My family and close friends know that I am a girly girl. I love all things pretty and glittery. I am not opposed to sparkles, makeup, and high heels (except when I have to walk a few miles). I go for the romantic comedy when I pick out a movie to watch and I have watched my fair share of Sex and the City episodes. I grew up ice skating and taking ballet lessons with loads of pink dresses and skirts, tutus, and tiaras helping my closet burst at its seams. The list could go on and on…
Suffice it to say, visiting and working on a farm for my organization’s divisional retreat was not exactly what I would call a treat. A day at the farm was not up my alley. I do not have a green thumb, and I barely know anything about vegetables and fruits.
Early in the morning, instead of turning on our computers and sitting at our desk for 7.5+ hours clad in business casual attire, we gathered together at Common Good City Farm in the Bloomingdale district of the District of Columbia. Looking quite different in our sweats, hiking boots, and makeup-free faces, we were put to work immediately after a quick tour around the urban farm. Though we are all familiar with hard work, the type of work we were assigned was very different from our everyday desk jobs where the biggest challenges are carpal tunnel syndrome or a migraine from the computer screen.
So what exactly did we have to do? We weeded. We dug trenches. We pruned squash. We harvested tomatoes. We composted. We fertilized. We dragged out soil using the wheelbarrow. We organized different seeds. Oh! And we sweat a lot and got bitten by all the bugs.
In the midst of it all, we grew closer and had the chance to learn about each other in a way that is nearly impossible during a division meeting. I learned that our chief of staff has a beautiful fish pond that is two feet deep at her house; several colleagues are avid bikers; another colleague is just as picture-happy as I am, towing around her camera everywhere she goes; yet another is a feisty competitor who will not be beaten when it comes to shoveling the dirt. It truly was an eye-opening experience.