….feeding chickens with compost, watering vegetable garden, watering trees, picking more figs, emptying trash and compost, emptying the compost toilets, movering, mulching, putting up tree guards, watering more trees… Theese are some of the many working tasks that the garden team in Suryalila, that was in, is doing.
All the green work that the garden team is doing here, is called Danyadara, (you can see more about it here www.danyadara.com) and it is permaculture work where everything is worked out in a clever way so that everything from nature goes back to nature. For example the water that we use in the outdoor showers that there is here go back into the plants again through some drains.
We also leave the dead plants to compost, some of the toilets are compost toilets so we don’t use water for that and save a lot of water. We work from 7 or 7.30 in the morning, when the sun comes up, and until around 12.30 or 13.30 depending on how hot it is and how many tasks we have. Then we work again from 19-21.30 in the evening, until the sun goes down. I mostly found the work really satisfying because I felt I get things done but also because I got to be close to nature. It feels great to be able to give the earth water in order for the plants to grow, and then you get to harvest all the vegetables and fruits.
These are some of the vegetables and edible flowers that we harvested. Picture is taken by georgiayiapanis.com
Here it’s nothing like the Danish summers where there can be lots of rain during the summer. In Spain there is full on sun, hardly any skies and no rain for at least three, maybe even up to five months, so the soil is just so dry and hard. That means that the plants need a lot of water to survive, but then the sun and the heat makes the plants grow even faster than they would in for example Denmark.
The Danyadara has planted about 5000 small trees last December and they all need water about every week or second week, so we have to do that. They have planted the trees on the field in front of Suryalila in order to give more shelter from the wind, so that the other trees and plants and vegetables can grow more efficient. I think that Suryalila wants to be self sufficient at some point, but they are not at all at the moment, it will take some time before they get there, because the Danyadara is still young and so is Suryalila, so it takes time to grow.
You find Suryalila after driving three kilometers on a bad dirt road. The retreat center is situated on a hill top with 360 degrees views to fields and nature and the most amazing sunrise and sunset, it is so beautiful.
I’m in the progress of making a small video of the place and the work that we did in the garden team, but since I’m very new in the video making thing, you have to wait till my next blog post, sorry guys. The retreat center has space for about 60 yoga people and the guests here comes on yoga holidays, yoga teacher trainings and they also have yoga and adventure trips. The food here is great vegetarian food
and we get three meals a day and all the fruit, tea, coffee and water we can drink. Its just in my spirit with the food, so I enjoyed it very much and they even do raw cake desserts several times a week, which I just love.
There is also a swimming pool that we are free to use in our free time.
Once we have done the morning tasks and its so hot, we just don’t feel like doing anything, that’s why it has taken me so long to write this blog post. I had to practice how to do siestas, like really sleeping an hour during the day, because otherwise I would just be so tired all the time. It has never been my thing to sleep in afternoons, it was just impossible, also because it feels like I’m wasting my time. But if you want to live like the Spanish people and go out after 22, when its not so hot, you have to sleep during the day. After 2½ weeks at Suryalila, I succeeded, and it feels good, and the siestas are growing on me.
Another nice thing is that the workers and volunteers don’t live in the area where Suryalila is, but 10 minutes’ walk down the dirt road, through a sweet door not really attached to anything but a fence and then through an olive field, and then a small house turns up, where some of the workers live, and we garden volunteers live in another sweet house behind that, which is Casa the palomas, the house of the pigeons. That’s a nice walk back and forth to work, and almost always in the dark
BEHIND THE NICE PICTURE
I might all sound very romantic and perfect and in many ways, it is, but in other ways it’s not, at least not for me. The first days I was just super excited and grateful to be here at Suryalila, because it is just so beautiful and there are so many perfect details. But after a few days, I realized, that the energy and atmosphere here, when it comes to the social atmosphere, is just not the right one for me. And how can I explain it then, I’m not even sure myself, what it is exactly, other than it interfered with my own energy and I was just not happy. I had many mood swings and to me it felt like there was carpet that went over my own energy and sometimes I felt suffocated. But it can also be very intense to be around people all the time, I’m not used to that, and that is both the yoga guests and the other workers there. I did though meet some very nice people and almost all workers were welcoming and nice. But didn’t help, that I had a bit of a drama going on with one of the other girls in our little garden team. We kept clashing and it was very intense for me and in the end, I had to move away from her whenever I could. I don’t like drama at all, but I believe that it’s a side of me I must learn to embrace. I think my drama queen is immature and not very pretty, she embarrasses me, and I don’t even want to think about what other people think of her, that would make me curl my toes. But she is still there, the drama queen, and I’m really trying to embrace her. But then there is this thing about the girl I was clashing with, and that is that there were just so many things I didn’t like about her, and at the end I couldn’t stand her and had to get away from her. I’m actually annoyed with myself that I was not able to contain her and not judge her, and I find it really crazy that another person can make me feel that way. I believe that we all contain all sides and shadows, like for example we can all feel jealous, anger, hate and all the positive sides as well, and I also believe that when we meet other people that we have difficulties containing, that it is because they represent a side in ourselves, that we find difficult to contain. And there is definitely something that I have to learn to contain about myself, that she represented. But is it always like that? Can’t it sometimes just be, that we don’t match with all people’s energies? What do you think about it? If you have another perspective on this, please feel free to leave a comment.
SAYING HELLO TO AN OLD FRIEND, IN A NEW WAY
In our little garden team, we started off with being four volunteers, and then the manager. After 10 days, one of the girls left to go to another place. When we were four girls in the team, there were some days where I felt left out. Not because they did it intentionally, but just because I didn’t click with their sense of humor when the three of them were together. It was very interesting for me to observe what was going on, and I’m just too honest when it comes to not laughing about something that I don’t find funny, so I don’t do that. I found that the best solution was to be with myself and withdraw from the group, instead of making the others feel uncomfortable, because I didn’t respond it the same way they did on their sense of humor. I then had a bit of a taste of my old friend, the feeling of loneliness. But this time it was a different feeling I had about it. I did some great discovery for myself when I was writing my thesis about loneliness, and that is, that we all feel lonely from time to time, but that loneliness also can occur when you are surrounded by other people that you don’t connect with. It can be that it is not your “kind of people” or it can be that if I’m too self-aware, that I don’t show others who I truly am, and that I won’t really get a real connection with others. I have been in both situations, and I had to investigate myself what was going on here in the team, and I found out that it was just that the group dynamic was not the right for me. Earlier, not so many years ago, I would have assumed that there would be something wrong with me, since I can’t connect with others around me. I always wanted people to like me, and I was afraid that there was something wrong with me, if people didn’t like me. Luckily, I don’t feel that way anymore, it’s too much work to please others to make them like me. But it has been a long journey to get here, I might tell you about that one day. In this situation with the team, I stopped feeling lonely when I accepted that it was just not my group when the three of them were together. The funny part was that at that time, I could get along with all of them if I was alone with them.
THE GIFTS FROM THE UNIVERSE
For a couple of days, I spend my free time in the afternoon with myself, and I was very frustrated about being in a place that didn’t make me feel happy. I started searching for other solutions online, but nothing felt appealing to me, no matter what I searched for. When its like that, it’s usually because I shouldn’t do anything and just stay. Then it’s time for the Universe to help me to discover why I have to stay, because there is probably a “gift” from the Universe to collect. I call it a gift, because it is something that will help me to grow, to be a more whole person, but I put the quotation marks because they can be painful and emotional gifts that I didn’t really ask for, at least not directly. The gifts I talk about can be situations or people that I meet that challenge me in various ways, where I usually have to let go of the control and discover new sides about myself in order to heal something from the past or embrace some difficult feelings. It can also be positive gifts. In this case I think the gift was to try to meet people without judgement, and just accept that I can’t connect with everyone in this world, and the girl I clashed with, taught me that I have to embrace more of the shadow sides of me, and learn to take my place in this world, but in a non-self-destructive way. I also got to know a lot about permaculture and I also got a new friend, Georgia from the gardening team. I guess there might still more gifts for me to find out, about the girl I kept clashing with. I will let that process for a while. I believe that if you didn’t work on your “gifts” properly, with the heart, you will get another similar one at some other point, and another, and another, until you have realized what it’s all about and then worked on it
In the gardening team, we all have 1 day of per week and one week, and our awesome garden manager told us that we could take the days of two and two, when we were four girls in the team. So, while the other two girls when to Cádiz for one night and day, Georgia and I did a great daytrip to some villages in the area, Setenil de las bodegas and Ronda. It was a lovely daytrip and we got to know each other a lot better. In Setenil de las Bodegas, some of the houses are built into caves, it looks really crazy. Ronda is famous for its really high bridge and it has a great vibe there. Here you can see some pictures.
Another day we went to Júzcar, also called smurf town. It’s a crazy village where all the houses are painted blue instead of white, that the Andalusian villages normally are. The story goes that some years back, when Sony picture did a smurf movie, they wanted to promote it and they persuaded this village to pain all their houses blue. It felt like we were walking around in an empty swimmingpool, it was really loco.
I’m really happy to have the car, it’s such a freedom not to be dependent on others. By the way, I have named her now, and she is called Ruth, but you have to say it in English, it just sounds better. Reliable Ruth and if you combine it with my name, its Ralex.
Two days later, Georgia and I had our day off together and we also had the night before off, so we went to Tarifa and went out on the town and stayed there for the night. It was a lot of fun to go out and the town is really alive in the night. During the day its kitesurfers that rule the beach in Tarifa and when there is less wind, it’s the Spanish families going to the beach. The next day we went to one of many of Spains beautiful beaches, Bolonia, 30 minutes from Tarifa. Georgia made a small video of our trip, you can watch it here
Video by georgiayiapanis.com
THE END OF MY ADVENTURE AT SURYALILA
After almost three weeks in Suryalila, I had to capitulate. I was just not happy and it was starting for me to get difficult to appreciate the beauty around me. Even the trips out of Suryalila couldn’t do the trick anymore and I was not inspired to do yoga either, even though the yoga surroundings were awsome.
I had a talk to the garden manager and he could also tell that I wasn’t thriving, so he let me off the hook four days before I had to go. Then I went off to be just me, in a small village, Benamahoma, in the mountains for a couple of days before I today go to pick up Georgia on her day off. We will go to Cádiz for a day and a night, to hang out and explore. Here in the mountains it is so beautiful, this is the view from my balcony.
I also find the locals here to be very nice and after just half a day here, I felt that I’m myself again and I went into flow. Yesterday I went on a 10 km walk along a beautiful river and the nature and that was just what I needed, to be in the nature.
In the afternoon, after a siesta nap, I went to Grazalema, another village that is very famous in this area. I wanted to find an internet spot and just stroll and chill in the village, but instead I went straight into a fiesta in the village and what I least expected, a foamparty where all ages just went crazy on the dancefloor. It was so fun to watch, and some of them even wore swimming glasses. I did a little video.
On top of all of this, I am trying to make a plan about where I want to go next. Even though it’s been a bit of a tough month with a lot of frustrations, using a lot of energy, feeling tired, and not happy, I still feel that being in Spain is the right place for me to be. When I was in Spain in April, I was in Sevilla, and that city is just gorgeous. Last week, on my last day off, working in Suryalila, we were in Sevilla half a day, on our way to the beach and I just fell in love in the city again. It feels right to me, that I should move to Sevilla for some time, so I have started to look and apply for jobs there, and also to orient myself on apartments and so on. I’m looking for jobs that can help me to improve my Spanish, because working with in the social field in Spain, requires that you speak Spanish well. So, I look for Nanny jobs in Spanish families, but they almost all want that the nanny speaks English to the children, which is fair enough. I guess I just have to go out and meet a lot of Spanish people, in order to learn more Spanish, and of course go to language school. My carriere advisor from my unemployment insurance company (A-kasse), advised me to go on a lot of dates, to practice my spanish, two dates a week? I have also applied for a tour guide job in Sevilla. Let’s see where it all brings me, I just have to keep on going to the places that makes me feel most alive. How are you all doing? Lots of hugs to you and if you want to see more pictures, you can find me on Instagram: Alexandra2809