Monday, May 31, 2010

the storm

It started raining on Monday morning – a rain like I've never seen or heard before – and it didn't stop until Thursday. (El Nino has nothing on this kind of rain.)

During that terrible magnificent storm so much happened.

PJ helped build a bridge by carrying rocks down from the hillside to fill the gaping hole between the little bridge that connects us to the mountain road. The hole was the result of a gentle stream turning into a raging river that covered the bridge and washed out the land connecting it to the "mainland."

The girls learned to bake bread. We saw pineapples growing by the river's edge. We saw a cockroach the size of a small armadillo. ("Don't look at it, it might fly!") I waded across the river to an outstretched hand and a smiling face. We all stopped and listened – filled with wonder and gratitude -- when we heard the first bird sing after the rain. I learned that in an emergency my first instinct is to stock up on chocolate and beer – the good kind. I don't want to die with Budweiser on my breath.

I thought those four days would have been the hardest since we got here. No electricity, no phone, no water, no Internet. No road. No bridge. No washing machine. No sun to dry wet, wet, clothes. We were marooned on our own soggy little island: PJ, me, Zuzu, Vida, our landladies Emma and Anna, their five dogs, and a cat named Louie. And yet it was some of the happiest times we've spent here. Maybe it's because I'm a glutton for punishment, but I think it's because I felt really connected to this place and to people other than my little nucleus of PJ, Zuzu and Vida.

We shared food, water, rain jackets, stories and coffee. Emma made a delicious dinner. The girls swam in Emma and Anna's pool and made friends with their dogs. We bonded -- for lack of a hipper word – and we realized that whatever we have we'd gladly share. And if we needed anything, providence, or in this case two lovely English women, would provide. If none was to be found, we didn't really need it, after all.

This feeling of being connected made me think about why we came here. I left my home, family and friends to find something. Proof maybe? Proof that there's something that will make me feel like, "Yes, THIS is it. THIS is what I should be feeling, doing, saying, being, knowing, loving. Yes, thank you! Now I know. I can relax. I have certainty. I have confirmation. Can I get a confirmation number, please?"

I don't think it happens like that, as much as I wish it would.

That's not to say there aren't momentous events that hit you like a storm. But more often than that proof comes in an outstretched hand when you really need it. And that's all the proof anyone really needs.


  1. So glad you got that sign and feel that connection. It's difficult to feel it here in LA. You are so funny-love the last wishes about the beer.

  2. Hi Emily...
    I've been wanting to tell you how your stories here have made me remember my trip to India. Before we left, everyone kept saying, "it's going to change your life." So, while we were there, I fretted that it wasn't happening to me. I felt the same. Nothing felt like it was changing, so much as I was just a typical tourist! How could I come all this way and not experience what everyone else did!?

    I realized that once I got back home, that India did change my life. I had a new outlook about nearly EVERYTHING! Not groundbreaking, like become-a-hermit-kind of way,but quiet and internal. I just hadn't realized it while I was there, slowly absorbing the experiences. It was slipping into my subconscience without notice. Become conscience, once I was removed from the experience. (does that even make sense?)

    Anyway, that's what I keep thinking about as I read your entries. This entry made me smile. You're lucky enough to be there long enough to have the realization while still in the environment. What a gift!

    I think you're so lucky, and brave and smart. And I really really really admire all of your adventurous spirits! You guys are really inspirational. Best wishes... kisses and hugs to you all!
    (sorry I kind of rambled!)