A new sort of comfort zone..

It’s nice to realize at some point that what started as an adventure has gotten to a point to be familiar, comfortable even.

My life in Jeri has had its ups and downs but I think I’ve finally found my balance. Sitting by the beach, watching the sunset and writing this note on my phone, feels just right. Still, there have been times during this first month in Jeri that I thought I could never live here permanently despite this view before my eyes..

There are reasons to that, of course. Last week and while I was working on three projects to be delivered by the next morning, there was a power cut. Thankfully my laptop was charged so I managed to keep going with my work, but… When would electricity be restored? The whole village was out of power. It started at around 8am and by 11 I was starting to freak out. The closest village where I could only hope to get an internet connection was Jijoca, a 1-hour drive from Jeri. What if I had to go even farther away? …oh wait, for that I needed cash, and there’s no ATM in the village… There’s an option to get cash from the local super market at a commission, but, oh wait, right, you need power for that!!
It was bad. I was trying to calm myself and keep translating thinking that the power would be back by the time I’d finish my projects, besides there was nothing I could do about it!

Easy to think the right things in theory, but in practice…

By noon I’d finished my projects, still couldn’t send them. I tried all my SIM cards (Dutch, Italian, Greek, Brazilian) yet I couldn’t get internet even while roaming.. Then the battery died..

So I decided to go to the hotel where my neighbor works and check whether they had any news or a power generator (therefore internet too!).

Lana, the girl at the reception, told me they had been notified that the power cut would last from 8am to 1pm and reassured me that this happens only once a month and if they said the power would be back at 1 then it would indeed be restored at 1, or 2… 2:30 in the worst case!

As long as I’d have internet by next morning, I’d be fine. It was 12:30 by that time already so I got back home, lay in bed and started reading my book. I kept checking the clock, couldn’t concentrate and thought that I might be the unluckiest one and it might be this once in a decade case that there was some major failure… Think straight, Ioanna, I kept telling myself, right about now there’s probably someone heading to turn the switch on and power will be here and all will be fine!

Power was back at 3:30 and despite the delay I was grateful! I sent my projects, spoke to Angeliki and managed to get a good deep relaxed breath again. But this whole situation made me think… It made me appreciate… I’d never felt so cut off from the world and believe me, had it not been for my work, I couldn’t have cared less! I’d go to the beach and problem solved, but my work is what keeps me going and I cannot afford to miss a deadline or any one of my clients!

Oh well… This is now in the past. It left its mark, but it’s finished. It did, however, make me realize I can’t stay in this paradise forever.. Maybe not just yet, not at this point in my life.

Tonight is the first full moon of autumn. I’m now laying in my hammock, enjoying some music and gazing at the moon while writing this and am so thankful that with my rough calculations I estimate to be here to see the second full moon of autumn as well 🙂

Now I know I will miss Jeri.

I’ve finally started being sort of ‘recognized’ as a permanent resident here and not a tourist. At the super market they know where to send my groceries without me needing to explain anymore, which was to be expected as I visit them quite often. It did strike me though when the girl at the counter wrote down my name on my order without asking me. It’s not like we’re friends or have ever started any conversation… Yes, my Portuguese is not at that level, yet.

I enjoy the random hellos and olá and smiles from locals. I feel comfortable like that. I pay the local price at the dancing nights too, 5 Reais instead of 20 and it would seem that my dancing has been a topic of discussion among some locals. Still need to figure out if this is good or not!  I am also a regular at ‘Milano beach bar’ (it’s fate, Italy is in my heart and follows me everywhere I go!), I have a couple of ‘steady’ dancing partners at the forró nights, the occasional nodding hello with surfers in the sea but also with people working out at the local gym.

Oh this gym… This I will not miss! I really do miss training at a box and it all kinda came back to me after I bumped into Rodrigo, a fellow Crossfiter from Rio. We only spent half an hour at the gym together but he was already like “come on, push through, don’t stop!” Hehe, camaraderie all the way!! We were supposed to meet and train the next day too, but he never showed up – well, he is on vacation after all!

I would have never thought it would make such a huge difference to lift weights without being allowed to throw the bar on the floor… Especially in this heat, sweating like a pig and having to finish the back squat or deadlift… But I am grateful there is at least a gym and I can still do a bit of work!

Oh well, at the moment I try to just keep up with my technique going light on weight for obvious reasons, but I’m happy for not having given up completely. One week off, two weeks off, was ok, but it seems that CrossFit runs in my blood and I am just temporarily trying alternatives for the fun of it. Trying all the machines at the gym is a challenge as half of them I have no idea how to use! I peek at what other people do and copy them – well I copy them the next day, it’s embarrassing not to know how these basic things work!

Yet most of the time I spend with a barbel and stick to the basics, squats, thrusters, snatch practice…

Oh and one last thing… I’ve finally met the one Greek guy living in Jeri!

For those that know me, I have 50% polish blood in me as my mom’s from Poland. I can fluently speak polish but when it comes to writing, I suck!

Well, Chris, is the opposite of me!

He was born in Poland by Greek parents, can fluently speak Greek but writing can be a challenge. He has a 10 year old son, Telis, who’s just adorable and they speak a mix of Greek and Polish, just as we do at home with my mom! Weird coincidences, he? When the 3 of us talk it’s a mix of English, Polish and Greek, and the conversation is flowing so smoothly…

Chris teaches English (he has a US background too) and has been living here 5 years already. They both surf almost daily and Telis is practicing capoeira every day. I joined them the other day to watch the little one practice and I LOVED It! Aged from 5 to 12 a group of aspiring capoeira girls and boys were giving it their all and having so much fun!

To my surprise when I got there with Chris and Telis I realized that their teacher is one of my dancing partners, João. Truth is I may be dancing with him on a weekly basis, but we hardly talk, so I had no idea he was into Capoeira although, yeah, it’s rather normal, right? I was told he has volunteered to teach this class every day; the kids don’t have to pay for anything and he even goes one step further to arrange and pay for their outfits of his own money. I spent the whole hour watching the class with a big grin on my face. João was showing them some moves and by the time he’d finish a single move I had already forgotten how it started. I had had the thought of trying some Capoeira myself, but I think I will need to choose my battled wisely. Although at first I thought it would be a play-hour for the kids, they were all very serious about it and the João was very strict too. They were supposed to be chanting while doing the Capoeira (which is already hard in itself) and he was not going soft on them. From what I was told, if they’d not start chanting loud, they’d go home.

Couldn’t resist filming some of it, so here it is and there’s more on my YouTube Channel!

That’s about how my days pass here in Jeri. At the gym 3 times a week, surfing attempts 2-3 times per week (those need a post of their own.. I will return to this) combined with some beach time and work, of course. Almost a month has already passed but I only now realize how much I will miss this place…

…cause my next destination is already booked!

Take a wild guess! It’s a country I’ve always had a plan to visit at some point in my life but don’t remember talking too much about it on my blog.

Hints: I won’t need to learn a new language… CrossFit friendly… Amazing nature!


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