There is this Dutch documentary called ‘ik vertrek’, meaning “I leave”. As the title suggests it is about people who leave
their homecountry behind. What strikes me about the stories of these people, is that most of them have a lot of bad luck and
need to fight to sustain themselves and execute their plans abroad. The series is quite popular. I presume because it is very
comfortable to see other people struggle (and forget about your own struggle that way).
Our situation of the last weeks reminds me of this series.
This last Saturday we went to see a piece of land, which looked very promising. JF had arranged the appointment with the owner.
We were going with whoever wanted to go.
This ended up being Nikki, JF, their 2 kids, Bear and us two. We would all fit in the new car, so we were taking our comfy
When we arrived in Guejar Sierra (if someone can explain to me how this is pronounced, I would be very grateful), we had to
drive up a very steep road to get to the meeting point. In the middle of this steep incline, the car’s engine gave a sudden
stop and did not want to start again.
Eventually Eric got the car going again, stopped on a parking spot nearby and checked under the hood. He had already seen the
car’s temperature rise suddenly, during the incline. The cooling liquid came bubbling out of the tank. Eric’s first idea was;
the head gasket is leaking. That is a complicated thing to repair. He decided the car should have a few hours’ time to cool
The owner of the land was nearby and showed up quite soon.
He was quite an appearance! He was very, very drunk, swaggering unstably and looked terrible; He had blood clotted in his hair,
he was covered in bruises, he didn’t have his clothes properly on (the disturbing sight of his bum is hard to get out of my
head), his shoes were only half on his feet and he was unable to answer any question directly. He would answer, but not to the
question. He would just start talking about something that came into his mind. He did speak a lot of languages and claimed to
be a doctor.
Eric and JF decided to get the other car and leave the KIA in a parking place. They took Neal and Nicolas with them; they had
gotten bored with all the waiting.
The owner went off to get some more booze, while Nikki, me and Bear waited for them to return.
The 6 hectare piece of land from the drunk owner is in a very, very beautiful area. We were struck by the beauty of the town of
Guejar Sierra to begin with, but his land is also in lush valley with a river and waterfall. The land is mostly steep, which
makes it unusable for the biggest part. And there is an hydro-electricity plant producing constant noise, which even the
almond, apple and grenade trees couldn’t compensate for. The owner tried to hide the noise, but at some point it was
unavoidable that we heard it. The whole valley was humming with it.
Walking behind this guy, seeing his swagger and near-drops, my mind made up his story. He was probably in a divorce (he said
his wife and kids were conveniently away that day) and he was fired from his job as an ambulance driver (which he claimed he
was) because he was drunk on the job. And now he was in deep shit and needed money. No idea if my made up story was true, but
it sounded convincing to me.
On the way back in the car, he asked JF to stop in the middle of the road, asked us to wait for him and just went off to buy
booze again. After a few minutes, car’s started appearing in the narrow road behind us, wanting to pass. Eventually we decided
to leave the guy where he was. He probably had forgotten all about us already anyway.
Looking back at the past week, the car breaking down was the major setback of the week. It happened on Saturday, later
in the day. We had a guarantee on the car, from the garage where we bought it, for 2 months and we extended this to a year. It
covered all mechanical faults (so not accidents; which we insured somewhere else).
Funny to have the car covered this well and our health insurance comes in a distant second place. We still have our health
insurance in Ecuador and it doesn’t cover us here in Spain. But somehow that doesn’t interest us at the moment
In this case, the guarantee applied to get the car fixed in a garage. But the insurance would give us a tow truck for free. So
we had to wait till Monday to arrange all this.
We left the car behind in the town with the unpronounceable name and rented a car (again) the next morning (with Nikki’s help
to get us there).
Eric felt quite affected by the car-ordeal. It made him feel very insecure (what are we doing here, why is this happening and
all the other blah blah of the mind) since he had had a really good feeling about the car (and it drove very nice).
In this state he tried to sort everything out on Monday, which made it harder. But a nice guy with a towtruck showed up and
brought the car to a mechanic that also seemed very trustworthy.
The garage couldn’t find anything wrong with the car by Tuesday (?!?) and asked us to pick it up again. They did find another
fault, however, which also fell under the guarantee. So the original garage had to sort both issues out. And car salesmen are
not very keen on sorting these things out, so that is taking time.
Next week Wednesday we can bring the car and get a replacement car.
The housing situation is still a bit unsettled. We found a relatively cheap Airbnb for 2 weeks instead of 1 week, which feels
better at the moment.
The guy who rents this out owns land and houses everywhere. So he offered us to rent one of his houses for longer term for a
good price (considering the ridiculous prices here). Still; it is not a place that we are really happy about; it is simply
‘ok’. Maybe we are very spoiled after our rental house in Warnsveld…
Tuesday we went looking at another land again. Nikki and JF had looked at this land the day before and were quite enthusiastic.
So we went together the next day. Just North of Granada.
A beautiful valley, very secluded, lots of water excess, lots of fruit trees, many flat pieces of land and very inexpensive.
The views were not so beautiful, because the area around was dry and had a very boring mono-cultivation of olives (see picture
below). Hundreds of hectares of olives. AIso; the nearby town felt very dead.
Nikki and I could dismiss this view-and-town-issue, because the valley itself felt so good. But Eric and JF are not fully
enthusiastic about it. So we are letting this one sit for a while, in the meantime continuing to look at other
On the left picture Bear and JF are standing in a rock, high up on the land. The right picture shows the
I was invited by Nikki and a Dutch woman who lives in the area to go to some sort of workshop that would be every 2 weeks. It
had something to do with dance, voice, etc. I had no idea what to expect, but I said ‘yes’ to it.
The first workshop of 4 hours was yesterday. Oh my God. I am still exhausted from it. It remains hard to explain what it is,
even though I was there. There was movement involved (everyone had a blindfold, so you couldn’t worry about ‘how do I look now
in this ridiculous position’) and talking to yourself (everyone was talking to themselves at the same time) and showing
yourself as you are (although there were options to escape into other positions). I don’t think I can make it clearer than
I can say however, that it went very deep for me. And at some point I cried and cried and I can’t even remember why. A lot
happened, but I don’t know what. It was crazy and made no sense, but it made sense at the same time.
I can remember I was walking around in a circle, like a crazy person, repeating over and over ‘I don’t know, I don’t know, I
don’t know, I want to know, but I don’t know’. And also ‘There might be NOTHING, there might be nothing, nothing’, etc.
I am not sure yet if I will go again in 2 weeks. And I’m not sure why I’m not sure. Am I scared? Or was once enough?
A week before we left Ecuador, Lem said ‘I want to talk to you guys’. That sounded ominous in a way. So we sat with him and he
told us that he wanted to go back to the Netherlands. He was sure he would go back. It was more like an announcement then a
We listened and took him seriously. He said he didn’t want to follow our path anymore. And that is what it came down to.
He said other things, like; it is colder there, I don’t want to move anymore, I don’t want to help you build a house, etc. But
those things vary every day, so I keep it at the first point.
We’ve been talking about it these last weeks, on and off. Lem brings it up now and then. We asked him to look at how he was
planning to do this, where he wanted to live, etc. We gave him some examples and options (which weren't appealing to
I looked things up for him, but mainly see impossibilities. He himself had this plan of becoming a person who cleans up crime
scenes (because nobody wants to do this job) and had not realized that in the Netherlands there IS no such job. The crime rate
is too low there.
Slowly it becomes clear to him that we are willing to cooperate, but that it isn’t as easy as he thought. Still, he doesn’t
seem too disappointed at the moment. I wonder if he just wanted to be really heard? To safely bounce against us? We’ll wait and
We slowly get to know people from around here. Example: A Dutch woman who accidently also came from Zutphen and knows people
that I also know in Zutphen(?!) She has 2 children in the ages of Mar and Lem.
A homeschooling group gathers every Tuesday afternoon at the beach nearby: Scandinavians, German’s, Swiss people, English
people, American’s, etc.
Conclusion of the week; we are still not settled, but handle it a whole lot better. Lots of things happening and at the same
time hardly anything happens. There are some highlights and hope.
Wait and see…