It’s hard for me to think, that just a few weeks have passed since we made our way to Kancoona Valley that first day. It feels like so long ago, and maybe that’s just because the connection that we made with the family feels like that of a family we’ve known forever. Either way, the time flew by far too quickly, yet I’m left sense, that it was so long ago. I’ve enjoyed myself (probably far more than the normal WWOOFer normally has the opportunity to) and come to love this family that has taken 2 complete strangers into their home with nothing but warmth and compassion. The Birti family is truly one in a million, or as they say, “Diamonds in the Vineyard”.
I’ve grown attached to all members of this family. The head of the family, the patriarch, and wine making extraordinaire stands just above 6 feet tall, with a laid back attitude, an intuitive mind and a gift for storytelling and comic relief. He works hard and long houzrs on a daily basis, always however making time for a nice coffee break. Whata’ya expect from an Italian eh? He always knew how to put a smile on someone’s face, including that of his wife, as he’d chase her around the house on a bi-daily basis, saying how much she loved playing hard to get, as she’d sit there and role her eyes. It was love.
The matriarch of this family is one of the most brilliant women I’ve ever gotten the pleasure of knowing. Alex and I both said, on several occasions, we don’t know how she does, what she does! This woman is the mother that all mothers aspire to be, and she does it with a smile on her face. She’s a superwoman if there ever was one. She takes pride in everything she does, and boy does she do a lot! Early mornings and late nights, driving the kids to school, running errands, taking care of her mother, cooking, cleaning, organizing, planning, dealing with the business, running the restaurant... I could go on, but I think that’s enough for one 24 hour a day. Not to mention that she gives attention, love, and a piece of herself to everyone in her life, including me and Alex in our weeks spent there.
As she drove us to our bus stop our final morning, Alex talked about our first day’s arrival, and even I, the “heartless”, never teary, sans emotional self that I am, began to feel my eyes swell up a bit. Luckily for me, I’ve got pretty good control of my tear ducts, but as we parted ways, handing her a card and giving our final hugs, both she and Alex began to tear up, trying so terribly hard to hold themseleves back from crying. I stood there with a smile upon my face, knowing that one day (hopefully soon) we’d meet up again, and gave her one last hug before climbing onto the bus.
As the bus pulled out, and we turned around to see where our friends had gone, we could see mother and daughter waving us farewells smiles and tears, a mix of emotions. Alex and I sat on the bus finding it difficult to believe that we were really gone from the Birti household, that was until we began telling stories we remembered, and those thoughts of sadness turned to laughs and joy. We may not always be able to be with them there, but the memories will always stay with us.
Thank you Birti’s, for sharing your stories, your life, your home, and your hearts. I know that both Alex and I can’t wait to do the same for you, 1 day!