Naturally.

You would be forgiven for thinking I had perhaps fallen into a wine stupor in an Irish pub and never awoke again. The last time I posted I think it was something to do with the weather, cycling in the rain, living in a cottage, and feeling slightly deflated about my choice of summer location.

To catch you up –  the weather did not improve, in fact it may have gotten worse. But I learnt that if you let the rain stop you, you will never ever do anything in Ireland. Overall it was an excellent summer. And then I learnt that if I wanted sun, I should go to Spain. So I did.

    
Here I am, after one month of intensive yoga training in a tiny Andalusian village. I have sprouted muscles in places I did not know you were allowed to grow muscles, and last night I enjoyed my first piece of meat in many weeks. I barely remember eating it because I was like a savage, starved hound. It could also have been the wine that impaired my memory.


The yoga course was intensive, but in different ways to what I expected. Living in a house with three other random females, there is always a bit of drama, but the most dramatic moment was being awoken at 3am by one of the other girls, who was sure she heard someone in our house.. either it was the wind, an active imagination, or a confused elderly spanish man on his way home from the local bar….. I lay in bed for the rest of the night, heart pounding. The next night I behaved like a small child and slept in my friends room with her. I was the youngest on the course, therefore it is okay for me to be the weakling. I may grasp the philosophical teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, but I am still a little girl that is slightly scared of the dark and monsters.


I chanted a lot of mantras, read a lot of weird spiritual yogic textbooks, giggled at the words “anus” and “perineum”, got very good at wind releasing pose, mastered a visually pleasing forward bend and discovered the art of Yoga Nidra – conscious deep sleep. So now, when I say I’m doing some yoga, I’m really doing a big sleep. Heads up. I am also very good at breathing now, all different types of breath! So fun, but slightly alarming for passers-by.



We also took a trip to the Hare Krishna Temple in Malaga. I felt as though I was being initiated into a strange cult. There was a five year old child being breast fed by her mother in the courtyard, decrepit older men wearing white robes that left nothing to the imagination, and at one point (much to my amusement) I was caught up in a hare krishna conga line! The woman in front of me had armpit hair that I probably could have braided, and they all had a distinctly “spiritual” smell to them, as though they bathed in incense. I surrendered to the moment and showed them some of my best “middle of the party circle” moves, then we made a swift exit and headed to a cafe for coffee and normality.


Obviously, it was not a high enough dosage of weird for me, because I arranged a slightly unusual work exchange placement for my last week in Spain. What better place to get a full body tan than a nudist resort?

I am here now, fully clothed, modesty intact, and it is glorious. My companions include a great dane called Dino, who weighs the same as a muscular adult human being, and a small scruffy dog called Billy, with two different coloured eyes. Dino comes to say hi and smears his rope of drool all over my clothes, which is very endearing. He is so large that I might try to ride him one day, if he doesn’t mind too much.

  
 Today I put on my bikini for some sunbathing, then remembered I would be the only weirdo wearing clothing by the pool, so I eased myself into it by removing my top half, then half an hour later I removed my bottom half and squirmed in a very prudish way. I lay there, thinking how I had laughed when I first found this place on HelpX, but it stuck in my mind and obviously I love a good naked challenge.

 
 Things I am slightly concerned about are nipple burn and/or the state of my bottom, because I never really see it, and I don’t know how the view is back there, but i am sure someone would tell me if there were any issues. Also ants are rife here, and they seek out the lovely warm spots on one’s body. As long as I don’t accidentally dribble honey on myself I should be fine.

Naturist problems eh!

Little Girl, Big City (and some dog poop)

I’ve always thought that housesitting sounded kind of luxurious..especially when you’ve been on the road for a while and the idea of having a whole house to yourself is very appealing. But a word to the wise… Dog sitting is different.

You picture yourself snuggled up on the couch with a fluffy, cuddly, endearingly named pooch, drinking cups of tea and stroking it’s tum tum. At least, my friend Sally and I pictured this when we decided to housesit for a Belfast man and look after his three doggies.

Enter Snowy, Coco and Zoe, three of the most appalling dogs you will ever encounter.

Snowy looks to be the nicest, cuddliest one of the bunch, until you are awoken at 6am by a rhythmic barking. You venture downstairs to find a seeping puddle on the floor and Snowy barking at the wall. There’s not a lot you can do, so you go back to bed and hope it’s all gone when you get up again. Take Snowy for a walk and he will trot along, urine dribbling the entire time, and then he will find a piece of stranger dog poop and put it in his mouth, then promptly walk into a fence.

Coco, the youngest, a wee terrier, seems to be quite eager and energetic but generally a nice dog, until you take her out walking and she lunges at strangers, teeth bared, head spinning around 360 degrees… Other dogs cower behind their owners, fearful of crossing Coco’s path. As soon as you leave the house she sprints down the road, with remarkable pulling power for such a small animal. You just have to run, there is no other option.

And Zoe…. Zoe is a very special dog. Profoundly hideous and magnificiently obese, Zoe snores like a truck driver, so loudly that I had to apply earplugs even when sleeping on a different floor of the house to her. Take her for a walk and she will not go very far at all, and then she will sit down and refuse to move any more. She is too large to pick up, so all you can really do is wait for her to catch her breath.

Ahhh, sweet doggies. I feel fond towards them now that they are no longer my responsibility, but I will not miss the thick coating of dog hair on every surface, and the occasional stinker in the corner.

Other than disturbing pets, Belfast was a wonderful week of initiation back into civilisation, with good coffee, cinemas, Christmas markets, ethnic foods and cocktails. It reminded me how easy it is to spend your money in a big city, and it made me miss the country a bit, but there are things you can’t get on the Wild West coast of Ireland that just really enhance your life. Like a good burrito, you know? I think Sally and I took three epic trips to Boojum (burrito bar) in our one week in Belfast, and we justified it by making it our only meal of the day, so really we were SAVING money. You can talk yourself into anything.

Before Belfast I spent a week back on a Achill, after finishing my job in Killary. So many goodbyes, but I like to think I’m getting better at them. Especially because I know I will be back next year… Our last night on Achill was of epic proportions, and naturally ended with Sally, Pat and I on the floor of the Valley House Bar, punching and kicking each other endearingly. Who knows.

Today I fly back to England then home to NZ very soon for a decent summer… Fingers crossed.

Looking forward to seeing my doggy, who isn’t rabid and doesn’t bark at inappropriate hours, and (hopefully) doesn’t leave little stinky presents lying in wait for me.
a>

IMG_3009-0.JPG

IMG_3030-0.JPG

IMG_3027-0.JPG