Day 16: There are very few things that I attempt and then concede, “You know, I don’t feel comfortable doing this.” That is what happened when I surfed today. I had a private lesson with Mario himself after we ran all over time doing errands (we saw a meter long rattler in the road which was pretty cool. It was alive) Well, the waves were bigger than I had ever been in (about 5-6 feet over my head) and I struggled mightily with the big water. It just wasn’t fun. I got flipped over and over and over in the waves. I was just really not digging it. Eventually I was washed (I also swam, as if my life depended on it) to the beach in order to be back on land-sweet-dry-land. Sputtering and breathing heavily I turned around to face the water.
Take two: I grudgingly paddled back out with Mario into the waves. It was like going through a drive-through car wash sans automobile. Only much worse. We reached our destination: a section of ocean where we could see the waves coming and hopefully catch them. A seasoned surfer paddles by. Looks at me.
“Wow, this your first time surfing?”
“In waves like this, yes.”
“I was gonna say, you’re pretty brave.”
“Or just dumb.”
I regretted that last comment later. But I was not having fun and my manners momentarily eluded me. Not too much later I was bitterly crushed by a tremendous hill of water that swept me up. Suddenly I was staring down from the crest of the wave right before it broke. It was slow motion. I said a naughty little four letter word to myself and then went tumbling into the frothing maw. Yeah. Still not having fun. I surfaced and made a bee line for the shore occasionally pushed over like grass by wave after wave as they snuck up behind me. Mario somehow managed to sense my finished-ness (I walked out of the water, board under arm without looking back), viciously determined to get a drink of water instead of being drunk by the water) and said he was going out to surf for a half an hour or so. That turned out to be almost an hour and a half. But I was grateful to be dry and was very contented sunning myself on the beach and catching up on my news via a CS Monitor I had brought with me. Later I bought $10 nachos (which became lunch and dinner that night). I set them down by my towel for a moment to do something. I turned back to them and find them in the mouth of a stray dog.
“Ah HELL no!” I would’ve taken the dog down had it not dropped the Styro-foam box my beauties were in and ran off before I could pounce on it. Luckily, they were not injured and I ate them smugly, one eye on the next chip, the other eye scanning the beach for mongrels. I eventually made my way home after Mario finished surfing. He had a great time, for which I was grateful. And he didn’t charge me for a lesson which I was even more grateful for.
I appreciated that day at the beach because knowing my limits is not something I am accustomed to doing. Usually when the going gets tough, I find a way to make it work. This time it was clear. I was not liking it and I could say no. OK. Good lesson in humility and honesty. And great nachos. Hard won, expensive nachos.
I went home and slept until I woke up to teach my last class at La Palapa. Not many kids but they were great.
Day 16: I had no milk because it had gone bad. Nor did I have any eggs. But I did have pancake mix and yogurt. And thus, yogurt pancakes were born. I am at the stage in my Baja journey where I am trying to find creative ways to eat all the food in my fridge so as not to waste it. I poured out a pile of mix and spooned in yogurt, adding water to liquify the solution. Voila. I commenced to use the batter as I would in a normal situation and was rewarded with dense but very moist and delicious pancakes. I made a large batch and saved half of them for lunch.
Later I went to the grocery store to buy just enough food get me through the next night and day after having eaten all I could from my fridge. On my way back, where did I stop for second lunch? Yes– none other than El Pastorsito. I saw Nancy, Nico’s grandmother, and her other grandson Diego and her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend. I was invited to sit with them and we chatted and waved the flies off of our lunches. They left since Nancy had to get back to work and so I sat munching contentedly on my tacos. When I went to pay, Mari, who works there, told me in Spanish and with a smile on her face that Nancy had paid for my lunch already. I was elated and touched– again another example of the generosity I experience so frequently in Todos Santos.
Returning home I wrote my English paper and finished in time to go on an evening jog just before the sun set. I returned after it had gone down, leaving a milky pink trail in its wake. It was the most uplifting run. In sudden lucidity it dawned on me that my job, my mission in life, no matter what I do, is to be free in order to show others they can be free too. How do I do that?………“Just be.” I hadn’t realized until that moment that I had been terrified to just be. It was always, let go of this, do more of this, try harder here, don’t do that again, apply myself more here, work harder, go apologize……This was fresh: Be. Just be. Scary. But it made so much sense. I feel peaceful knowing that it’s possible to simply be without the anxious clamor to always feel almost there or “great, if only ____ were different.” Just be.
No power in my casita tonight. Made myself a sandwich by headlamp, closing the fridge carefully after each transaction to conserve the precious cold air. Edited my paper. And here I am.
Buenas noches todos, y con mucho amor,