note to self
ok, so the farm thing was not a good idea...note to self: lonely middle-aged german women running farms = unnecessary drama
cool digs, though - eh?
my mother gave me a book a few years ago by parker palmer - let your life speak - in it, palmer drops mad science about how to live well, but my favorite piece of advice for when encountering tough situations is: "if you can´t get out of it, get into it".
this has been mantra time for me (traveling always is) and these recent days have been the only recent time that i have reminded myself of palmer´s words and used the escape hatch. ha! when someone projects victimhood vibes onto you and starts yelling at you for not sharing the load (in the capacity that maybe a co-owner of a farm might), and in conversation they vascillate between manic exuberance and grief, then it is time to go. even if the sun is setting and you don´t know where you are headed - just that anywhere is better than here.
so, as i pack my bags i remind myself of napoleon´s advice to his soldiers, "On s´engage et puis on voit" (jump in and then figure it out). i leave a note for the woman encouraging her to sell her overrun farm and get into community, clean my area, say a prayer of thanks and blessing, hulk the flybar over shoulder and head for the highway. first dude i see: road construction worker
"disculpe, senor...ustedes van a amposta ( name of the nearest town)?"
" no, pero vamos a tortossa."
" ok, esta bien si mevoy con ustedes?"
"si. no problema...esperate por alli (wait over there - near a construction shed)."
boom. ride secured. three moroccan homies cranking out an immigrant living in the unrelenting spanish heat, concrete dust in their ears, hair, and encrusted around their mouths. it´s 8:00 pm, their hands calloused but hearts softened, and they welcome me into their car. they take me back the way i had hitchhiked three days earlier and dropped me off near a river. i am on my last 20 euros. i remind myself that i did everything i could have to make peace with pyscho farm woman and that there is no guilt available for me to own, and i walk into town to get some ice cream. it tastes damn good. costs 2 euro - i need the remaining 18 for food (8) and travel(10) over the next two days. i meet 8 or so high schoolers who want to see me jump on the flybar. salta! salta! salta! they love it... i help them do it, and then watch this - the give me 10 euro. what? "no, es gratis!", i say. they wouldn´t have it - a truck load of more friends pulls up and we are all jumping, laughing and they want to give me this gift of money for my travels. que amable. how kind.
heart full of wonder, i head to nearest pub to watch germany v. italy and drink a celebratory beer in honor of my country´s independence from england (july 4th) and as well, for my independence from the creeping illusion of comfort and security at the farm - which was beginning to break the rhthym of trust that i had going. after the first half i go for a walk and find a different place to watch the game. better vibe, young people, families, "regulars". upon entering, i receive weird looks (customary when carrying around flybar, or perhaps b/c i kind of look like charles manson right now) - and then, "hey! hey! de donde eres tu?" i retort back my original coordinates, and this spunky, fit, overly- bronzed russian woman invites me to sit down with her husband and 8 others gathered around the table. it´s noisy, the game is blaring, plates of food being passed back n´forth. these people have known each other a long time.
after answering a barrage of questions i begin to ascertain that these folks are all neighbors and that it is one of their birthdays. a huge plate of potatoes, onions and the leg of some animal are generously slopped down in front of me. "eat! eat!" i am floored with surprise. an hour ago i was pinching pennies and now i´m eating a free meal with a table full of loud, beautiful russian immigrants and their neighbors. it gets better...
i was planning on sleeping in the local park and then making my way south in the morning. change of plans. this is why: nathalie explains to me that her neighbor, igor, needs to call australia in the morning for business, but cannot speak or understand english. " you stay at his house tonight and help him in the morning! ok?" i laugh. accept. throw back another shot of birthday vodka for igor.
italy wins in overtime, we shut the place down with the owners (who began drinking with us), jump on the flybar outside, and then head home to igor´s house on foot. i get into a conversation about franco (spain´s former fascist dictator), el che, and fidel with a kind-eyed spainard and we all say our two-kiss farewells. igor´s wife is over the top. she insists on taking all of my clothes and washing them (even the clean ones), shows me the shower and then makes a bed for me on their couch. that is where i´ll leave you, b/c that is where i am.
faith. hope. love. -donnie