Moving to a foreign country takes courage. No matter the circumstances that brings you there. Everything is different. And, as Jeff told me so many times, every time we walked out the door of our apartment in Valencia, ‘Everything is hard.’
Learning how to shop in a grocery store. What simple things are called. Learning that you don’t know what you don’t know. How to ask for, and how to get what you need. And, it can feel isolating.
When we moved to Spain nearly five years ago I had Developing a community on my list. People I cared about and those who cared about me. Friends I could count on. And I did have a community in Valencia. People I still love. But then, we moved away. We had to start over. No, not wondering how to purchase Carpet Fresh – psst… it’s not called that in Spain. But to develop a community of our own. Again.
Living so far outside a city on the farm has proved challenging. We are not in the mix. The hive of city activity. And, I miss that. Especially in winter. We have met so many great people in our area around home, but, lets face it, we are and will always be outsiders. Strangers.
When the food truck is open I get to hang out with interesting people all day long. People from all over the world transforming their lives, one step at a time. But, most of them I will never see again. Its a fun and inspiring community, but a transient one. I needed friends. And then, we met John.
John is the connective tissue of Santiago. And Santiago is just 45 minutes from our house. When the new A-54 goes in next year, it will be closer to a half hour. He has been such an amazing friend and supporter. And the Grand Poobah of the social scene. Not to mention an all around good soul. And it’s because of John that we met Leigh. And then Patti. Amongst many, many others. Leigh is a fellow Washingtonian. And Patti is a San Franciscan/East Coast transplant. And, now, I am happy to say I have found my tribe of women in Galicia.
Leigh and Patti produce the Good Morning Santiago YouTube series. And Leigh hosts the Camino Cafe podcast. You can check them out here
I love Leigh’s interview with John Brierley – The author of so many Camino books and, dare I say, father of the modern day pilgrimage. On the Camino I see more Pilgrims carrying his books than any other. An inspiring man who encompasses the true spirit of the Camino. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cV3MA_mqUjQ
Back in Seattle, I had a group with friends who met monthly for dinner. We called ourselves PWBP – People With Big Personalities. Sometimes we allowed a special guest to join us. But, usually it was just us, because, well, we knew we were A LOT, for most people. At these dinners we could laugh as loud as we wanted. Drink as much wine. Sing, dance, tell jokes. Be ourselves. All without worry of judgement or any outside disapproval from those who found us to be ‘too much. We only ate at sympathetic restaurants. ’ Quite liberating. I have missed them.
So, yesterday, I drove into Santiago. I had proposed a collaboration with Leigh. I write. She does video. What if we worked together on a project? So many people ask me for advice on what to do after walking their Camino. ‘I’ll be in Santiago in three days. I have X number to days until my flight home. What do you think I should do?’
Before the season starts, Leigh and I are going to visit some of the lesser known, really cool places in Galicia. She will shoot her show, and I’ll write my blog, with a bit more detail on the background and history. As you all know, that’s my jam. We will start next week with Monforte de Lemos.
I can’t tell you how happy I was after lunch. Energized by a new collaboration with these wonderful women. A new project. And a new tribe – The Lunch Ladies. Just what I needed🙏