Ten days… It felt like a lifetime, yet went by in a flash. As if I was born in that place, as if it had been patiently waiting for years for me to find my way and get there, as if the locals hadn’t seen me in decades but opened their arms again to embrace me on my first day there. I didn’t know a place could do this to a man – give a sense of belonging I am short of words to explain.
All I can say is, I am in love. I think of Jeri and get butterflies in my stomach and a silly smile on my face. I even noticed the tone of my voice goes up when I speak of Jeri. My Jericoacoara.
Jeri allowed me to be myself. I allowed me to be myself, and for the first time, I really liked it. I liked being my companion. I found tranquility in being on my own. I felt privileged in a way, started appreciating me as a person. For my 35 years of low self-esteem, this is big. I actually didn’t want or need too many people around me. Just a few, handpicked positive and smiling people with whom I ‘clicked’, and myself. I never thought I’d be saying this, but being alone actually felt good. I realized I was no longer looking for something, I was not chasing life, rather enjoying it. As if I had been running and running for years, not knowing where the race ends and kept giving my all to run fast. I had finally crossed the finishing line, except there never existed one. I could breathe in the moment, smile, sing and let go. Walk for a change or stay still and still be happy. In the past, I would think I was not good enough and that was the reason why some people would not want to be part of my life; I was always trying to find what I had done wrong and what I could change in my self to be more ‘likeable’ to others. This time I felt sort of sorry for those same people and I don’t mean it in a nasty way. They are the ones really missing out on all the fun by not being part of my life. I even started understanding what people meant by saying they envied my lifestyle or wished they could do it too. Until recently I’d just respond “Oh, come on, I’m not doing anything special”.
Well, I am. ..and it may have taken me a lifetime, but I can finally say I am special, too.
Maybe even awesome! I sure as hell will be pretty amazing, if I manage to keep this mindset and not allow any negativity in my life ever again!
So, since I found the place that transformed me so much and allowed me to make space for positive thoughts, why oh why would I want to ever leave it? It was a no brainer. I booked me a plane ticket and on the 28th I am flying back to paradise. I found a beautiful apartment 2’ from the surfers’ beach and will have it all to myself. Fully furnished and with huge verandas and fast internet. Nothing more I could ask for. My visa expires on 21/4 and I really see no reason why I should keep moving and searching for… what exactly?
I was lucky enough to pick LaTapera Jeri to stay at and this also made a difference to the way I saw Jeri. I got there all tired and feeling unsure of everything, not knowing what to expect of the place, still having a wall built around me to keep me safe… and there was Julia and Mauricio. They made me feel at home from day #1. Here I was safe and welcome. I could walk around the village with my phone and money at hand, day or night, and nothing bad would happen. I could breathe again. They told me about all the beautiful things I could plan and the best places to visit around Jeri, but all I wanted was to find comfort in laying on the hammock doing nothing for this first day in Jeri. Instead, I did go to the beach and sat there for more than an hour, in the rain, gazing at the waves and the surfers trying to catch the best one. Yes, I wrote about it already last week… Still, feels like a lifetime experience, a memory that won’t be erased from my mind!
In the course of my 10 days at LaTapera I became close with both Julia and Mauricio but also with Gabriel, my sweet Gabriel! He is a 19yo young man working the night shift at the hostel and since I would wake up around 6am every morning, we’d sit together at the lounge area and try to communicate. At first he was not the talkative type, but after my first attempt to speak Portuguese to him and a compliment as to his great work trimming the tree, he opened up fast and did his best to teach me new words and phrases every single day. He’s just one of those persons you want to squeeze their cheeks and hang out with as much as possible!
I also made some new friends from Chile, Alejandra & Sergio and Paula & Cecilia. So laid back and funny and easy going! It was really a shame they didn’t stay longer, but I hope our paths will cross again at some point!
During this weekend I spent a lot of quality, ‘me’ time, living in the moment. Self-sufficiency is a big thing! A completely new feeling warm to the heart and comforting to the mind. On Saturday I went to Lagoa do Paraíso which at first was not what I had expected it to be. I was hoping for a sort of a ‘Blue Lagoon’, but the water was rather yellowish and too warm for my liking. Didn’t feel refreshing at all so after I tried the hammocks for a while (it is after all the trademark of the place), I decided to walk around a bit and see what else the place had to offer.
I’m so happy I didn’t just lay on the hammock, but explored a bit! My steps took me to a deserted part of the beach, where a little wooden observatory overlooking the lagoon was waiting for me. A couple of chairs and a sunbed under an umbrella made of palm leaves were the perfect place for me to sit, enjoy my music and actually sing. Aloud. It was one of those ‘sing as if no one can hear you’ moments.
So I closed my eyes, lay on the floor under the sun and sung over and over again the same song on repeat. Some songs have the power to mark periods of our lives, and this one is my Jeri song forever linked to that view and feelings … and as my friend Sandroula said: better things can be just around the corner.
Feeling grateful for having taken the leap and gotten out of my comfort zone.
Never could have imagined my life would be to complete and so full. Never thought I could bring this on to myself. But I did and damn it feels so good!