A lucky surprise
When I had my bike accident in London almost a year ago, it was the last push I needed to get the hell out of London. A friend told me about a solicitor who dealt with bike accident claims. Sceptically, I called them. But now, months later, a meaty cheque is winging its way to my bank account. Maybe enough to buy a little piece of land here…enough to take the pressure off having to come back to the UK anytime soon…enough to continue experimenting with a lifestyle where living is more important than working. This money coming through is one more nod to me that I am doing the right thing being here, that if you let things flow and be brave go with your gut and not worry about the final goal, things will come good.
My friend David, who took the photos of my scars from my accident, has been a superstar and suggested I spend half of his photography fee in the community here in my Guatemalan town. This is such brilliant news – we are thinking to put the money towards a projector so we can show films and clips and photos in our classes (there are currently no books, let alone multimedia) or print photos for an exhibition of photos the kids are taking with my camera which celebrate this incredible community.
As well as this little lump of gold from the sky, Carla and I have officially got jobs!! We presented a proposal (in Spanish – a big breakthrough!) for what we want to do here in the next 6 months to the Mayor – Don Paco Blanco. He is going to pay us each 1500Quetzales/ month to carry on with our teaching in the school and also to teach the tourguides and ‘becados’ who are studying in La Gomera post 16. As well as this, he wants us to help local people develop craft products. Although this is only £140 / a month, this is more than enough to live on since our rent is only 600Q (£50) between us and you can’t buy anything here except fish, second hand clothes which arrive on a van in a big heap and milkshakes. And we are only teaching for 2 hours a day, which leaves us free to develop all the creative stuff we want to do here.
Officially a landlord
More good news on the money front is that I have tenants for my flat in London. This is a big relief as it’s been empty for a month and has drained away my savings. Let’s hope they love being in my flat as much as I did and don’t paint the flat black, smoke cigars and have raves every night.
And a reflection
I was talking to my friend Jill a few days ago and told her how happy I am here. She said ‘wow jules – you are just meant to be that person. everything else felt like a cage’.
That’s exactly how I feel. For so many years, I have not felt right, trying to do what everyone else is doing and fit with what is expected of a woman in the UK who has a good education and is in her 30s and is intelligent enough to have a good job and a lovely home and a nice partner. And all the time I just wanted to light fires and jump into the sea and feel part of a community and make a difference to peoples’ lives and make stuff from nothing and be around other people who want that too. And I have found that here.