It’s Thanksgiving in Galicia and we are the only first ones who know it. The storms of the past few days have passed and its a calm morning. But storms are visibly brewing on the horizon.
We’ve met so many people since arriving here over the weekend. People who have been generous with their time and patience. So if Im grateful for anything this American 🙏 Day its for this. And for the education in the home searching, buying, permitting and building process.
When viewing a home here the owners will invariably be there to give you the tour – unless they don’t live within an hours drive.
We’ve had to climb over high walls and fences to view some homes and properties. So I learned to be grateful for locks and gates that function properly on a stormy day. We have met the aged and seriously ill – so I learned to be grateful I’m still in my 50’s and nimble. And I’ve been reminded that a kind word and a smile goes a very long way to brightening someone’s day, as one homeowner proudly pointed out the heavy matching woodwork and her decoupage artwork that ‘stays with the house’.
We are all the same. We take pride in our homes and want others to see value in what we value. Perhaps validating for a moment that where we’ve arrived has all been worth the effort. The houses we have seen are, after all, the culmination of many of these owners life’s work and they deserve the acknowledgement. So we refrained from asking, in front of them, if walls could be taken out or kitchens gutted. Especially after one elderly owner talked at length of designing the tiles herself, so many years ago.
We’ve been assisted by one translator, brought along by an agent, who became so enthusiastic about helping us she called snd arranged for a family member to pick up her kids from school to feed them lunch. And an engineer who told me ‘No’ a lot and didn’t sugar coat the limits of either permitting nor structural integrity. I like people who tell me ‘No’ when I have gone beyond the edge of sanity.
Jeff’s assessment? ‘People are so nice here!’ After we bought some groceries at a Hipercor and the bag broke on the street going back to our car, spilling the contents on the sidewalk, a woman reached into her purse and got out a folded plastic bag and started scooping up our things, handing it to Jeff.
I left my phone at a coffee shop and they had it for me two hours later when I went back, sweating and a little frantic.
So to our American family and friends, no matter where in the world you are celebrating. Alone or in a crowded kitchen with a turkey in the oven. Happy Gratitude Day 🙏
I think our new friend, Angela said it best. ‘People must help each other. We are all human, after all.’ It seems to encompass the spirit of Galicia. And today, thats what we are grateful for, most of all.
4 thoughts on “Feeling Gratitude”
Yeah, I forgot about the 100 meters from the coast law. It really is a good law though. We are about 250 meters from the beach and I really don’t want new houses built in front of me. It’s bad enough that there are 2 houses already in front of me that were built before the law and the owners thought it was a good idea to plant eucalyptus trees in the yard that are now 100 feet high blocking most of the view!!!! We have been planning their death (the trees) for 5 years. 😁
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Hahaha. I agree its a good law. On the stretch of coast we were looking at there would be no one blocking the view and just 2 other houses in sight. I asked if we could put a pergola and a patio on the water side of the house. I heard loud and clear ‘patio, maybe. Pergola, no!’ I asked if I could put up a large umbrella and he laughed and said ‘ok’. And as to building a garage on the back side of the property near the road we heard ‘It will depend upon the council but could take years, if ever.’
Gallegos are very proud and sometimes stubborn people but over the past 30 years I have found that they are also kind and will go out of their way to help you. I hope that you were able to find a house to start your new adventure in Galicia.
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Carol – your comment a few months ago about difficulty in getting permits was invaluable. It meant we asked for professional guidance and questions we wouldn’t have thought to ask, so you’re a real life saver. Just having a vision for a ruin doesn’t mean you can get permission to realize that vision in rural areas with a council that won’t give it. And building within 100 meters of the coastline? Don’t get me started. I would agree with my limited interactions this trip. Everyone we met was very proud of the area, etc. and so helpful. Jeff kept commenting on it. Strangers gave me their WhatsApp contact info when they learned we were looking for a place. ‘If you need any help, please let me know.’ The pharmacist where we went to get some cold medicine even gave me her info – unbidden. We saw some places that are possibilities but we’re proceeding with caution. Culturally, I’m not sure how well tough negotiations will be received but if we can get the one house we’re thinking about for the right price then we’re on our way. Thank you again for the advice on the planning/permit issue.