Milagro do Easter

We had to go to Lugo very early this morning for an appointment. Before the sun came up. This time of year there are no Pilgrims at that hour. By July we will start seeing headlamps at 6am. The appointment did not go as planned. Ugh. I do not want to go back for this for a third time. As a result, we were delayed coming home for a bit. It’s a good thing, too. The fog in Lugo was epic this morning. We could barely see a few meters in front of the car on the way to town. But by the time we made our way home the perfect blue sky had come out and we were smiling as we turned the sharp left at O Coto to head down our country lane.

This week is Semana Santa in Spain. Many people have the week off. But everyone has Thursday – Sunday as a holiday. And our little stretch of the Camino Frances is PACKED with Pilgrims. Over a thousand walked by today. So many it looked like August trying to weave in and out of them so as not to hit them or the stone walls on the edge of the road. Walking five across on a small country lane isn’t a recipe for self-preservation. Once cresting the small rise after the horses in the field, we can see our house through the trees across our neighbor’s cow pasture. Jeff pointed excitedly.

‘There is heavy equipment in our front yard!’

What?!? My head whipped up and sure enough, there was a yard full of trucks and tractors. And men. Lots of men.

‘That’s a good sign.’ declared Jeff.

But I was skeptical. They’re building the AutoVia (freeway) a few kilometers away. Perhaps these guys saw an open gate and needed a place to rest, or something. Because nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has gone my way this winter. There was no way they were there for us. I was supposed to have an entire water treatment plant installed around American Thanksgiving. We missed a party invite to spend it in Malaga with friends while waiting for the workers to come. That was over four months ago. We are still waiting.

Jeff turned the car into the gate after shooing some Pilgrims who were picnicking in front of it and getting a lot of grief in something other than Spanish or english. He finally just shouted ‘I live here.’ That got them reluctantly moving. Slowly. We parked on the lawn in front of the house and got out just in time to see Diego, our contractor, and our Plumber break from the huddle of workers. It’s a freaking Milagro do Easter!! They are here for us. And they are starting to dig all the water and install the septic and electrical for the entire project. And they are preparing the ground for the solar panels. What?!? I stood there, speechless. I wanted to cry. But they came towards me, all smiles.

‘You’re here.’ I whispered, in utter disbelief. As if they had been gone off to war and returned in one piece.

‘Of course.’ As though I have not been dodging the police, the scowls of our neighbors, waiting, calling, begging, crying, waiting some more, calling some more, begging some more and finally, crying some more – since July of last year. Nine months. Jeff laughed out loud, it was so absurd.

Do we have our permissions to open the food truck yet? Oh no. But here, they don’t need permissions for installing a 3000 litre water tank and treatment plant. Or to run electricity to the entire property – including the shadow of all the Cabins and campsites we have yet to build. Or to redo our septic system. I do need permission to change the color of my front door. Not kidding. But digging giant swimming pool-sized holes in my yard that someone could fall into and break a leg? Nah! No problem.

I walked around and they had already started trenching. And preparing the area for our solar panel install. They have dug up our septic system and are expanding the drain field. Jeff and I stumbled around looking at it all, with our mouths hanging open. The old guy on the giant excavator made quick work of all of it. I could hardly speak. Jeff is thrilled because now he knows where all the electrical and water is run. In case he needs to dig or something.

I know why all this has happened. This week, my Swiss Army knife-of-a-friend in Santiago offered to help us by interceding on our behalf. And not just with the Almighty. Somehow, just that kind offer seems to have kicked things into high gear.

‘I have become an ass pain, Kelli.’ Diego informed me.

I looked confused. ‘I don’t understand.’

He pointed to his backside.

‘Ah. You mean a pain in the ass.’

He smiled and nodded.

‘Welcome to the club.’ I told him. Sadly, he knows what I am saying. I know he has been trying to climb the mountain of bureaucracy. He says the Patrimonio told him we will have an answer in 15 days. <heavy sigh> And, if they approve it the real building will start.

‘Even before getting the concello’s permission?’ I asked.

‘The Patrimonio trumps everyone. Let them fight it out if we have the permission of the turismo and the patrimonio. Then the Concello have to approve it.’

I am not a person who ever holds grudges. It’s a waste of time. But even I am surprised at how the sight of all this equipment and our old septic tank has swiftly washed away the months of teeth grinding frustration and gloom. I have never been so happy to have giant holes and piles of muddy dirt everywhere. Long trenches and massive things I don’t really understand sitting in my driveway. Because it all means SOMETHING is happening. At long last. Tomorrow we are heading into Santiago to spend Maundy Thursday with friends, attend church, watch processions, eat amazing food, drink amazing wine, and watch more processions. And I will be giving thanks and raising a glass for Easter miracles. Because this year I am sure we are the recipients of this one. Just in time.

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