‘Los Vecinos’, unexpected encounters5 February, 2019
San Vicente, Thursday 31 January 2019
Meanwhile, we live two full weeks in Spain, our own ‘mountain’ as we call it so badly. It looks like it never was different. It seems like we were always here, as if there had never been another, previous life. It feels so home already, all fears – if any – have disappeared. We live fully, we enjoy every moment, every meeting, every step we take in our new life. Perhaps we are currently still meditating on the adrenalin of the new, and come back hard reality in an unguarded moment, when peace has returned. Maybe at the moment when it turns out that it is not all that easy to attract customers. But I do not want to think about that now. I’ll see if and when that time comes. Now we are too busy setting up our business. Wim mainly takes the marketing section on his behalf, makes contacts and contracts with networks, intermediaries and organizations that make it easier for people to discover us and to book. It all takes a huge amount of time and effort. Everything seems to be much slower, but it is also a whole company to coordinate and manage everything in combination with purchases of furniture and appliances in ‘rebajas’ (or the sales), arranging papers and registrations at various agencies etc.
Because it is immensely important to have beautiful pictures of our accommodations for the various booking forums, I am fully occupied with the preparation of the smallest villa in which we currently live. The camp remains among boxes full of everything we took from Beveren. It is too small to live in constantly, and too small to store everything from a large house, so that we are obliged to keep to a minimum of requirements. That is why we leave as many boxes as possible, spread over the 5 villas. The result, of course, is that we go to the top every day to look for that one thing that we still need to have. And despite the fact that we recorded the contents neatly on the boxes, it is still not sufficiently detailed to find out where everything is. We lose several hours just to find stupid things, so again we cannot continue with what we were doing at that time and we are forced again to start something else because the object has become seemingly untraceable. That makes it frustrating anyway. But we remain optimistic and do not let it come to our hearts. We just continue and see where we get. This is a temporary transition period that we have to go through. Everything will have to be fine on his own time.
In the meantime, it is here in our immense domain a lively bustle. Every day the workers come to do their job, and you hear the animated Spanish cries of the men among themselves. They seem to be busy everywhere and nowhere. It seems unstructured, but we are impressed of the work that they have already delivered. At this moment they are busy installing the new electrical installation outside. It is no easy matter when you see that they really have to start looking for how everything was laid out in the past.
Last week Wim suddenly got the idea to invite the next door neighbours for a cup of coffee after a chat. I was still preparing breakfast in my pyjamas. But here in Spain nobody cares, even more, you do not have to feel shy about it at all. It became super cosy. Spontaneously I offered a croissant, and although they did not speak any English or whatever, we seemed to understand each other. They were talking Spanish, we were talking a few words Spanish and armed with the google Translate app. Blissfull. In all the years they lived on the mountain they had never had contact with the neighbours. They enjoyed it visibly, and we proposed to give them a tour. They were very impressed by all the villas and really appreciated that we were so open. Promptly we were invited on a tour of their house, and so we were in their living room and in their bedroom.
It was so disarming, so noncommittal, so warm, so hospitable. We both had a very good feeling about it. The feeling of, okay, it seems to be just like in Beveren, we will have nice neighbours who will do everything for each other. Juan, as every Spaniard apparently is called here, has already helped Wim several times with the bringing in of appliances or furniture. Strange is that despite the language barrier and despite the clearly different training and culture hands are reached and ties are being forged. This is what we both dream of, this is what Lavinia means: no distinction, no outward show, but pure, honest human contacts. And we saw that it was good …
A few more days before, a much more unimaginable event occurred. Unimaginable in the sense of unexpected, in the sense of ‘how suddenly your life can get a different turn’, in the sense of ‘things are coming on and it is up to you to seize opportunities and take on challenges’. Our other vecina (neighbour) was suddenly calling at the gate ‘hola’ ‘hola’. In fluent Spanish she rattled us a story from which we understood after a while that she had found a dog and was urgently looking for shelter because otherwise he would be killed by the Guardia Civil. She stood in tears and fully emotionally told her story. The dog was not chipped, and she could not keep it herself because her own dog attacked him constantly. If we could keep him until she found a solution to find the owner or adoptive family. Because I actually always thought it would be fun to have a dog in Spain here, I thought maybe it would not do any harm to take him home. That way we could suddenly see if it was feasible for us. A few years ago we had a Greyhound for about ten months, but the dog was extremely anxious and depressed. Even after all those months he never came to us, he dived away anxiously and we did not have any ties or anything with him. He constantly peed in the house, did not enjoy anything and only knew fear. Eventually it turned out that he was better off without us and he went back to the organization. The poor animal was too heavily traumatized by what it had experienced in its past. Wim was not very convinced, and only wanted to give it a chance if he got the assurance from Nieves (the neighbour) that she herself found another solution if it turned out that it did not work for us.
She had the dog in the car, and suddenly he was standing on the terrace with us. She was overjoyed that she had a solution for the poor animal. She promised to come back in the afternoon with necessary supplies to be able to take care of him. And indeed, a few hours later she brought a big bag of food, a bone and a toy to get through the first few days. Since then she has been with us almost every day with one or the other for the dog. A pillow, a flea collar, medication against a deadly disease, etc.
It immediately turned out to be a match. Especially with me. Maybe because I mainly reacted emotionally and only saw the positive things. It is a super sweet, affectionate dog. He is still a puppy of about 6 months old, but not so small, because it is a shepherd dog. He was very nervous and agitated the first few days, and constantly jumped at us, playfully caustic, attention-grabbing, and so on. He could not possibly get inside our house because it is too small. So he hangs outside on a long chain because the domain is unfortunately not closed, and we do not want to run the risk of him running away. In the meantime he is with us for a week and he is doing very well. He is clean, sleeps from 7 pm to 8 am, and especially he learns very quickly. Such a huge contrast with Paco, the greyhound. We teach him Dutch commands and he will sit down, give a paw, and learn every day. He is much less impetuous, and it is a pleasure to teach him things. ‘Amigo’, that is how we called him, has already stolen my heart. Thanks to him, we have discovered in what a beautiful region we live. Behind our domain, our mountain, lies a vast beautiful hilly landscape with rugged trails and stunning views over the sea and Alicante. It is wonderfully fresh air, and you will rarely meet someone.
Every day I do more than 12 000 steps, also because it is often a back and forth walk from villa to villa.
Today Nieves was back with a bag of lemons for us, sweets for the dog and the question if she might bring a dog house of more than 80 kg for Amigo tomorrow.
Just like that, this is Spain, this is the southern mentality. We love it!
Bienvenido and Espana! Bienvenido Amigo, who knows he will stay, I think so, I am almost certain … 😉
Hasta Luego !