Archive for month: November, 2011

The Calm after the Storm

27 Nov
November 27, 2011


We live in a country with few large scale natural disasters. No typhoons or cyclones,  no  volcano eruptions threatening to wipe out entire cities, no earthquakes to speak of (in front of Californians, Japanese or others living on top of faults between constantly shifting tectonic plates) and no heath waves in the real, southerly sense of the world.  
This does not mean that we have not had our share of landslides, avalanches, floods, storms and other challenges. People here have traditionally had, and many still have, to fight their own battles against Mother Nature, in order to make a living in this, it sometimes seems, godforsaken periphery of civilization.  Population being scarce in the most challenged or accident prone areas, though, reduces the extent of material damage and human casualties, compared to similar events in other parts of the world.
Moreover we have over the generations learned and had the possibility to build houses and prepare ourselves to literally weather out many a storm. So when “Berit”, a hurricane in places “providing” winds of 35 m/s and waves up to 36 meters high, just paid us a visit, the damage was huge, but not qualifying as a national disaster.
In this case we even had a warning in form of weather forecasts; we had time to brace ourselves, bolt the doors and batten down the hatches, so to speak.
The most scary storms are usually the ones that strike without warning. Like the moody alpine winds, out of the blue sweeping down from the mountains,  onto the unsuspecting blue calm of the Tuner See, in which the peaks themselves only seconds before reflected their majestic selves. Capsizing boats, throwing people overboard.
But even expected bad times, weather- or otherwise, may deal us serious blows…

… to read more go to the link below

http://www.evernote.com/shard/s92/sh/cf62e281-62a7-457e-8274-6de433a56875/3421c3bef83973eb7489e86b03ec7036

Calpe Rock

24 Nov
November 24, 2011
One step at a time, easy does it. I set one foot in front of the other. Easing myself along the path, in some places providing barely enough space for one foot, in between or on top of smooth and slippery lime stones. Polished by the elements and all the feet having trod here before me. The quality of the path was not much worse than many others I had hiked, where a clumsy or false step, means a moment’s imbalance, before regaining your footing.

Here, though, such a move could very likely result in a mind- and body blowing once in a life time experience… as there was no foothold, nor handhold for that matter, to be had on the one side of me. I was very intent on not looking in that direction, but was very well aware of the sheer drop into the sea below me. I tried to control my pulse and my breathing, just staying in the here and now of each and every step, frequently using my hands on the rocks above me to steady and heave myself up.  Trying to keep grounded both mentally and physically. I felt confident that if I were able to stay in this mindset, and the going didn’t get much tougher, I would make it to the top. I had no idea, however, of how I would get down…

to find out if I ever made it down (guess!:-)…, follow the link below:

http://www.evernote.com/shard/s92/sh/c2a8d111-386c-4e37-a159-aca3bc49be05/f1cc3dfc1e442f954b7337e33089516e

Norwegian Food

17 Nov
November 17, 2011
Having enjoyed our own cooking for several days, we decided to treat ourselves to some Spanish food for a change. Nurturing thoughts of tapas, paella, gazpacho, chorizo sausage, serrano ham and the likes, our mouths had already begun to water when we began what was to be our quest. Previous trips to the small town of Alfaz, had mainly consisted of visits to the supermercado, but we had actually happened to have a glimpse behind the scenes, and noticed that there was more to it than the rather nondescript main street. Plazas and lots of eating places with actual Spanish people enjoying themselves had been observed, so we figured that finding a place should be piece of cake, so to speak.
The afore mentioned observer had not done a very thorough job though, passing cafés, bars and restaurants without actually looking at what was being served at the different establishments.  As it turns out, or at least that’s what it seems like up close at 8 pm in the evening, is that the Spanish’ staple food is comprised of cakes, biscuits, ice cream and coffee, and not much else. We walked from table to table and place to place, and that’s what we saw.
There were people however, who seemed to be enjoying something more substantial, in the line of dinner, but they were light skinned, most of them, as you might have conjectured, Norwegians.  And, according to posters and menus, they were enjoying meatballs, fish pudding, rømmegrøt (I doubt you non Norwegians reealy want to know what that is. There is a reason why we are looking for Spanish food, for Pete’s sake! ), salmon, Norwegian style, ham, Norwegian style, and lapskaus (a kind of “let’s see what leftovers we have from the past two weeks, aaah, a little piece of lamb, some carrots, potatoes, cod, a little smelly, but so what,  some dried out peas, a piece of birthday cake, a little herring, yess! Let’s have lapskaus!”.  Come to think of it, not even Norwegians  know where the word comes from or what I actually means. Go figure, some smartass lazy guy with Scottish genes made that one up, I’m sure. I could  go on, but I will have mercy on you and stop here.
Seeing the writing on the wall; this was not going to be easy, I resolved to do what I often do, ask one of the locals. I approached a guy standing on the side of the road, minding his own business and possibly enjoying watching the Norwegians across the street stuffing their faces with one bizarre dish after the other, and asked in English if he could help us out. He didn’t know much English, but was friendliness itself, so we struck up a pleasant, if not very meaningful conversation, I resorting to a few words I hoped were Spanish when I had to, and he using an extraordinarily rich repertoire of gestures. I was after some preliminary exercises able to convey to him that we did not want to eat Norwegian food. This he seemed to have no difficulties appreciating, but laughed and said that avoiding it could be a little hard as we after all happened to be smack in the middle of Little Norway. He considered for a moment and then pointed towards a place further down the street. I smiled and thanked him profoundly, at the same time signaling thumbs up to the two nice Germans in my company.
Entering the suggested place, we found it was totally void of people. We looked around, and after a while discovered a lady washing the floor in the adjoining room. Asking if we could have something to eat, she pointed in the general direction of a glass counter displaying a small array of food. Olives, peppers, squids, some kind of sausage, red meat and fowl of some sorts, were laid out, alongside a very worn and very dirty looking dish cloth. It was Spanish all right, we had no reason to complain about that, but there was something about the dish cloth, and the arrangement of it all, that turned us a little off.  The fact that there was not a soul in sight, could be explained by the early hour of the night, but there could also be other reasons. We looked at each other and decided, even though by now we were starving, had the dish cloth looked more appealing we would have been drooling, to try out other options. We started walking down the street looking for someone else to ask, when my phone rang. Concentrating on the person on the other end of the line, I did not notice that one of my German friends had entered an office, asking for advice on where to eat. As I hung up, he came out, looking a little puzzled. The people he’d just talked to had not been very helpful, nor exactly forthcoming. Actually, they had ended up speaking to him pretty rudely. And he had just done what I had done; asked for directions to a place where they served, he had even relented on the demands, anything but Norwegian food. That’s when I looked up and saw the sign over the door: “Norwegian tours”. The poor guy, speaking English with a eloquent, but distinctly German accent, had wandered in, addressed the Norwegian employees and, obviously, but totally unintentionally, insulting them on their own territory. What a way to go!
I laughed so hard I could hardly walk, and dragged him and his wife away from the scene of the crime. We almost bumped into the owner of a fruit store, and figuring his suggestion would be as sound as anyone’s asked him if he could direct us to a Spanish restaurant. He pointed 200 meters down the street, and there was Ta Casa, as emerging out of nowhere, quite big, yet cozy, with friendly staff, and really good Spanish cuisine. The rest is history, a temporarily full stomach and a happy palate that will treasure the memories of the good tastes it was served.

Out of Gas

12 Nov
November 12, 2011

We did get a little suspicious the other day when the heating system suddenly came to a standstill.  And when the hot water abandoned us, we understood that something was amiss. Or rather empty. Our hosts had meticulously written down instructions for how to act in such a situation, so I picked up the phone and dialed the number of the gas company. Of course it was after opening hours, as is usually the case on such occasions, so there was only a recorded message telling us the obvious fact, in addition to something about a number we could call in “caso de emergencia”.  A bad hair day can hardly be classified as such, and the dishes seemed to be happy sitting in the sink. So we waited till this morning, and reached a friendly lady who had a command over the English language similar to mine of Spanish, meaning veery poor, but when I hung up, I was fairly convinced there’ll be a man coming over to fix the problem tomorrow morning.

And sure enough, today, promptly at 8 o’ clock two friendly “gas men” showed up. The late bedder and early riser, still uncombed and in  her usual cosy and ruffled morning attire, opened the necessary gates and doors (you  soon get used to handling a loot of keys here, to every front, back and side door, all in addition equipped with a grilled door for protection against intruders…) and the men set about to work. It turned out that all 8 bottler were empty, not a molecule of gas was left. We asked for all of the bottles to be changed, and in the meantime I got up, making myself at least somewhat presentable and met them just as they were finishing the job, and ready for payment.
 It was then I realized that we did not have the necessary means between us for the task, so I told them I’d just pop down to Alfas and pick up some cash there. No worry, I would be back in 10 minutes. I knew the location of a Telebanco  near our local Supermercado and headed for that. Parked the car right outside and hopped out. The Telebanco was forthcoming, accepted my card and took me through all the steps, returned my card (that’s always a relief), and then… nothing. No message of irregularities had been given, the transaction seemed to have gone through, but no money appeared. I waited, and waited. Eventually I realized that it was a lost case, and tried calling a service number kindly provided on the screen. I called the number … and reached an answering machine. It repeated its most likely very informative message in Spanish, over and over again, and just as I was about to hang up a person was on the line. She was friendly enough, but English was not her strongest point, so I grabbed a passing lady and asked her if she could help me. Her English was perfect, her Spanish on the other hand….left a lot to be desired. I kept shouting into the phone “momento, momento, por favor” and looked wildly around me. A man on a motorbike approached, and I ran up to him, pleading with him to help me. He quickly sized up the situation, and the sweet guy, fluent in both languages, took over the phone. He conveyed to me that the bank lady wanted my DNA. I  looked blankly at him. Why on earth did the woman want to know about my genes, did she want to check it towards an international gene bank of notorious conmen or what? It turned out she was talking about my passportnumber, which of course, was in my passport, back at the house. I thanked the man and asked him if he knew of another TB in the neighborhood, to which he answered in the negative, I’ d probably have to go to the next town, Albir. So I set out, preparing myself for a longer drive, and 4 seconds later, I spotted another. I schreeched to a halt, made a u-turn, parked and hopped out. This time the darned banco didn’t even allow me to insert any of my 3 cards. Franticly, I knew the gas men were awating my return, I even tried my library card and my neat little card showing my blood type. After all, there is such a thing as a blood bank, and maybe if the bank drew a little blood from me, I could withdraw some money from the automat.  But it was all to no avail. So back in the car I once more set out for Albir, but now a little wiser, looking left and right, while I was driving. And sure enough, just a few blocks away, there was yet another TB. By now a little skeptical, I inserted one of my cards and went through the procedures. “Transaction not possible”, the screen displayed. It might as well have said “f… off!” I hesitated for a moment and then tried one of my other two cards. Step by step, I followed the instructions veeery carefully, all the while expecting the transaction to stall, the card to be spewed out, or, I wouldn’t put it past it, reach out a boxing glove  and punch me in the face! All the more amazed, I saw the transaction being completed, the card given back to me, and the money materialize.  What happened at the first TB, where the transaction had followed all the normal steps, short of providing me with the money, I don’t know. My favorite scenario is a Spaniard short on funds showing up to withdraw a few Euros and astonished watching money worth of 8 big gas bottles and quite a bit more falling into his unsuspicious lap, an expression of glee spreading over his face.
The gas money was duly handed over, along with a little extra for the long wait, and everybody was happy: The gas men and we, now able to do both dishes our hair, the latter of course feeling more urgent than the other, here in WinterWonderSummerLand.

Guadalest

10 Nov
November 10, 2011
Guadalest is perched on top of a ridge of granite, close to 600 meters above sea level, in a valley surrounded by several mountain ranges. Guadalest, meaning Eagle’s nest, was established around year 1200, by the Moors, a north-west African people who conquered and ruled the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. They constructed and built castles on this extremely strategic place, to defend and control the area, which is the case of so many forts and castles of this kind. The castle was reconquered by the Christians in the 13th century, and since then the castle has fallen victim to both wars and earthquakes, occurrences that combined led to its destruction in the 17th and 18th century.
 Walking around in the village and up to the castle and the forts, we felt in no imminent danger of attack of any sort. Many of the people in the museums and shops, though, behaved as if we were conquistadors, wanting to invade their shops, their life, their souls. Their rude and unfriendly behavior did nothing to endear us to the place. They acted as if they were positively sick and tired of all the tourists that they are so utterly dependent on. Which in one way is understandable, but on the other hand makes life more miserable than necessary for both parties.
True, many tourists come from less economically challenged countries, but frankly I don’t see how that justifies insulting and affronting everyone. The most impressively offensive manner, though, I experienced upon entering the small Heritage Museum. I was greeted by a man with a solemn demeanor, saying, but obviously not wishing me, buenas tardes. Trying to be on my best and friendliest behavior I answered him in Spanish. Whereupon he literally snarled at me, and asked how the hell (he didn’t actually use the word, but he sure as h… wanted to!) he should know what  brochure to give me, if I greeted him in Spanish, and not in my native tongue. I feebly tried to convince him that I was attempting to be friendly, when in Rome etc… , but he briskly waved me off, as if I were an irritating insect, with “if you don’t need help, that’s perfectly fine with me!”  My concentration was by now somewhat subdued, so I quickly walked through the tableaus, not really taking anything in, just hoping he wouldn’t spit at me, or kill me, on my way out.
All the negativity was not able, though, to diminish the exhilaration we felt about both the now to a great extent crumbled forts, still impressive, by virtue of their location, and the amazing panoramic view of the strikingly beautiful landscape around us. Some of the mountains were bathed in the now reddish glow of the late afternoon sun, and the dammed Guadalest drinking reservoir is no less than stunning, with its emerald color, lined with what from a distance looks like white, sandy banks leading up to the terraced hillsides, reaching all the way up to the timberline and beyond.

While my companion went down to the village, I stayed on a little longer, perched on a slab of rock, just taking in the scene around me. People came, stayed for a little while, took photos, pointed out landscape formations to each other, and left again. I sat there, peacefully marveling at the mountains, the lake and not the least the people who had once lived, worked, fought and died here, of natural causes, in combat or in the dungeons, now open for the public, as an attraction…  I suddenly shivered. I was chilled by the thought, and by the fact that the sun was setting. Time to start the descent, and our drive back to friendly L’Alfas.  

Altea

10 Nov
November 10, 2011
«Oh, what a beautiful morning!» Singing at the top of my lungs, probably scaring the early daylight of the neighbors, I opened the doors leading out onto the patio. It was bathed in the morning sun, as was the garden, the pool, treacherously inviting, but cool, and the rest of L’Alfas del Pi and the part of the world that I was able to see.
Which was all that mattered right now. Living in a happy bubble for a couple of weeks, indulging in work and adventure, the rest of the world seemed far away. After the morning shift, we drove down the now familiar road through Alfas and made a left towards Altea, to experience the local farmer’s market.
The little street at the foot of the hill, was packed with people, buying ingredients for today’s dinner, or just enjoying the colorful displays of fruits, vegetables, flowers and other produce. People were friendly and smiling, and the vendors, forthcoming, did their best to understand our halting attempts at Spanish, and when we got stuck, spoke English or sometimes even astonished us by speaking a very tolerable Norwegian… Which, of course, should not come as a surprise, considering the fact that about a quarter of the municipality of L’Alfas del Pi’s 20 000 residents are Norwegian.
We strolled up and down several streets, taking in the relaxed feel of the former bohemian town. Which was even more tangible when we entered the Ciudad antigua, with houses clinging to the hill on all sides, like seashells on an underwater rock. Separated by crooked streets, leading this way and that, making you feel like walking within a maze. The difference being, that ever so often, the lanes opened up and the houses gave room for a square or a view over the turquoise colored ocean down below. On top of the hill was a plateau with outdoor cafés and restaurants, and the church, Nuestra Senora del Consuela, with its spectacular, white and blue ceramic dome.
Having had glimpses and full views of the beautiful Altea bay so many times during the day, a dip in the sea was inevitable for some of us. As a compulsory impulse bather, there was now room for hesitation or restricting inhibitions, even though the bathing gear was in the suitcase back at the house. Stripping down to the bare essentials, I threw myself out into the waves. Whereupon they promptly threw me back to shore! I had obviously underestimated the force of them and the underwater currents, and ended up tumbled and a little bruised from the encounter with rock bottom, so to speak, but happy.
The afternoon shift started when we got back home, and lasted long into the evening, just interrupted by a delicious meal made using ingredients from the market and a few, definitely health-brining sips of organically, if not locally, produced 2009 Sangre de Toro.

Hunting high and low

08 Nov
November 8, 2011
Today was Real Estate Day. The dream of finding a Place in the Sun has always been present, albeit for long periods of time, dormant. Now were the time and the opportunity to see if anything was waiting for us “out there”.  We had made an arrangement to meet up with a real estate agent, well known by the generous owners of the house we are currently borrowing. Bright and early, wide eyed, fit for fight, we showed up at her office in downtown Albir. The deal was to have a little chat and then maybe view a couple of possible prospects. Our specifications for a property was quite specific and precise, but not being a novice in the game, the agent had picked out houses within different categories.
 We started off looking at apartments, went on to town houses, an eventually ended up concentrating on villas with the works; several patios, a range of bedrooms, more bathrooms than we ever would wish to clean, wardrobes fit for a Mrs. Beckham, pool, Jacuzzi, fountains, with big gardens which we had sworn we would never take on, and without sea-view and-access, which had definitely been on top of the list.
The more houses we saw, the more tired we got, and our judgement quickly deteriorated from bad to catastrophic. The agent, extremely nice, extraordinarily competent and of course eager to sell, sensed the onset of our weakened condition and started showing us estates, yes, that would be the word, way out of our price range. By now we were delirious from lack of food and drink, but she continued driving, showing us this area and that, hacienda upon hacienda. When she realized that we were now so exhausted that we weren’t able to see straight, let alone hold a pen for signing a contract, she took us, just to be nice, by the Norwegian Seaman’s Church and the location of the Englishman’s market. We nodded in appreciation, but there was not a braincell in our head capable of taking in neither location nor direction, so if we ever find our way back there it will be a sheer case of happy coincidence.
Back at the office, I dove into a fruitplate, probably there for ornamental purposes, but I would have eaten the fruit even if it were made of plastic. Trying, out of modesty, to restrain myself, I forced myself to only pick up a banana, which I gobbled up faster than a monkey can say, well …anything. The glass of water I was offered quickly went the same way, and I am positive that the other agents in the office, watching us, must have marvelled at the Norwegian lady, fairly well dressed, but obviously starving, eating away at their window decorations.
Thus having retrieved a few of our marbles, we got in the car and drove home, stopping only to pick up some essensials at the supermarket, to ensure that we didn’t have to move more muscles than absolutely necessary during the remainder of the day. It’s amazing though, what a little food and a short rest can do, because before the day was over, we had put in several hours of work, more food and just a sufficient amount of wine to agree that the day had been extremely successful.
But now you have to excuse me, I have to go in and remove book and glasses from my good friend’s pillow and turn off her light. That book will last her a loooong time, that’s for sure.

The Invation of Polop

07 Nov
November 7, 2011
I know it (the smile) was still there when I woke up this morning. It was overcast and windy, but the temperature definitely hinted of what we at home consider summer. A little later the sun broke through the clouds, and sitting outside, just wearing a bikini was actually both possible and comfortable.
Now this is the way to go, and work, in November! I rigged up myself and my computer on the patio overlooking the yard, the pool and the mountains beyond. What a “screen saver”! With a cup of tea and a sliced, juicy Sharon fruit, I was all set.
I surfaced a few hours later, when we took a break and made a salad from fresh, mostly local, produce. We continued working till around 3 o’clock, when we were ready for some adventure and took off in the neat little Mercedes at our disposal. We ignored both maps and GPS and just set off in the general direction of the mountains. The road did not take us where we had intended, but as we ended up in the little town of Polop, embracing a hill with remnants of a close to 1000 year old hill fort on top, we were more than satisfied. We parked the car and walked up the steep and very narrow streets which were definitely made for walking, but, as we soon realized, also frequently used for driving. The drivers had no way of seeing what or who was around the next corner, but that didn’t seem in the least to bother them or affect their speed.
The view from the hilltop was a beautiful 360 degree vista, including both valley, sea and mountains. Not difficult to imagine why one would choose to build a castle up here. The steep hillsides must have protected the residents from a lot of attacks over the centuries, and its strategic location probably made a perfect control post for traffic to and from the Mediterranean.
The entrance to the area within the existing, and for a great part reconstructed, fortress walls was closed. Too bad, we thought, despondent. But not for long. A sudden flashback to a similar stunt some years ago, then at an island monastery back home, made us determined to find a way in.

Walking around the wall, in silent understanding, we looked for a weak point in the defense, and found it. A protruding slab of rock made a perfect platform from which to climb over the wall, which right here was a little bit crumbled and provided the necessary footholds. Once inside, giggling and in a great mood, we quickly sobered up upon realizing that most of what lay before us were old, open graves. How old we couldn’t tell, and there were no information signs to be seen anywhere. The degree of decay was great, though, and a lone shovel and a wheelbarrow with a punctuated tyre did not do much in the way of promising a full preservation or reconstruction in a very near future. With no info whatsoever our imagination could work unhindered, which it did, until we snapped out of it and made our way out again, happy and only with some minor bruises from the climb.
Finding our way home was no problem, after we had involuntarily explored a huge residential area, with 75 % of the houses not finished, and not likely to be in a very long time. It was like driving through a ghost town, and we pitied the people who had actually moved in here, before recession caused an abrupt stop in further building activities.
My friend has a great sense of direction, and as soon as I got used to the fact that she 50 % of the time says “left” when she means “right”, and vice versa, and started focusing on her hand signs instead of her words, I leaned back in the driver’s seat and relaxed.
Arriving “home”, we continued working till 8 PM when we cooked and had dinner. After which my friend called it a day and went to bed intending to enjoy an hour reading her book. I passed her room 2 minutes later, and seeing her fast asleep, removed her book and her glasses and turned off the light.

Casa el Jardin

06 Nov
November 6, 2011
L’Alfaz del Pi, home of the free?, home of the Spaniards, quite a few Norwegians, and, lo and behold, for the next two weeks, me! The shuttle bus that I had booked from home, awaited me and my companion for the first week, right outside the customs, and took us, and on this occasion no others, to our designated bus stop…and left us there. By this time daylight was quickly fading, but through a combination of my friend’s map reading skills, a kind, Spanish man with a dog named Matt and an 11 year old son with the beautiful name of Marcello, my intuition and quite a bit of luck, we soon found ourselves outside the “pearly gates” of Case del Jardin.

“Pearly gates” is not casually used here, as upon setting foot inside both the garden and the house, we felt we had been admitted into a small corner of Heaven.  The Jardin lived up to its name, with an abundance of trees and plants, at home only found as tiny indoor versions or in botanical greenhouses; Palms of different kinds and sizes, succulents, cactuses, purple bougainvilleas decorating fences and framing entrances, hibiscus trees full of intensely red flowers, lemon- and orange trees, with fruits literally ready for the picking, and a several hundred years old Carob, or St. John’s bread tree.  And in this garden of Eden, on all sides of the house, a great selection of terraces and seating areas, a hammock, a pool, a fountain, a view over the mountains, and, if you stand on top the garden table facing the pool, even over the ocean.

As we aw’ed and wow’ed over it all, we fumbled with the keys in the dark for a while, and entered the Casa. Which was spacious and cozy at the same time. Homely, simply, yet elegantly furnished and decorated, the house welcomed us, manifold exceeding our expectations. And as we started “installing” ourselves, and finding our way around the house, we soon discovered that much care must have gone into planning it all. Everything, from kitchen equipment to wireless was in place and working. Electricity sockets were where you needed them, and even the wine opener was easy to find, when we after a long journey and some hectic grocery shopping, were ready to put our feet up, dig into bread, local cheese, ham and olives and, having in the supermarket tryed to avoid anything Norwegian, Scottish salmon.
We sat down, ate, drank, looked at each other. And smiled. Amazed at our good fortune, amazed at the generous people having lent us this jewel. And then we slept, the smile, I am sure, probably still on our lips.

Off guard

06 Nov
November 6, 2011
Sometimes, in the middle of going about what you thought was  your business, your life…,  you are caught unawares, by surprise… by events, by people, by  plain old destiny, or, if it turns out to be a positive thing, by what I like to look upon as synchronisms.

In rare cases these occurrences may be life changing, depending on what they are, on whom you are, and how you react.

More often than not, though, they may initially lift you off your feet and rattle you, as if you were a rag doll, without the ability to act or react. But once you have caught your breath, realigned your tie (if you’re a man, something of your choice if you’re a woman), brushed your hair (if you have some) into place and got your heart and head around them, so to speak, you can move on, shaken and stirred. Sometimes richer, sometimes still wide eyed and surprised, but always all the more wiser.

The most baffling phenomena are often related to people. If they are strangers, and you have no inkling as to their innate characteristics, the shock may be great. But the impact on you, your feelings and your life, are usually neither great nor lasting, due to their peripheral relation and importance to you.

If, on the other hand, the person in question is someone you thought you knew, had more or less figured out, mapped and categorized, the aftershocks of the quake, the aftermaths of the revelations, are  more disturbing, more influencal.

Frequently, it turns out, there is more to a person than meets the eye; little by little, or sometimes quite suddenly, you realize there is much more “under the skin” of that human being than you had ever imagined.

You feel taken off guard, by words or actions, but even more so by the reverberation they evoke within you, of feelings and thoughts, either long forgotten or suppressed, or never really fully experienced. Welcome or unwanted, but indisputably a revelation and an awakening.  

After such an experience, one may wish to go back to former ignorance, previous uncorrupted innocence of not knowing, not experiencing, not, in some case, indulging. It is all irrefutable. But how we choose to go on, when it comes to both feelings and dealings is not.

Sometimes the most unexpected, intense and mind unsettling experiences may lead to added insight, tolerance, closeness, alertness, motivation. Causing you to treasure and pursue new or awakened aspects of your life, parallel with an increased appreciation of what you already have. Optimally, if wisely contemplated and administered, this will enhance not only your own quality and scope of life, but also that of people around you.