As I’ve shared before during my vanlife journey, plans change. Especially when you make proper ones.
Also this time. My friend Mirte had wanted to visit for a long time, but life kept happening and we couldn’t make it match, until now. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year, but through lots of voicemessages we always stayed in touch. Since I was here in the Catalina community, we thought it would be nice if she could visit a while and volunteer. But in summer, work and life here slows down (except for the tourist world which speeds up like crazy) and the necessity for volunteers to be here is less. So, our little plan of her being here, wasn’t going to happen. She did find another place to volunteer around here, so she would just visit for a few days and then move on and maybe come back after summer. But at least she wouldn’t be too far away and we would be able to meet up.
She was already in Barcelona, before coming here, but noticed she had a very mild cough and runny nose and just felt worried about covid. When I picked her up we went into town to get a test done, which turned out to be positive. Totally not what we had planned! I felt surprisingly at ease with the situation with regard to being at risk for infection. But obviously our plans needed to change, which did feel a bit stressful. I talked with Andrew about how we could isolate her and put me in quarantine within the community and also reached out to Carlos, to see if we would be welcome to stay there. On Catalina, I’m in the corner of the finca, so isolation would be possible and the people there could bring us food. But since Mirte couldn’t put her tent, in which she would be isolating in, the shade, we figured it would be more convenient to go to Carlos his place. I would take my van and tent filled with food and water for at least the week there and take care of Mirte, while she was isolated in Carlos’ belltent, below the shade of a tree on his finca. It was an emotional journey to come to the decision. Andrew and Aude had been so helpful in wanting to take care of us, without risking the health of the whole community and Carlos as well in being open to offer space for us to be. I also felt I didn’t want to bother anyone with our situation and be dependent on people, but neither wanted to look like I was ungrateful for the help offered. It’s fascinating what comes up inside of me in situations like this. Asking for help is such a challenge for me. It felt really weird leaving Catalina, without physically saying goodbye, it’s something that’s important to me, to (temporarily) close chapters and not just disappear. It was also an interesting experience to come back to Carlos’ place, after the last period I stayed there.
In the end, everything turned out to be perfect! I think we had the most beautiful and relaxed isolation/quarantine ever. Surrounded by nature, and being outside, eating healthy food, nice weather, resting a lot and not much else to do. Mirte and I shared meals outside with distance while chatting away and reconnecting live, supernice. We shared our feelings and experiences we were having or had had. We’re both very sensitive women, picking up on all kinds of emotions from ourselves and others. Her struggle with her body not really feeling ill, but feeling so tired. Me about feeling a bit awkward sometimes in how I felt I related to Carlos and ‘using’ his space without connecting much with him, and also feeling pretty tired. Honestly, for me stopping and not having to do anything besides cooking was very much needed too. Rest and recover. Life had been a bit hectic ever since I had come back from the Netherlands, with big changes of leaving Charlies project, starting yoga therapy training and later moving into a community and adjusting to community living rhythm and starting the search for my own finca. It had been a challenge to get up in the morning, the weeks before this unexpected quarantine, and the corners of my mouth kept healing and cracking again, which really is a sign of stress.
Now, I could just stay in bed if I wanted to, have siestas, do my movement practice and picking up yoga Nidra. The corners of my mouth healed and I started to feel more rested and less in need of siestas. After a week I did an antigen selftest, that my friend Serra brought over, since it is nearly impossible to get tested for free here. Fortunately, the test was negative, but it took a few more days for Mirte to feel more like her old self. It was interesting to see how she became more chatty and witty while getting better. In our last days the 3 of us spent a bit more time together, sharing a bbq and a farewell lunch on the day we went back to Catalina.
The idea would be that Mirte would stay for a couple of days, before moving on to the other place where she was supposed to volunteer. However, they told her they wanted to see a negative covid test. After just having had covid, that is pretty impossible for the first few weeks. So in the end, she was super welcome to stay a bit longer at Catalina and volunteer here. After all we kind of got what we wanted to begin with, albeit with a bit of a detour 🙂
I felt really happy to be back again in community life. While I had been away, I’d received some really sweet messages from the people here, which had just warmed my heart.
In the week before we had had a meeting in which we did a circle where 1 person would be chosen and everyone had to share what they admired about that person, and everyone got their turn to be spoken about. The idea was to help everyone discover their gift (to the community), which we would be talking about in a later meeting. That question was: ‘what are you bringing to the community’ and ‘what would you like to learn from the community?’ When my turn had arrived to receive what people admired, they mostly talked about my peaceful presence. How I appear to be grounded and ok with myself and how me taking my me-time was seen as inspiring. It was so touching to hear this. Realising my journey is being reflected into these qualities. And although I really don’t always feel at peace and like I have my shit together, deep down there is so much more peace than there used to be. The me-time I take, that to me sometimes felt like not being enough, turned out to be something that was admired. And through the tears of gratitude also came the smile of how funny I can find my inner critic to be.
Since my last story I also started the search for my own piece of land. When I was still in the Netherlands I had decided I wanted something for myself. But as I was enjoying community life and experiencing the value of it, I’m starting to feel more open for working together with very like-minded people. Together with my real estate agent Marisa, I’ve visited a few places. Most of which were too barren and too expensive and poorly accessible. The second terrain I saw however, is still wondering about in my mind. The first time I saw it I felt overwhelmed by the size and how much work it would be. It made me realise how happy I felt being in community and not having to do everything alone. But every time I show it to someone I feel a bit more potential. It’s like a blank canvas that can be filled in (which is also why it feels so overwhelming). It also has a lot of water, which is important in this area. Carlos reminded me that I don’t have to do everything all at once, a very helpful reminder. But for now, I’m leaving it be. As I was talking to my dad about it, he also agreed that focusing on my yoga therapy training and creating an income with that, is a big enough job as it is. And I do like to be able to fully dive into that training. Then later, when the time comes I’ll be able to fully dive into a finca project. For now there is still so much I can learn and share at Catalina.
Here I am, summer is here, lots of personal work and growth happening and grateful for this experience of so much love and abundance!