New Beginnings, Family Expansion, and Some Mental Gymnastics to Close the Week.

There is so much to write about lately and yet it has been a bit silent on my blog. So many blogposts and articles have been written in my head, not on paper or screen. Do you know that feeling that you want to do all these things you want to do, and then you end up doing none of them? That notion that time flies like a maniac?

I’m restless, but not in an agitated way.

Perhaps it doesn’t stress me out because life is better than last year. We have a home now, tomatoes are growing in the garden (and many more veggies!), we have organised four tiny home builds and sustainable living courses with the Green Gorillas, despite all the difficulties and endless changing Covid-19 regulations. 

Socialising

Somehow this is a season of New Beginnings, I just know it. I sense it when I cycle through the village and see people at terraces, cafes with joking waiters, doors of restaurants re-opened, people socialising. This time last year, there was sadness in the air; nobody around in the village streets. The sadness doesn’t paint the sky anymore, but there’s grief deeply hidden under those sunny skies. Not only in Algaida.

Today – with thanks to our neighbour – we have become official residents of Algaida, Mallorca, and we are on the waiting list to get our own mailbox further down the road! Yes, finally 🙂 — here on the countryside people don’t have mailboxes at their houses.

Door to pieces

Speaking of our home, there’s still a lot to do. Dorus is working on finishing Vanessa’s tiny home and have been some obstacles to face, he’s writing an e-book on the Sustainable Living course, and is helping the organic farmer with things on the land or his house. Before you know, another week is gone, without much done on our place. You see it already when you enter our land, a door which you can’t call a “door” is falling to pieces. In the meantime, temperatures are rising again, so some hours of the day you’d better take it easy, like the Mallorquins do. Anyway, it will be all right somehow. We aren’t in a rush really.

Birthday present

Our animal family has grown. Five chicks were born last week! One of the neighbours gave us a brooding chicken and her eggs three weeks ago. It was around my birthday. The mother hardly ate and sat in a trance in her nest the whole three weeks. She was sitting there and hardly moved. I never knew that this is the normal way for a broodding chicken. It was so moving to see her sitting on her eggs, with her little head down, drowsy. Three weeks later we saw little babies below her beautiful dark wings. Two were sadly lying dead in the nest. The five are incredible cute and I just love the mom. She is so funny and sassy. Yes, chickens have characters. How she protects her little family, it’s adorable. To save her little children from our cats and not causing stress for the mum, we have to keep them at the back of the land. I would love to have them closer later when they are bigger.

Some weeks ago, Luna our cat, found three baby rabbits in our garden (which appeared to be baby hares!). She too was overwhelmed by the sight of them. Normally she sees them as food (I know horrible! But just as horrible for the dead animals in the pet food)

Happy end

My my my, what a situation. A few days later when I noticed they were hardly drinking the goat milk I tried to give them, I was starting to feel kind of desperate. I didn’t want those sweeties to die. So what do you do? Ask Facebook! It sounds ridiculous, but it worked. I asked for advice in several groups on Facebook. The response I received in a group that helps animals on Mallorca was huge. Never I got so many comments and shares from something I posted. I even received private -, WhatsApp and voice messages. So much love from the people for these tiny animals, it was just heartwarming. A mother and daughter came to collect the little hares, as they knew how to take care of them. Besides all the tips, many other people offered their help, also considering the cats. I felt so relieved after I knew they are in good hands. Dorus and I were celebrating the happy end of this emotional event.

After that happened, I wondered: All those people who replied, they all wanted to help saving these baby hares and shared their knowledge with me. All those people in this group, who are helping mostly abandoned dogs and cats, are they also saving other animals — cows, chickens, pigs, sheep — or do they taste better than helping them?

I decided to put it to the test and just ask it in the group:

Let’s do a small enquiry.

The response wasn’t huge this time, which wasn’t really surprising. However, those who answered took it seriously and their answers were detailed. 

A woman said she stopped eating animal products completely, because she loves ALL animals, not only her cats and dogs.

Another woman commented she isn’t an animal rights activist, and because she isn’t, she says, she eats meat and fish and won’t change a single thing (she loves cats and dogs, and works in a shelter for cats).

A member answers in detail that to her it is important to have laws that prohibit the exploitation of animals, the abuse and painful deaths. People are free to choose if they want to eat animals or not,  and they should not be judged. She eats chicken and beef, and bacon, and some fish. Rabbit no, because it could be a pet, she says. One time she witnessed the slaughter of a goat, and since then she dislikes the taste of lamb and goat cheese in her mouth, so she stopped eating this.

“If you are so shocked to see an animal die, I recommend you to go to a slaughterhouse and see how the others die. There is no difference between that baby torn from its mother goat (lamb) and a baby torn from its mother pig (piglet) and a baby torn from its mother cow (calf),” somebody replied to her. 

One comment was from a lady, who said she went vegan as soon as she discovered (10 years ago) the monstrosities that are done to animals. 

And two final interesting comments:

“To me, the mental gymnastics involved in feeding, healing and caring for some animals and allowing others to live in overcrowded, deplorable conditions and then being transported to be killed to eat that favourite dish with x or y in it, is incomprehensible.”

“I eat chicken and pork, but only organic. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan. But it makes me sick if I think of how the animal was treated before being killed.”

Food for thought. It is.

Con Amor,

Eva 

Working on Our Dreams is Damn Scary & Uncomfortable.

It’s happening now…living off-grid on a piece of land on the Balearic Islands with my man and two cats. We’ve just started life from scratch. There’s land, water, solar energy, a compost-toilet and an old tiny shed which my partner is converting into a tiny home, and that’s about it. The rest we make ourselves. 

The last weeks of December were chaotic and crazy. We moved all our stuff (which isn’t much) on our bicycles to our new place eight miles further from where we used to live. Even the cats were moved by bike in a trolley. I expected them to be stressed out, but I was the one who was stressed, not them. 

The Mediterranean nights are cold now and as I write this, my partner is working on a rocket mass heater, an efficient and eco-friendly wood burner. Also, the bricks and pipes he purchased were transported by bicycle. Everything we do, is by bicycle; we don’t own a car. You can imagine, it’s a long process. 

The sand we scrape from a rock wall, is mixed with cement to paste the rocket stove bricks and to plaster the walls. Some days in winter sunlight is scarce, so we need to use the solar power wisely and building with the help of electrical tools have to wait until the batteries are charged sufficiently.

Our new off-grid adventure on the Majorcan countryside is an extreme exercise in patience and perseverance. And it’s way out of my comfort-zone. Also, I noticed I can hardly explain this way of life to my family and friends, who live in central-heated houses with beautiful bathrooms and spacious kitchens. Our lives are so incredibly different; I’m still surprised how some of them try to understand all this and think of us as brave people. 

Sometimes I can hardly understand it myself.

My partner and I used to live in Amsterdam with “normal” jobs as a contractor and jurist, and we were happy in the city. We went to restaurants, to techno parties, and traveled to New Zealand. We used to make long hours and worked hard for it, like everyone who needs an escape every now and then. 

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Thanks for your support! 🙏🏽

Con Amor,

Eva

Leaving A Comfortable Life to Follow your Heart is Messy, Scary and Unfair.

Working on the realisation of our dreams can be scary and uncomfortable. We might leave our safe occupations, take the leap of faith, and it could be possible we will discover this is not it. It could be it doesn’t work for us. The dream is actually a complex life which feels insecure and uncomfortable. But, we will never know as long as we don’t try…

This morning I cycled as fast as I could to the cafe in the village to have an “Americano”.

Actually, I had to go to the toilet, but there wasn’t any running water in our tiny studio on the countryside that Dorus and I have rented since a couple of weeks. After I finished my black coffee, without milk ~ in other words: an “Americano” ~ and I went to the restroom, it felt so good to be able to wash my hands with warm running water from the basin tap.

Crappy situation

On days when the sun hides behind the grey, heavy clouds I know I just need to surrender and just deal with this kind of crappy situation: hardly any electricity and no water from the tap unless we use the generator, which charges the devices and starts the water pump, so the toilet can flush and we can take a shower.

Actually, also on sunny days there are some hindrances to get the water running here. Also candles are needed to bring light in the darkness when the electricity falls down. It all means the batteries of the solar panels are really, really weak.

Messy toilet

Things that I have always taken for granted my whole life, have become a luxury lately. Sharing a bathroom with other people is kind of uncomfortable. Especially when the toilet almost flooded the other day and the landlord said it’s because of the tubes that are too narrow to flush toilet paper. So now I know how to prevent this quite embarrassing situation.

It brought me back to my time when I was in Costa Rica and stayed with a family to immerse myself in the Costa Rican culture and each time I used their toilet, I had to remember not to flush any paper or I would end up with a messy toilet…

Comfort zone

When I cycled back home on the rustic, Mediterranean countryside, where many house holds have solar panels, I was wondering why am I doing this. What was it again why I decided to make this change, moving to this new island that brings me quite out of my comfort zone?

Triggers

Is it the founder of the beautiful Ibizan ecological center — we are grateful to have lived here, in Casita Verde — who claims to love and preserve our endangered planet, but actually only loves himself and his image? His ugly behavior has certainly got things into motion. In fact, it triggered us to take this new step and move to Ibiza’s big sister, Mallorca, to build on our own dreams instead of someone else’s (his).

Our dream is to live a simple and meaningful life in harmony with nature and to start a small sustainable community with a group of caring friends on the countryside where we grow our own food and share what we learn by organizing Sustainable Living courses.

Abundant showers

Is it bad when this dream scares me at times and when I long back to a “proper job” with “proper money” and a “proper home” where I take hot, abundant, showers on chilly mornings ~ or whenever I feel like it ~ and go to a toilet that doesn’t leave a mess?

Working on the realisation of our dreams can be scary and uncomfortable. We might leave our safe occupations, take the leap of faith, and it could be possible we will discover this is not it. It could be it doesn’t work for us. The dream is actually a complex life which feels insecure and uncomfortable.

Trapped

But, we will never know as long as we don’t try. It’s actually a luxury to take the time to try and shape the life we desire, to become a writer, to start a company, to travel the world or to live a self-sufficient life within a green community. Because how often do we feel trapped by the choices we have made, the feeling we don’t have time and we can’t change jobs or leave a career we invested so much in? After all, we lose financial security and the job-title we tend to identify ourselves with.

To leave this “golden cage” behind can take years, until a beloved person suddenly becomes severely ill or a dear friend dies and we realize how damn vulnerable life actually is and that we are given this life to make it meaningful; for ourselves and for others.

We have one life to grab the opportunities which are waiting for us to be seized. We shouldn’t let them pass when we want to make changes in our established lives that lead us to the roads less traveled.

We may have to live with inconveniences to get us there, but it isn’t the end of the world.

No, (click) ➝ an overcrowded refugee camp “Moria” on the greek island Lesbos is. Here 15.000 men, women and children, who escaped war in Syria or the deadly Taliban in Afghanistan, are detained and live during the winter-cold in tents, which are wet inside of the rain, without hardly any medical care, food, water, security and prospects to a better life. It seems, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

And one toilet is shared by around hundred people...

I felt embarrassed for my thoughts when I recently read this Dutch story about the miserable situation of these refugees and the political unwillingness to bring humane solutions to the table.

There’s nothing to complain after reading this.

I live in freedom. The air is clean. The trees are untouched. The land is pure and peaceful. There is space to be myself. I wish them exactly the same.

Con Amor,

Eva

Picture found on Pinterest.

A Sustainable Message From Paradise.

Almost everyone has experience with a person, co-worker, manager etc. who takes every opportunity to tell how busy he or she is, complains about it all the time, repeating the same over and over again, talks a lot (while in that time he or she could have done another task of the never ending list) and is overall a stressed being. If you do any suggestions to improve that person’s situation you receive defensive words, but you realise this unfriendly response comes from pure stress.

After a while you come to the conclusion he or she isn’t open to get any supporting advice on board as he or she knows everything best, so you decide to leave that person alone. Unfortunately, in the meantime, you feel the negative energy when he or she is around. And because that suffering person knows everything best, he or she is arrogant and you always disliked an arrogant attitude.

Troubles in paradise?

I guess, we all have known or know such a person, who more less fits this description. At work maybe. At school. Or, perhaps closer, within our families. But in paradise we don’t expect that, do we? In paradise should be peace of mind, interest in each other, positivity, enjoyment and gratitude of the beauty around us, respect, empathy and love, but not people walking around heavily stressed, worrying about everything and who expect us to do the same.

I see it as an exercise to stay calm and positive and don’t let it interfere my feelings of happiness. I have changed my attitude or, to be honest, still in the process of doing so. It’s that person’s hell, not mine. Still, I know this person hasn’t a bad heart, but a difficult one and demanding much of others in the ambition to change the world. And it’s never good enough what someone is doing.

The grass is greener..

Not even in paradise people can let go of their egos, tensions and problems, which are mostly self-imposed. Just as deceptive as we think we have found the perfect, caring lover and after a while he appears to be a dominant asshole who lacks any empathy. Or we have found the ultimate job, but every morning we have to beat the traffic jams to get to our office and in the evenings when we go home after a long day. Or in my situation, to move to a new place to live a sustainable, simple and slow life, but it’s here too where I observe that busyness and stress are seen as a status symbol by the person who started this sustainable environment, which is completely opposite to its philosophy that propagates love and respect for mother earth. It’s interesting to observe this is a choice and probably born from the deep desire to be seen and acknowledged. Without this human interference, this place is a true paradise. Really.

No sustainable relationship

We talk about a sustainable lifestyle when we’re discussing energy, food, shelter, water, nature, consumption, time, but what about relationships and people? Isn’t this ironic, to be surrounded by someone who only focuses on themselves and what they want and speak about sustainable living, isn’t sustainable. It isn’t a sustainable relationship or a sustainable friendship. To have a sustainable relationship we need mutual respect, connection, communication and caring. And we need empathy.

Change oneself first, before start changing the world. If not, it’s all lies.

I came across this TED-talk with a sustainable message by poet Cleo Wade that could be of benefit to keep a positive mind and attitude when the world/someone is telling you otherwise.

Feliz semana!

Con Amor,

Eva

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