Over the course of the past few years, I have learned to let go more, and to let things be what they will be. So much of life is not in our control, so pretending we can do something about it is foolish. I just need to surf the wave.
As we inch closer to our 🤞 opening day, we are locking things in. Our big freezer will be delivered today from El Corte Ingles. And they will remove the old one from the barn. I swear, there was a body stored in there at one time in the past. It’s frightening to lift the lid. 😳
The bank tech arrived today and delivered/tested the card machine. I can take cards. We are good to go!
Then I reached out to our coffee supplier. He is also importing the coffee machine from Italy. Sadly, the machine is delayed. ‘Hopefully next week.’ Which is when I am opening- according to our sign. I closed my eyes hearing this. Just breathe thru it. We could open today if we had a coffee machine. The tables and umbrellas are up. The food truck is completely ready to go – sans coffee machine. Just breathe.
Then, this morning I walked outside and we had a full house. We aren’t even open and people came through the gate to sit on our tables by the food truck, and also the Amazon tables we moved in front of the house. It made me smile. They just kept coming. Some people sat on the grass. Others standing around in groups. Students, old people. Groups of women from various countries. Some cyclists. If horses showed up it wouldn’t have surprised me. I would have just said ‘What took you so long?’
I stamped passports as if I were a notaría and these people were buying real estate. We had so much fun and met so many people from all over the world. Jeff just laughed and shook his head. The sun peeked through the clouds and suddenly, water bottle refills were in high demand.
It’s interesting to hear what other people are seeing on the trail. Coming home from my Camino back in April, I practically ran from Palas to our house. Never stopping at another cafe for coffee or a stamp. I wanted to get home to my own bed. But I am hearing from Pilgrims today that people up stream are charging for stamps. €1-2. When I offer our stamp they ask ‘How much?’ I’m sure my confused expression shocks them. Frowning. ‘It’s free. Of course.’ This has meant very quickly a crowd forms. We had a line down road along the hedge at one point. Probably 25-30 Pilgrims waiting for a stamp. I heard one woman tell others passing by, ‘It’s free.’ As if that was a consideration. Others stopped and got in line, too. Like I was at a book signing. I set up a table and Pilgrims became very efficient having their Pilgrims passports open and ready.
‘Aqui?’ I would ask, pointing to an open square.
‘Si’ as I affixed the stamp, then they’d fold it up.
‘Gracias. Your house is beautiful.’ Smiling.
Later, people asked if they could refill their water bottles. We said ‘Of course.’
I just laughed ‘It’s free.’ As another line immediately formed to the spigot on the pump house.
Sure, I am disappointed that our coffee machine is late. I think most pilgrims will want coffee. But, even if it’s not here by next Thursday I think I will open anyway. The carnival atmosphere today lets me know that people on the Camino can live without a coffee stop. But what they really need is the spirit of the Camino without being charged for it.
I have asked Jeff a few times in the last couple of months for reassurance. ‘Do you think I’m crazy to do this? Will anyone even want what I’m selling?’
Usually, he wraps his arms around me. ‘It’s going to be great. And you’re going to do just fine.’
Sure, we are a business. We need to make money. But after today, I think he’s right. Because, along with the coffees and the pancakes, we are giving away a healthy dose of kindness. For free. I am so glad to know we are living up to the Happiness part of our name. And now, I see how much value that really has. Something money can not buy. Priceless.