It doesn’t look like it now, but this puppy is a terremoto around the village. He’s a good dog, just a overly excited. Luckily the only other people around are a few neighbors on the weekends and folks passing through on the way to their viñas.
Much of our homestead progress is punctuated by half victories.
- Toilet installed, leak in the shower
- Kitchen sink working, still no tile or stovetop
- Filling in ditches in the yard, perimetrical fence will take another month and Alqo naps in the street.
Both of us feeling exhausted, Patricia rightly suggested we take a break yesterday to do a hike. Though we didn’t really hike, we did park at Igrexa de San Martiño da Cova not far from the town of Escairón (O Saviñao) and walked down the paved road to praia fluvial A Cova for the first time since moving here.
We had the beach to ourselves, and on the way down caught glimpses of Cabo do Mundo, a famous bend in the Miño river a bit like Horsehoe Bend in Arizona. Here’s the left hand side of it.
This year will be the year that the world finally wakes up to the absolute reality of Israeli apartheid.
But it is not a given. Governments still continue to fund Israel. Yesterday, in full view of the asymmetric warfare that kills massively more Palestinians, The Biden administration approved a $735 million deal for precision-guided weapons.
With all the documentary evidence of this apartheid; live videos, firsthand testimonies, Instagram stories, etc., ostensibly “liberal” media outlets like La Sexta and the New York Times knowingly distort the situation.
My tolerance for bullshit is very low these days. Israel and IDF social media accounts make memes and use rocket emojis, trying to convince us that what we’re seeing isn’t really what we’re seeing. Or the Arabic account incorrectly citing Qur’anic verses. Or it’s too complicated. Or this is another incident in the tit-for-tat Middle East conflict and “they’ve been fighting for thousands of years”. Or it’s a religious conflict. If you find any of these excuses resonant with you, perhaps you can start by listening to a Citations Needed podcast episode debunking the 5 most common Anti-Palestinian talking points.
Without a seat in parliament or congress, without financial or political capital, there’s very little I can do. Except use my voice, however small or insignificant.
The Galician Committee of International Solidarity Mar de Lumes, along with many other organizations such as BDS Galiza and Asociación Galaico Árabe Jenin, put out a manifesto for the integrity of Palestine:
Palestinian occupation began formally in 1947 and is to the day a capital crime. A crime against the people perpetuated with military force which constantly ignores international condemnation. The occupation of Palestine is also a crime against humanity. It has direct culprits that don’t even try to hide the weight of their bloodshed. This is why it demands a clear and staunch position, a frontal condemnation.
This evening, we will fill the streets and plazas of over two dozen Galician towns and cities to demonstrate our solidarity with the people of Palestine to say “No More! Basta Ya!” To show our neighbors and our governments what is happening to civilians in Gaza, in the West Bank, in East Jerusalem, and in the diaspora. One day, from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.
I’m sitting in two shipping containers converted into a small 30 square meter house. They’re installing drywall in what will be the bathroom. I’d like to be outside, but it’s raining off and on. I’ll use this time to share photos from the last eighteen months in Allariz.
This was one of the first houses for sale we looked at. I’m very happy to report that we didn’t jump into this and spent more time feeling out the area and where we wanted to be.
Our rental in all her glory. Refreshing and cool in the spring and summer, freezing and unbearable in the winter, but better than an apartment in a city for a global pandemic and the ensuing quarantines.
Like the house, the fig tree was a mixed bag. It gets messy and attracts bees.
The fuente of Nanín, according to locals, gives some of the best water in all of Allariz. Indeed, we’d often see people with many glass jugs of water filling up for the water .
I never tired of trying to photograph nature. As is the case, it never comes out how I saw an felt the landscape at the time, but the the colors of this one from December 2019 is special.
What’s left of the castelo de Todea at the strategic top of a hill in O San Salvador, another village close to Nanín.
The Arnoia river from a walking path close to Vilariño do Río. Monforte also has a river running through it, the Cabe.
Then a pandemic came and I started noticing that Allariz gave me a different feeling. Yes, it was small, that hadn’t bothered me. But only heading down for a weekly market trip was a bit surreal. For months, I would walk up the monte and see what Allariz looked like that day from afar.
I started escaping to the monte much more than usual, usually with Alqo, many times with Patricia. I saw the changes in season and the cycle of vegetation on the same worn paths. Further down from the above image, I saw the tail end of a big boar running from us.
I named landmarks and paths to differentiate them, and to recount what I saw to Patricia if she hadn’t come with me. This is Nanín’s Uluru, aptly named Big Rock by me.
Nervous of the longevity of the quarantine and bored of being cooped up inside, we decided to spruce up the ignored small patch of garden in front of our house. Back up the monte to collect sticks and soil, we made a small raised bed where we planted carrots, arugula, strawberries, spinach, and beets.
With the two-person hammock our friends gave us when we left Germany, the small space actually turned out relaxing. As relaxing as the first months of 2020 could be. The better weather helped immensely.
Last Ramadán, en plena pandemia, felt strange and familiar. As a convert, it reminded me of my first year, fasting at home, trying to explain my decisions to my family. Patricia fasted a bit in solidarity and helped provide us with amazing vegan or vegetarian iftars every night.
Patricia kept up the garden, Alqo did his part and mostly watched, not trying to lay down or dig it up.
And I continued my daily after-lunch walks with the pup, admiring what I hadn’t noticed the day before.
After a strange summer of house hunting, a few weekends at the beach house, and a quick trip to Portugal, fall arrived again. At the peak of summer, the monte was too hot and full of bugs to enjoy. The weather cooled, the bugs disappeared, and we were back to exploring.
In October, we found our spot and the rest is history. I’ll miss a few friends in Allariz. They know who they are. But after talking with a friend yesterday, I realize I don’t have bittersweet feelings about leaving. Here near the Val de Lemos, I’m reinvigorated to explore, keep improving my castellano and galego, meet local and foreign residents, and work on skills and habits I’ve been cultivating. So, Allariz, ata logo!