5 November, 2019

Lavinia, Sunday 3 November 2019

I am very proud to announce that last week we welcomed and waved out our first intercontinental guests. Apparently it was a couple that was following Nakedwanderings, and had read our review ( Review NakedWanderings ). They were very charmed, and wanted to fly over to Lavinia no matter what. It is quite an honour, when you realize that Cam and Carolyn took 27 hours to get here (one way). Even more, and that just to stay one week. That they also defied the well-known jetlag, and that with the sole purpose of Lavinia! After a week they went back to the West of Canada. I still can’t get it right, to be honest. In addition  it was a very pleasant couple and we spent hours chatting, eating together, and they really enjoyed their very limited leave. What a privilege to be able to offer them that holiday. They were really impressed by just about everything, the view, the garden with its ever flowering flowers, the starry sky, the moon, the nature reserve around us, the villa, the swimming pools, the sauna, the film projection that Wim made of ‘the making of Lavinia’ …. And this is our ultimate goal: to see people enjoy themselves and to make them happy. That’s all we really need. It gives us so much satisfaction. And it is by far the most beautiful goal I have ever set in my life. Making people happy, if only for a moment, makes me happy for a whole day, and the day after, and after…

Yesterday our last guests arrived, Belgians. They’re all alone here, so it’s really quiet to finish our season, so to speak. It promises to be very pleasant days with our guests again. We wisely decided to close Lavinia until the end of December. First of all to relax a bit, and especially to keep up, to put things in order, to explore the region on our own, to follow Spanish lessons, to make a big evaluation about our first season and so on. Yesterday I drew up a list of things we need to get done, and it was a bit distressing, I think I already have 47 tasks, some shorter in duration than others, but also tasks that will require several days of time.

This also gives us the opportunity to give family and friends the opportunity to rent a villa in that period, dressed of course. In December we also organize our first yoga retreat holiday. It is very exciting, and we are looking forward to it, because it is new for us as well.  Our minimum limit for it to continue was 4 participants, and they have registered in the meantime. So there is still some room for extra interested people. (More info about this can be found on this page )

On Halloween we were able to enjoy exceptionally beautiful weather, 27 degrees, the shade, and on November 1st even more. It’s a bit of a strange feeling to walk around naked, knowing that at the same time people in Belgium have to wear all their scarves and hats. One morning there was even a difference of 20 degrees in Belgium compared to here in Lavinia. Lovely, really, to experience autumn that way. Swimming in our heated pool, with the sun on your face, you even have to rub against sunburn! The evenings and mornings are still nice and warm, 22 degrees or more, so you can enjoy the flickering lights of the city we are looking forward to outside on the terrace, even after the evening falls.

This week it was our cleaner’s birthday, and we totally unexpectedly gave her a beautiful bouquet from our garden as a gift.

She was so surprised and in the clouds that it gave me wings all day long. I felt instantly happy, and on that wonderful feeling I carried the feeling in my heart till sleep time. How wonderfull. For the first time I also spoiled myself with a bouquet from the garden. I don’t understand why I’ve never done this before, the garden is full of flowers in the most unthinkable shades, some wonderfully fragrant, crowded by countless butterflies and bees. The birds are also getting much closer lately. We also appear to have a fat house sparrow who comes to visit us every day. Nature is still full of life here; the magpies -who remind us of our dear deceased friend- who loudly shout their story high up in the trees ( Magpie J.  ), the one pigeon that always sits on the same dead tree, the raptors that fly over in search of their prey, the bats that flutter around at dusk, the many butterflies with their beautiful drawings that cheerfully dance from flower to flower, sometimes in a beautiful love game, the beetles that look for sweets, I enjoy this free spectacle as never before. And honestly, I was never aware of it before we moved here, because I was too busy with the hustle and bustle around me, with ‘having to’, which caused me to waste so many precious years on trivial material things. But, I’m not complaining about what’s over, some people will never experience it. Some people will never get a chance to become aware of the wealth you just get for free. I am extremely grateful that I have been able to organise my life in such a way that I no longer confuse material wealth with real wealth. You often hear this awareness among people who become very ill, or suffer a great loss, or experience a burn-out. Apparently even a few very heavy moments of loss in my life have never opened my eyes sufficiently. So be thankful if it did open your eyes, no matter how hard your loss or setback was. Every disadvantage has its advantage, which is more or less my new view on things. I have become a great believer in the fact that things happen for a reason, they are intersections that you unwillingly end up at and that allow you to go in a certain direction, either you make a U-turn, and choose for the known, or you take a new direction, you choose for the unknown and you have new experiences, you meet other people who give you a whole new perspective on things and you discover things in yourself that you were never aware of before. I know a number of people in whom the experience of cancer has given their lives a whole new direction, has revealed their talents to themselves that they were not aware of. After developing those talents, they discovered new things and took a different direction in their lives. I don’t wish anyone to have to go through hell before you discover this, but I just find out  that people are often only then able to finally stand still and think about the life they have led up to that point. Many people are trapped in their own ‘cage’ which limits them to live consciously and enjoy what life and others around them can offer. And I think that’s a great shame. But I plead guilty, I myself,  was in the same cage, for more than 40 years, not allowing myself to enjoy what I had. By constantly putting the pressure on myself to ‘have to’, to be a perfect housewife, to be a perfect mother, to be a perfect wife, to be a perfect employee, to be a perfect wife, to be a perfect girlfriend.  It was all in my narrow-minded mind then, in my head, putting myself in an impossible position and not allowing myself to enjoy my marriage, my children, my job, my friends… instead, I poured a straitjacket tightly around me, which made it impossible for me to be myself. I still blame myself, but fortunately I found out ten years ago that ‘good’ is good enough, that you don’t have to be perfect. That being yourself, opens many more doors to real human, warm and valuable contacts. That openness around doubts, imperfections, shortcomings, mistakes from the past, towards the most valuable people around you, relieves you of an enormous ballast and gives  you breathing space, as if your lung capacity had increased tenfold, enabling you to breathe in new, fresh and oxygen-rich air. Which makes it seems that you have suddenly become decades younger. And oxygen gives  life, plenty, oxygen gives you freedom and makes you grow and develop….

Hasta luego,

Annemie, orte Ana

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