It was a warm welcome back in Spain. Both because of the weather and because Carlos picked me up from the airport. It doesn’t happen very often that there’s someone at the airport to pick me up, it always gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling when it does happen :). Able to share all the stories and our processes of the past weeks as we drove home.
Being back in my little home also felt good. Lotje, however, wasn’t really up for it. Within 24 hours of being back I was at a garage with a broken vacuum pump of my brake. I had experienced the same poor braking problem last time, after the mechanics had fixed my clutch cable. So I had hoped that, like last time, it was just a tube that had come loose. When I opened the hood of the engine, everything was still in place. No easy fix unfortunately… I went to a different garage as last time, with the hope that this time repair would be a bit smoother. And it was!
With my ever-improving Spanish car mechanical knowledge we found the problem quickly. He made several phone calls, since ‘antique’ parts aren’t easy to come by, but he found a new one. I had to make a deposit, to be able to order it. I could still brake, it was just really poor, so I could drive a bit and stay near the sea, while I waited 2 days for the part to arrive. It took the mechanic just an hour to fix and all was well again. Lotje is getting shinier every time! Me, feeling happy I had just worked a bit, although not too excited to have to spend it on repairs immediately…
With my new plans of moving back to the Netherlands it was also time to start the search for festivals that I could and would want to work at this summer and writing them to see if they were interested in what I have to offer. Since most things are more fun when they’re done together, I asked my friend Mirte, whom is just finishing her Shiatsu therapist training, if she would be up for working together. We’ve written to several festivals and up to now have one week at Nibana festival in France. We’ll give bodywork treatment sessions and she’ll share merengue and salsa workshops and I will share massage workshops. I’m really looking forward to it, although it also makes me feel a bit insecure. I’ve given a massage workshop before at a retreat, which was great fun and worked really well, but it’s been a while. There will be a great bunch of facilitators there, which also feels a bit intimidating. But I’m just going to go for it, prepare well and trust that it will be great :).
Mirte also pointed me to an online connected breathing challenge, which she thought I might be interested in. I’d been wanting to do a more intense breathing practice for a while now, but never saw anything I liked. I also always have a bit of a resistance towards certain breathing practices. To me, deepening breaths, prolonging them or focussing on the pauses between in- and exhalations makes total sense, but the prolonged more circular and faster paced breathing practices I’m not too fond of. They resemble hyperventilation too much, which will obviously bring about all kinds of bodily sensations. In my experience that feels like messing with the gas homeostasis of my body. And I always like to believe that my body knows better what is right for me than I do. That it will take care of itself as long as I listen to its needs. On the other hand, I also feel that it can be really useful to work with resistance I feel, and do something to shock my system a bit. Because in the end, not doing something is also a form of control. Of me thinking that I know what’s best. I also strongly believe in and have seen the resilience of the body and how I don’t know if something is right for me unless I try it (to a certain extend obviously ;)).
Having made my bed and lying comfortably in my van, the practice began. First there was this very long introduction by a man with a beard (because, you know, that’s how it works…), explaining the idea and what might happen. From feeling light-headed and a dry throat to tetany of hands and body spasms. I had figured it couldn’t be that bad, and felt I wanted to give it a proper go and last the whole hour. Full of enthusiasm, focus and a bit of resistance I started the practice. Within 15 minutes my mind was getting really annoyed. I was light-headed, which made me feel that I was doing something utterly stupid and unhealthy. My fingers started to go into the tetany that he had described, and I started craving food, just to be able to stop the practice. But I kept going, fully trusting that I would be able to handle whatever happened. It turned into an intense hour where I kept breathing, despite body spasms, my hands and mouth being in tetany and my body tingling like crazy. My mind resisting with all kinds of excuses to stop the nonsense. I broke out in a sweat and getting a massive cramp in my calf just at the end of the practice, while I kept dozing off. Afterwards I felt so tired and was shivering all over. I kept dozing off and waking up for about an hour, trying to be with what had happened. Finally, I was done spacing out and ready for a cup of tea, before going to bed. During my sleep I had lots of dreams. I woke up as I was dreaming of being in an intensely lovely hug with a man. No idea who, nor could I see his face, but it was a nice feeling to wake up with.
The breathing challenge continued for 3 more days of which I joined 2. They weren’t as intense as the first session, still some body movements that I allowed to happen and tingling, but my mind became more relaxed each time. The sessions also didn’t feel as long anymore. My dreams were quite intense though. Maybe also because of the restless weather, which always influences my sleep while in the van. One dream was about me being raped, which was really uncomfortable and felt kind of embarrassing, because who dreams that…? I did decide to skip the last session. They were from 8 till 9 o’clock in the evening, which for me is a bit late and I felt like I had done enough processing for a while. Time to chill out and have a night with some hot chocolate (with a dash of honeyrum) and Grey’s anatomy ;).
During the daytime, I had decided that my remaining time here in Spain might as well be spent learning something and being useful. Lately, my interest in permaculture had been sparked and growing. I’ve also been learning Spanish on and off for years. Never staying long enough in a Spanish speaking country to properly learn and I’ve been surrounded by German speaking people during vanlife in Spain. So, I’m still in the process of learning Spanish properly. Luckily, there is the internet, where I registered at Workaway to look for a place to get my hands dirty while hopefully learning some Spanish in the neighbourhood (close enough to the ocean, to be able to see my friends and have a surf ;)). I found a place nearby, La Cuartilla, owned by David and Andrew. The place really appealed to me and I wrote them immediately. Andrew replied that they were on holiday and weren’t looking for anyone at the moment. But that Aude, who was taking care of the place, might be interested in help and company. He also added me to a local permaculture whatsapp group, where I could ask if anyone needed my help. The permaculture group would also have their monthly meeting the next week, which would be nice for me to join.
On Saturday evening I went to La Cuartilla, feeling all nervous about what I was getting myself into now. I met with Aude, we shared dinner and talked all evening. We clicked really well and enjoyed each other’s company. We had a shared interest in teaching yoga, personal growth and alternative ways of living. She had been alone on the finca for a few weeks and told me she really felt like having company again. I could stay with Lotje and help her out with some garden chores. She had also just picked up a caravan and needed help with putting it in place. Levelling a caravan turned out to be quite the challenge. We both had never done it before, but we managed! On Sunday, Aude was teaching a yoga and aromatherapy workshop in the yurt on the finca. I was able to join, because someone didn’t show up. So far, Aude and I had mostly been speaking in English (so far for me trying my best to learn Spanish…). The workshop was in Spanish, which was a lovely, but intense experience. To my surprise it turned out, that there is this whole community here with lovely people. They’re doing kirtan, (acro)yoga, contact impro and dance, which I hadn’t expected. La Cuartilla is also such a beautiful place to be. I could totally see myself staying here for the 10 days that I could, maybe even returning here in the future.
On Wednesday, there was the permaculture meeting. I didn’t really feel like going. Too much Spanish, not knowing anyone and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to another place. But Carlos came along too, so off we went. Turned out it was a finca Carlos had been to before and he knew the owners. As we were waiting for everyone to gather, there were some more familiar faces of people that I had met through Aude. Then, a black VW van arrived and a beautiful man came out whom immediately caught my eye.
The meeting consisted of an explanation about the project (nature conservation and restoration with free roaming horses and woodworking), a walk around the finca and a little round of introductions of everyone who was there to get to know one another. This interesting man, named Charlie (his birthname is Carlos, but he calles himself Charlie), and I had quite quickly found each other and started talking. We got to know each other a little during the walk around the finca, where we shared our traveling stories and some of our life visions. The land was beautiful, even though I didn’t see everything, since I was a bit distracted ;). He told me about a Thai massage workshop that he was organising, that I might be interested in. I told him about Aude’s birthday party the following Saturday. It would be an evening with kirtan, sharing food and dancing, that I hoped he would be interested in. He asked for my number and we stayed in touch. He is Spanish, but has lived in the UK and Belgium for years, so we were mixing English, Spanish and Dutch/Flemish (the accent, I find incredibly adorable). He’d said that he would love to see me again and come over for Aude’s birthday party.
My mind started making up all kinds of stories about who this man would be. From ‘this might be the man I’ve been imagining to share life with’, to ‘this will probably be another disappointment waiting to happen’.
During my travels with Maayke in Norway and on several occasions with my aunt, we made very specific wishes, or dare I say demands, of characteristics that our future life partner would need to have. With the notion that the universe doesn’t understand negatives, so ask for what you do want. And that if you are really specific with what you want, only then can it be realised. If you’re not specific enough it will result in too much randomness. Even during my therapy, I made mindmaps of the relationship I had just been in (as a reality check to help with letting go) and how I would like my ‘prince charming’ to be.
Charlie and I met each other again as he came over for the kirtan and the party. It felt a bit strange to invite someone over whom I just met to a party of someone whom I had also just met, even though it felt like Aude and I had known each other for a long time), but everyone was fine with it :). I felt excited and a bit nervous to see him. Fortunately, there was the kirtan to keep me occupied and allow me to relax more, while we were getting used to each other’s vibe. Afterwards at the dinner and party, we shared more of our life stories and some contact impro dance and cuddles. It all felt really natural and comfortable. My body felt at ease, no restlessness or anxiety.
Maybe I did come back for Carlos. A different one, one that I hadn’t met yet. For now, let’s enjoy the/this present 😉 <3