We steeped ourselves in quietness for a couple of weeks, and now it´s all happening again.
Long story short, a much-anticipated visit from my son Philip, who´s not been to Spain in four years and has never seen The Peaceable Kingdom, commenced today with a knockout surprise!
We arrived a little late to Madrid airport, having driven down in snow and fog, and who is standing on the curb with my boy? His sister, Libby! They plotted and schemed together for the past month, and pulled off what might be the most pleasant surprise in my recent memory!
Of course having them both here (Libby can only stay til 16 Dec., but Philip goes back on New Year´s Eve) scrambles up some plans and will require moving furniture around next week, when another guest arrives. But I´m not thinking of that now. I am too busy being delighted. And being hugged!
I don´t blog much about my children, as they´re not a part of daily life around here, and I don´t want to bore you or violate their privacy. But they are very much a part of my heart, and sometimes I miss them terribly. To have them here, BOTH at the same time? Even when they´re jet-lagged it is meat and drink for the soul. I don´t know when we all were together in the same place last, for more than a day or evening or meal. Now we´ll be together long enough to maybe even get on each others´ nerves! Woohoo! A real family!
And speaking of potentially boring, but presently very nice developments:
I don´t know if I bored you in the past with my long and bureaucratic sojourn toward teaching other former pilgrims how to be hospitaleros. (Hospitaleros are volunteers who run non-profit pilgrim hostels in two-week time slots. They make the Camino de Santiago happen.)
A month ago, the Canadians who officially train hospitaleros agreed to bring me onto their hospitalero training "team." (Can two people be a team?) This enables me to teach people how to do this rather common-sense job here on the Camino, in English. And people thus trained can go onto the rota of the Spanish national Federation, which staffs about 50 hostels. Got all that? (here is their picture, btw):
Anyway, on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I taught my first course, and signed-up two new hospitaleros: Marik from Denmark and David from Holland. I sent all their info off to The Authorities, who will hopefully soon send them an assignment for 2009. It´s nice. It´s a little like having children, and sending them off into the world. I feel kind-of responsible for them!
So if you are one of those people who wants to try hospitalero-ing, and you want to be trained in English, you can go either to the Confraternity of St. James in London and get it in a lovely UK accent, or you can come to The Peaceable and get the Canadian version. And next I hope to put all the teaching materials into shape to make an online course! (Oh, and you can also attend a gathering of the American Pilgrims on the Camino. They offer hospitalero training as part of this annual convention... this spring it´s in Albuquerque, New Mexico.)
As for the Peaceable itself -- we´re finding out it´s not coping with winter temperatures as well as we´d hoped. It´s insulated all over, but the adobe walls are hanging onto the cold rather than the warmth. We wake up to 11-degree C in the bedrooms each morning, our breath drifting in clouds above our noses -- even as we burn through an awful lot of gasoil in the furnace. We´ll have to do some tuning. And we don´t know how.
The adventure continues! And now we have an audience to enjoy the Laff Riot with us.