works once a week, I noticed that she was sitting in the kitchen crying. I told Magda and we went in to comfort her. I admit, after hearing bad stories about her, and simply knowing that she has a history of violence, my hackles go up when I get close to her. I handed her a tissue, trying my best to exude calm energy. Magda and I sat with her for a few minutes and talked in comforting voices while she cried, and at one point Magda got up and had her back turned. I handed Teresa another tissue and she all the sudden started hitting me on my arms and chest. I got up and moved away quickly and she sat back down. Magda didn't notice a thing, it was very fast and quiet, but when we left the room I told her what had happened. She called Mickey, Teresa's house mother, who told her that one fo the villagers in her house, Peter Woods (who was on this day leaving Botton for good after being here for many years) had hit Teresa this morning. No one saw the beginning of it, but Peter is not one to hit people randomly, so the guess is that Teresa hit him first. Anyway, this is why Teresa was so upset.
She cried for a while, and Magda went in to check on her again and Teresa screamed and hit Magdalena really hard. But then a bit later she stopped crying and came over to where Magda and I were sitting sorting apples and took my hand and said, "Sorry." The she went about her day, doing the ironing. Everything was normal, though I was still a bit shaken, and then in the boot room while we were getting our coats on, it happened again! I said goodbye to Teresa and she screamed and ran at me! I tried to run away but she cornered me and hit me several times in the shoulder, saying "Hit the children!" Then she stopped and walked away. I stood there in shock for a minute, and she came back, only this time the said, "Goodbye." and "Sorry." She was so confused, and I wasn't angry with her for hitting me, really just sad for her that she can't express herself and her needs.
I went to Magda's office and told her it had happened again, and she said Teresa will probably never respect me because I look like a child to her and she hates children because they are loud and silly. And that makes me really sad. I don't want to have a reason not to like Teresa. I want to think she is a good person, but when someone randomly targets you and hits you like a punching bag, it's hard to think, "Oh, she's really very nice."

Alan Ayres, the village bicycle guy (among other things) fixed up a bike for me and dropped it off at the food centre, so I rode that home. By the time I got home the trauma of the morning had set in and I was really shaky and nauseas. I ate Katie-sized portions for lunch and downed a glass of wine (from a bottle I purchased in Middlesborough) before heading over to the farm.
So that was my Monday. And today in the food centre Ruth, a villager who is deaf and dumb grabbed my wrist and twisted it as hard as she could, attempting to hurt me. Lucky for me she's old and tiny so it didn't hurt, but it was still really confusing and upsetting because all I did was point to the clock and tap on my wrist to show her it was time to leave! I had no idea what she was doing grabbing my arm, but she was mad about something...

Oh, but on the good side of things, Andreas is back from his three-week holiday and a few of Botton's finest co-workers and I are going to the pub tomorrow. My back hurts now and I'm going to sleep. Bottling juice tomorrow morning, farm-related activities in the afternoon, and alcohol related activities in the evening.

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