The fickle side of Lavinia23 July, 2020
Alicante, Wednesday 22 July 2020
I might call it a fickle side, but actually it’s more the unpredictability of life that we live here. Incalculability that I couldn’t deal with at all in the past, and that I’m just letting myself be led by now. I don’t care. It’s a new way of life that actually gives me a lot more peace than I ever thought. I don’t have to worry about the daily grind like in Belgium anymore. I don’t need to keep an eye on the clock, which mercilessly tells me with every tap that you have to hurry anytime, anywhere. Even when filling in your free weekend with only nice things, but often also things you do out of ‘obligation’. No more traffic jams for me, no hustle and bustle on the track. Just 1+1=2 on the road. I drive to shop x and I know perfectly how long I am on the road. How blissful is that?
The only pressure I still feel is the one I sometimes put on myself. Unconsciously, I find myself stuffing my diary, only to see every day again that I’ve only been able to delete one or two things. But, fortunately, I can put it into perspective and just reschedule it. I’m quite a planner, you see. I’m a woman who likes lists. Physical lists, not in my head. I want to be able to delete what’s over, literally draw a line through it. Oddly enough, that makes me feel very happy.
I used to make lists when I was in college. Sometimes crazy lists. For example, I always meticulously wrote down the number of hours I studied, with start and finish times, day after day. I kept strictly to the pauses imposed on me, and didn’t spend a minute on them. At that time smartphone did not yet exist, let alone the one to set up an alarm clock. So while I was having coffee with my mum – with a biscuit, off course – I kept a close eye on the clock, so that I could break off in time to go back to my desk very dutifully to pick it up again. After I had written down my starting hour in my booklet with rings. A while ago I saw that I even took a copy of it with me to Spain, because there were still some undescribed leaves in it. I don’t like throwing away things I can still use. I clearly got all kinds of things from my parents. I remember that my mum used to write down neatly what the yield of the vegetable garden was, each year again, how many kilograms of tomatoes, beans, Brussels sprouts and so on they could have harvested that year.
Maybe I should do the same, because the vegetable garden yields pretty nice vegetables. Maybe thanks to Yvon’s noble cleaning up action. Beautiful red shiny and especially sweet tomatoes, giant spring onions with abnormal proportions, but so tasty, lettuce, and delicious looking peppers on a actually negligible plant. The Charentais type melons, which Wim loves, are also doing well. Because the fruit trees were groaning under the heat, yearning for water, Wim faithfully gives them extra water every day. Cheerful and totally unexpected, a new life and a new flowering period have begun. Suddenly the fruits reappear in large numbers, and we also see the first timid fruits in the fig and olive tree. I look forward to testing them in all kinds of dishes. I never dared to suspect that this would give me so much satisfaction to be able to make recipes with my own products.
Last week it was quite exciting here; helicopters and airplanes kept flying over. Originally we thought it was control for illegal buildings, but it turned out to be a real forest fire just 50 km away. All day long it was like flying back and forth to the sea to fetch water, extinguish it and return to the sea. With 4 fire brigades from around the burning area they were fighting the fire. To be honest, I was worried and started to imagine all kinds of doomsday scenarios that Lavinia would go up in flames. Fortunately it turned out to be under control pretty quickly, despite the strong wind. The next day we only sporadically saw some overflying helicopters. Now we can put an unexpected ‘experience’ on our record.
In the meantime we are fully booked again and thanks to two very last-minute bookings we are fully booked on Friday. Lovely to have guests around us again. To see the people enjoying all the beauty that Lavinia offers. Sunshine, sunshine and rest. We succeed very well in keeping to the rules of covid measures, and we notice that the people here can really relax. That’s what we do it for in the end.
We’ve had some warm guests again. Strangely enough, some guests bring a gift, which is very sweet -and not at all necessary. But it still gives the feeling that we are much more than just a ‘hotel’. That conviviality, coming home and friendship are so important here. Last week a couple from Ghent brought a box of real “Gentse neuzekes”. People we had never met before. The pinnacle is, that that’s exactly what Wim loves so much. As if it involves telepathy. Or the couple who came last year and booked again and brought a bottle of Safari. Just because it once came up that this is not available here and Wim loves to drink it. Lovely anyway. It immediately creates a bond, not because of the gift, but because of being attentive, because of the respect for us as human beings. And that is completely mutual. We are lucky that we manage to get those guests we know will feel good here. And fortunately that turns out time and time again.
Unfortunately it’s not so sure if we’ll get the season right, thanks to the bad corona figures in Belgium especially. We gradually got the feeling that everything was being done to keep people away from Spain, that it was almost a mission from a political-economic point of view and from the press. The only thing we can conclude is that here in Spain everything remains neatly under control due to the decisive action of both regional and national government to immediately take the decision to lockdown as soon as the figures go in the wrong direction. About two weeks ago, two small pieces of Spain were forced to lock down in this way, and so far everything remained under control. The Belgian press eagerly threw oil on the fire there, and so we were told by our Belgian guests, they were seen as ‘pariahs’ when they told relatives they would travel to Spain. While everyone in Spain, and I speak only for the locals, obeys the rules neatly. In Belgium, everybody was advised to stay in their own country, but they could enjoy themselves, strolling on the dike and in busy shopping streets. Is that why the numbers are now skyrocketing at a frightening rate? I’m worried about it. Mainly because of the land-without-a-government-non-daring to take measures. But they’ll control more strictly. Duh?????
I’m not the right person to judge maybe. I am a person who is concerned about the consequences of irresponsible behavior and the laxity of those who have to take action. It would have been so much more courageous to look into my own bosom and learn from the mistakes of a few months ago, than to point the finger at Spain as the cause of all mischief. I admit, I am prejudiced, yes, because the consequences for tourism here are immense. But not only because our wallet will weigh so much lighter at the end of the season, but especially because I have elderly parents, friends and family who may be victims of this. I don’t want to feel the same impotent feeling as in May when I called my mom at the nursing home and saw the sadness and loneliness in her eyes. Because that hurts. And that powerless feeling is so much overwhelming than the distance we consciously made with our family when we moved here. Because this is different, this is surreal.
But I refuse to end on a negative note. I remain stubbornly positive, because positivism is stronger than anything else. I fully enjoy being with our guests, the cosy chats, the warmth of the sun on my skin, the wind caressing my body, the view of the sea, everything our garden has to offer, the satisfaction after a beautiful text in our guest book. Of living our dream together with Wim. And what will come, that will come. Problems only have to been solved when they occure, my daddy often said. In the past I couldn’t build that into my vision of life, now I can, and that brings a lot less headaches, and therefore a lot more space to live fully in the now, in paradise on earth, Lavinia my love.