Thursday 1:30 am:
I am sitting in a café in Malaga, Spain surrounded by my luggage. For me this experience is penance for having decided to travel back from Portugal during the week of Semana Santa. Easter in the USA might mean some chocolate, but here it means that every Airbnb and hostel in my price range, is completely booked- in two different cities. After my original ride cancelled at 10pm last night, I had to regroup, and so far I’ve travelled 9 hours in 2 different rideshare cars (the last one broke down before she could drop me at my stop.) Now I have from midnight to 8am before I can take a 4 hour bus back to Adra. I am currently contemplating how to do “homeless” while having my computer on me.
At a table to my left an old man in plaid is smiling, drinking beers, and watching an Easter procession LIVE on a TV over my head. He’s also guarding my charging phone with great care. A child in front of me is thoughtlessly picking his nose, and ooooops! Eating it. Classic. I have been handing out napkins to the women and families as they go past. I’m sitting near the loo which is out of toilet paper, so it’s only polite. Since I can’t explain myself in Spanish, they are just taking them on faith.
On the TV, men in KKK hoods are marching with Jesus statues. My being up until the wee hours of the morning feels like a punishment, but given what I’m seeing, these families may be up later than me in celebration.
Thursday 3:30 am:
What a bloody day. I’m walking with all my luggage towards the bus station, hoping it will be open, since the streets are thinning out. I ask a lovely two-some for directions and they point, seeing that I don’t understand the intricacies of what they are saying. I follow them, awkwardly, since it seems we are going in the same direction. 5 minutes later, I’m still following them. Yep. The bus station is closed.
The woman asks me in Spanish, “Are you travelling alone?” Si. “Are you scared?” Un poco.
I ask her in Spanish when the bus station opens. She doesn’t know. “When is your bus?” she asks. “8am.” I plaster on a smile, because I know I have a tendency to worry people. Plus, I’m worried too and not sure what to do.
“It’s dangerous out here,” she says. “You’ll come with me.” (The last part I got mainly in gestures.)
“Ok.” I said.
Evidently there is a space where exhaustion, intense gratitude, and a great deal of heart, enable me to understand a decent amount of Spanish. By 4:30 am I was in her flat nuzzling her three rescue dogs, and drinking hot cocoa. By 5:30 am, after a lovely chat with her daughter, I was sleeping in her daughter’s bed.
I am wearing the bracelet she gave me, because when I look down at it, I am reminded that the universe is loving and that people can be intensely beautiful. I am reminded that pride is overrated and that we don’t have to be “perfect” in the way the USA idealizes being self sustaining, to be loved. In fact, that way of being can be a barrier to love.
Now it’s Friday night. I’ve watched Netflix most of the day and had my first nights sleep. I’m integrating. I’m integrating having gone to Portugal to grieve my Father, how it is to travel without enough money, and live in countries where I can barely speak to people. I’m taking in the love I received, the kindness, and the care. I’m licking my internal wounds so that they can heal without infection. I’m reminiscing about Portugal’s amazing pastries. I’m feeling my longing for intimacy and tenderness. I’m sitting awake in it all. In the ever shifting landscape of newness and what is required to stay present with my own fear. I’m sitting with how to stay soft, alive, and on fire.