Belonging as a Wild Woman.

I just finished a book called “Belonging” by Toko-pa Turner.

The title of the book spoke to me, as the theme belonging is beautiful, tricky and so universal. As humans, we all want to belong. Belong to a group, culture, a partner, place, a home.

Messy

The title spoke to me, because the past two years I spent in transition time without having a place I could call home. For the first time after two years I feel I have a home again. And apparently this is something very important to me, to have a base, a place where I can be myself and build upon. It’s still messy and a lot of times I’m looking for things I can’t find anymore and don’t know where I put them, but we’re getting there. Moving house means always chaos.

The first thing I noticed when I returned to Mallorca after being with my family in the Netherlands, was how I re-connected with nature. The full moon that seemed huge on the early morning I arrived by ferry; the dark-red earth plowed by the farmers some days before; the stars at night; the bleating of sheep; the fresh air; almond trees that just have started to blossom. They made me feel home. Although my heart ached to leave my family, I knew I was home.

Fit in

Some weeks before I walked through Amsterdam with my sis and niece and it made me realize I never truly abandoned this city. Home just knows several places. After these years living in Spain, I still belong here. Home is a place where we are accepted the way we are, with flaws and all. I was, but of course like so many, I also needed to fit in, job-wise. Trees that grow euros, didn’t exist in our city-garden and never will be. Sometimes I felt a stranger in the work I had to do.

The most valuable “asset” I gained by moving to Ibiza and later to Mallorca, is the connection with the natural world, which I didn’t really see before. I couldn’t see before, because I wasn’t aware of this whole world of miracles around me. And I am a part of it! It was on Ibiza that I finally learned that the phases of the moon correspond to my menstrual cycle. I just never thought of that, and nobody told me that before. Ridiculous, right?! 

Wild Woman

I started to read about the archetype of the wild woman, a book named Women Who Run with the Wolves : Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Jungian analyst, author and poet Clarissa Pinkola Estés. 

A Wild Woman lives authentically, with a sense of creativity in all she does. She has the passion and courage to express her self and her ideas freely, even if it feels vulnerable, because she then lives her truth.

To me a Wild Woman is an intuitive, confident, caring, creative woman who lives in tune with herself and above all with nature, free from societal expectations, fully aware of nature’s power and that power that resides in her. I don’t consider myself a wild woman (yet), but I love the idea of her!

On Ibiza I met a few women who are close to Wild Women, mostly living completely free of what society expects from them, but often, like everything on Ibiza is, it was a lot of show too. Not authentic. I know a Dutch lady though, she is in her sixties, caring, free, and does completely what she desires, loves nature and animals and lives totally off-grid in the hills up north. She is true to herself and to others. To me she is a Wild Woman.

Are you a Wild Woman? To stir up the wild woman within, immerse yourself in these 13 quotes.

A Wild Woman feels, and is connected with, the natural world and the animals around her. She plays with dirt, feeds the plants, dances in the rain, plants trees, eats their fruit and honors her belonging to the earth. She is home. And she knows she’d better take care of it.

The book Belonging by Toko-pa Turner shows that belonging isn’t always a place, but a set of skills that we in modern times have lost or forgotten.

To re-find our ties with nature is a way to find belonging in this world.

Alienated

Toko-pa Turner writes poetry with Belonging. This deep fragment at nearly the end of the book is truly spot on:

“Reflecting on our present-day relationship with nature, you could say that we are collectively and chronically disoriented. I believe a great deal of the lostness we feel as a culture is a result of how alienated from the natural world we’ve become. Not only are we disconnected from nature, but aneasthetized to the enormity of that loss. Many people don’t even realize what is missing because they’ve never known it, but underneath our preoccupations with getting ahead and being accepted, there is a deep well of pain: our unbelonging to the earth herself.

Of course, we can never truly be separated from the natural world because, like every other living being, we are quite literally expressions of the earth. But in the grandness of what we as a species have created and called civilization, we have come to think of ourselves as conquerors of the wild.

Forgetting, in some pandemic amnesia, the true origins that make any of it possible. Our consciousness is so disconnected from the web of life that we have come to think of the earth’s generosities as our own resources to privatize and commodify for profit. We are so enamoured with the construction of our own endless, narrow tunnels of productivity that we have become alienated from the very body that supports and sustains us.” 

Con Amor,

Eva

Photo by Christopher Campbell/Unsplash

A Taste of French Life, Green Gorillas in Autumn, and my Return Home.

Sometimes coming home is not as good as you hoped it would be. Coming back to the island however, it surely was. When I arrived last Wednesday by ferry early in the morning in Palma and my feet stepped on Mediterranean soil again, I felt butterflies in my stomach. Somehow I feel I belong to this soil. 

As I passed the marina the sun was rising, a few men and women were running along the marina in the fresh morning air, early cyclists passed me by on their fast bikes. “No gracias,” I said to the taxi driver. I didn’t need one, I just wanted to walk and roam a bit. I have time, nobody was waiting for me anyway — except for the cats. 

City life

After a month in the quiet French countryside where I stayed moreless at one location all the time, I enjoyed the dynamics of a city, especially a city in the early morning when a part of it is still asleep. I entered Santa Catalina, a popular part of Palma, which has a creative vibe with its vintage shops and trendy, cute cafes where it’s possible to eat healthy and glutenfree tostadas

I stayed in Palma the whole morning and took a bus which brought me to the village of Algaida later that day. From the village I walked home, which was long. As I walked home, the weather started to turn and the clouds were closing in. As I got closer, I couldn’t wait to see our cats again. I never left them alone for that long, but they were taken care of, foodwise.

Sad arrival home

A t first glance the cats looked confused, a bit upset even. Our shed was messy, no water, no food for the cats (probably they already ate everything). The garden overgrown by weed, our bathroom (which Dorus built for the two of us) dirty. In short: it felt sad to arrive home, it wasn’t good. The wife and daughter of our landlord moved to Asturias, the north of Spain, and I suspect he is busy with other things than pulling out weed. Times are uncertain right now and he has to keep his head above water. Suddenly I noticed how dark our home is. It felt depressing and heavy. 

Howard’s country house in France, where we stayed, is just fantastic, so spacious and warm with wooden beams, a cozy fireplace and the bedroom Dorus and I stayed in, was huge! The kitchen has everything you need to cook delicious meals. It’s an old house — a former barn — and I adore these kind of houses with history and character. To me, these are the best houses. 

Time for change

I think the change from this warm place to our dark, tiny shed was just too big. All of a sudden I realize I can’t stay much longer here, also because another tenant arrived to live here in a caravan in the garden with two little girls, his daughters (he will take over the shed when we are gone the 15th of December). It isn’t for long anymore, only one more month to go and we will move to our land and start creating our own home, just for us. No more being a guest at what is supposed to be home. I’m so over it. After almost two years (it began in Casita Verde) of being a guest somewhere, I can’t wait to have a home, a place which is ours and we take all decisions, nobody else. Where we are in control. I think for me that’s the most difficult part right now: not having control in relation to our housing situation. It has been a financially good solution and it was supposed to be temporarily, and it still is, but time has come for change.

Medicine

In the meantime I make sure to leave the house every day and go out on my bicycle and enjoy the soft, sunny weather (the best now!). Cycling is my medicine when I’m alone. Bring my laptop and write somewhere where it feels light and I can leave the heaviness behind. The cats, especially Luna, is constantly around me when I’m home and is more affectionate than usually. Maybe she knows I’m not having the best time right now. She’s so adorable and it probably sounds crazy for some readers, but she’s my friend. And so is Liefje, our Amsterdam cat. Love them.

Our month in France has been wonderful and the Sustainable Living course a success, although we only attracted a small group of people. More people said they wanted to book, but they couldn’t travel or didn’t have the time. We were extremely lucky that we were able to have these great men and women on board and in these times of Corona, it isn’t an easy job to get people booked (we worked on that whole summer). 

Grateful

When I first met the participants, I felt immediately grateful for this group. We had a beautiful two weeks together. Most of the time, however, I was in the kitchen by myself preparing food. Some of the people weren’t vegetarians or vegans to begin with, so it felt so good to hear they didn’t even miss the meat and animal products as this is mostly the case when people just start to quit meat. I can say mission completed. Thank you so much!!

It was quite a challenge to arrange the materials needed for the course, but Vanessa, Howard and Dorus managed to get all of it (through market place, Howard’s friends and construction stores). 

The shopping for the vegetables and fruit I did as much as possible at the local markets. And wow, it was expensive! (Two cauliflowers seven euros!). Such a difference with the vegetable – and fruit markets in Spain, but the people earn way less too in Spain; salaries here are extremely low. 

French songs

My French was terrible though. Once at school I loved learning French and I wasn’t bad at it. But when you never practice a language, you really lose it. Only reading French went quite okay. Maybe in a next life as a Parisian, I will learn to use the words like Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour did – I (re)discovered and played their music when I was cooking and what a great music these people made! I remember my mum used to play Charles Aznavour at home, the French Sinatra. La Bohème is just one of his master pieces and I couldn’t stop listening to it. 

It was special to experience the falling leaves and the colors of autumn again after quite some years in the Mediterranean where this change of season doesn’t exist. One day when I walked through the forest, right next to the house, I thought I heard raindrops falling down. It wasn’t, the  leaves were making that sound. I stopped and looked to the sky. These falling leaves were so noisy for a moment, just surreal. I looked above to each of them, watching their fall. Never before I saw this remarkable rain of falling leaves.

Polite

Despite the autumn colors, the surroundings in France look quite grey, without any color. It was hard to imagine, a life in France, but I understand for our host Howard that he feels happy there. The people on the markets were super polite and friendly, addressing me with “madame” constantly. “Bonjour, Madame”. “Bonne journée, Madame”. The cashier in the supermarket waited patiently until I had put all groceries in my bags before she helped the next customer. I can’t remember the Dutch were that polite. Obviously life in the village differs from life in the big city, nevertheless it felt refreshing and welcoming.

France went in complete lockdown again. Yet, I was still able to travel by train to Barcelona. A very recommendable, environment-friendly, safe and economic way to travel (a ticket for only 80 euros). The true eco-warriors are Dorus and Vanessa though, as they chose to travel by bicycle. They’re still on their way to the south.

The innocents 

While in France I watched some videos on YouTube on my laptop and this video below suddenly popped up. I got immediately drawn in. This video is so incredibly well made with these actors in it. You can turn on subtitles of other languages, so you can understand what the judge has got to say. It was on my mind for days. I showed the video to the others and we were all breathless. Its message is incredibly sad. Really, animals, and children in need – the loyal innocents – they should deserve only but our love.

A quite unexpected note to — almost — end this blogpost, but somehow these true words showed up in this very moment. 

The American dream

World events didn’t stop when we were in our small French bubble. Trump lost the US elections. The first woman (of color) as vice president in the American White House. Yes, it’s on the other side of the ocean. No, it isn’t my country, but it feels kind of good and positive and hopeful. Although my mum speaks of this lady, Kamala Harris, as a “leftish witch,” I do like this woman. She’s intelligent, charming, a true powerwoman. Her speech and her white suit made me happy. Kamala Harris is the realization of the American dream, and better. 

N.B. For those who want to know more about our sustainable living courses and tiny house builds make sure to follow us, Green Gorillas, on social media:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/greengorillas.eco/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greengorillas.eco

Website: www.greengorillas.eco

Next year Mallorca! 

Con Amor, Eva

New home in rural Mallorca.

The year 2020, it’s a dramatic year so far. My wish to retreat to a peaceful place and to be disconnected for a while is present. In fact, we (my man and I) have found such a place and each time I’m there, I feel more free and safe than ever before. A freedom which I haven’t felt for a long time. Although it’s just a dry strip of land with an old little shed, olive trees, fig trees, and more, I can see with some imagination that it’s possible to make something beautiful here.

Peace of mind

A few weeks ago, we went to the notary — all wearing masks — to sign for this piece of land in rural Mallorca where we have begun to build a tiny home for the two of us. It was a step, but I believe it’s the right one for us, as we can finally work on a place for ourselves. Somehow the decision to purchase this land has given me peace of mind and it made an end to the uncertain feelings which could gnaw at me at times since the moment we emigrated to Ibiza six years ago. This new project even made my sleep better and less restless. There’s lots to do and at the end of each — hot summer — day I’m exhausted of shovelling rocks after Dorus’ digging to create space for his ‘earthship’ design.

Neighbours

Yes, it feels like an escape, this little piece of land in an isolated area, but still very close to our ‘eco’ friends and not far from the village. I could never have imagined I would live in such a rural area. Last Saturday an older couple living next to our land had invited us for homemade pizzas and wine at their place. An Argentinian couple in their eighties. It was a long and such a cozy evening. The fierce lady of the house even made me a glutenfree and vegan pizza, isn’t that sweet?!

My wish to create our own place where we don’t have to ask for permission to change or make something and where we are free, has never been so big. Our living situation since we landed on Mallorca isn’t the most ideal and often lacks privacy. It’s sweet, a little girl jumping around in the garden, opening the window, sticking in her head, to have a little chat with us and goes off again, but to say we have complete privacy, no. Privacy is such a great thing.

Also last year when we lived in our tiny home in the ecological centre, Casita Verde, I felt we didn’t have complete privacy. People could be standing at the doorstep wanting to talk with us, sometimes it felt like we were living in a museum. So, my wish for privacy has become huge and each time I’m on our piece of land, what will become our new home, I feel thankful to finally enjoy this valuable thing again. 

I have to be patient and know that each stone we will move, gets us closer to our goal.

The garden will be a little paradise with plants and flowers, lots of lavender for sure! The other day I spotted a mama bird patiently sitting on her cute mint-blue eggs in one of the pomegranate trees. Last week Dorus made a start with preparing the soil for a vegetable garden next year. 

Clarity

Meanwhile our plans to organise Sustainable Living Courses in spring have been totally shattered due to the pandemic, but we will continue, although they won’t be held in the Resilience Centre (RC) as we had planned before. Finally, after long discussions in the past months, the sky had cleared. Due to legal and personal reasons our friend and owner of the place, Luis, decided not to use his place for the courses. It has been an interesting experience to have had the discussions and to try to develop an eco community and centre together, but it’s certainly not easy. Clear communication is key. Also we had to give up the idea of building pallet tiny homes in the RC. Dorus has finished the first one and it will be the first and last one at this place. 

Right before the lockdown our friends, Howard and Nicky, travelled back to the UK, but couldn’t return to Mallorca. Only our friend Vanessa is here, together with Luis. Although you can’t really speak of an eco community at the moment, on weekdays and often on Saturdays we come together to cook and have lunch at the centre.

In October our group will organise a Sustainable Living Course in Howard’s home near Bordeaux in France. We are working on a new website for our courses: Green Gorillas. More about that soon!

Con Amor,

Eva 

Good Byes and New Beginnings.

I prefer to see the good in perhaps not the best experiences and in people who have shown their true colors. Also after working for opportunistic company owners on Ibiza whose only interests were money and image. Even when living in an ecological community where only one person, who lacks empathy and makes all decisions, is supposed to have worries. Yet, I prefer to see the good in people. After I left my legal career behind and we moved to Ibiza to experience more freedom and authenticity, I know there isn’t much of a difference with the “real world”. I maybe live in a bubble, the negative aspects of humanity are still present in this beautiful, green valley: vanity, distrust, disharmony, to name a few. I stopped trying and I keep myself on a healthy distance.

I won’t be giving my kindness to people anymore who actually don’t give a damn or try to know them better when they show little interest. It’s no longer a one way show. Time is precious. Often my intuitive voice already knows from the beginning.

Cheffing

Luckily each of my fellow community members and most of the volunteers who come and go are wonderful people. Our 2 Week Workshop “Sustainable Living”, instructed by Dorus, has just finished. I did most of the cooking these weeks. Two workshops were hosted by a plant-based chef and a vegan coach. It’s super interesting to learn about the environmental impact of our food choices and I’ve learned also that cooking for a big group every single day isn’t my passion. Those unstoppable chefs out there have truly gained my respect!

Mallorca

Our tiny home life and sustainable living adventure will be continued in another setting. It’s time we’re going to start our own little centre and community where we are free to shape it in the way we believe it should be, where Dorus teaches the Sustainable Living Courses, together with those who care. And to make this happen, we have decided to move to Mallorca, Ibiza’s big sister, the end of this year. A new beginning is waiting for us!

Sometimes I’m pondering why I can’t just live a “normal life” with a “normal house” and a “normal job”? Why this minimalistic, ecological way of life? When I was in Amsterdam for a short visit some weeks ago I felt so at home. For the first time in five years an uneasy, deep melancholic feeling overwhelmed me when I was back on Ibiza. I felt a longing to this place which I left five years ago. During this visit I had immersed myself in its energy, the small streets, the people sitting at terraces, the freedom it breathes, the cyclists everywhere, the warmth of my family and friends living there and I remembered all over again why I fell in love with Amsterdam many years ago. It felt ordinary and familiar and happy.

But here on this island I feel at home and mostly happy too and somehow it asks of me to head off the beaten track, to live a slower life which is more in harmony with nature, also because it’s possible here. To simplify. With a focus on “to be” rather than “to do” all day.

We will have to build our home and community on Mallorca and, of course, a vegetable garden to grow our own food. There’s definitely a lot “to do”. It will be a journey and it will be a risk. It will be uncomfortable and an opportunity to grow.

Community-Living

For me living in a community only works when I have my privacy and freedom alone and with the man I love. We luckily have our own tiny home, but I still have moments I feel unfree as there are people around every day (this sense of unfreedom is mostly in my head). One day a week, on Mondays, we don’t eat together with the community and do our own thing. Mostly, on this free day, we stay in bed longer and we have banana pancakes, Meke coffee and nice conversations together, just the two of us. I love these moments.

Last Sunday I felt so suffocated by being around people, cooking and eating with them and this whole place and our new Mallorca plan, I needed to escape and I went for a long walk in nature. I thought about the new plans and about living in a community while passing by the patient trees in the forest.

The plan is to rent a 4-bedroom house with a plot on Mallorca together with some friends. Dorus and our friends start building simple tiny homes of pallets for students who come to our new place to do our Sustainable Living Course, which Dorus now teaches at Casita Verde on Ibiza. The place will be a new kind of Casita Verde, not with volunteers, only for students who pay to follow the Sustainable Living Course. These students will stay in the tiny homes on the land. Later Dorus will build a tiny home only for the two of us, so we will have our privacy back again.

I thought long and hard and I realised this housing plan makes me feel unhappy, regardless how great these friends/future community members (who are all single) are, it made me feel uncomfortable to live all together in the same house. Moreover, what kind of effect does it has on my relationship with Dorus? I’m not quite positive about this. It will only be temporarily, but surely for a year or more and that’s long. During the end of my walk in the forest, guided by the old trees, I got the answer loud and clear: I won’t force myself into this new housing plan if it doesn’t feel right to me. Suddenly I was able to breathe again. It seems we both have other wishes for our future, other needs. He is a community person in heart and soul. I am not; not in the way it is here at Casita Verde. These last weeks I clearly have noticed that I appreciate my space and time alone and with him to stay a happy and healthy person. This definitely could be within a small community as long as we have our own privacy.

In the meantime we will enjoy our last months on Ibiza in our tiny “eco wagon” home, made by Dorus. I will miss this sweet place and island. But I’m also looking forward to see our friends on Mallorca who are so generous and sweet to let us (and our two cats 🙂 stay with them for the time we don’t have a place yet. He is the reason we moved to Ibiza in the first place! Now we will follow him again to Mallorca. I can’t wait to discover more of the Balearic beauty! Still, I don’t feel our new adventure is all kittens and rainbows, but together we are strong.

In the previous post I shared the mystical story of the Selkie-woman. The reason why this story resonates with me, especially now, is that it shows me to stay true to myself and my dreams. Many women find some recognition in this story – and I believe especially those women who are mothers (respect to mums and also the mums who have their own dreams and goals!).

Next week we have Dorus’ niece, partner and their little girl over from New Zealand. They will visit us for five days and will be our new neighbours here for a little while. Now she will finally see how uncle D. has turned into a hippie.

Con Amor,

Eva

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