The Update #31 – Cooking our Life Away

by Jasper and Lonneke
21 November 2021
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What a week, what a week. It feels like we can write not just a story but an entire book about it, especially since I’m writing this further into the future and know what this week’s aftermath will bring. It was a week full of highs and lows. If you guys want to read that aftermath don’t worry, we’re still catching up so the rest of the story will follow pretty soon.

The retreat started on Sunday for real, it was the first day on which we had to cater fully. Lon was very happy that she could do this together with Eva, who works as a cook in a restaurant in Utrecht and therefore has more experience with cooking large quantities. Because to be honest, that’s the hardest part, estimating how much rice or whatever you need to cook for 20+ people. And also people who are exercising all day long… The food must of course be tasty, but there shouldn’t be too little… And besides that it is very nice because of her experience that Eva was here, we also really have the greatest fun with her so it was a big party in the kitchen everyday. Apart from the first two meals, we actually had no stress at all in the kitchen. We had only stress because for those first two meals we immediately had to make something that we had never made before. In hindsight a stupid decision but let me spare you the stress, the meals were delicious. For the first day, a chard lasagna was on the menu, especially since there was a lot of chard in the garden that needed to be used. We came up with something that seemed very tasty, a chard with a vegan alfredo sauce and well-seasoned champions together a lasagna. But when we were working on it, we were afraid that the vegan alfredo sauce was not nice enough and that the chard would lose a lot of moisture during cooking in the oven and that the lasagna sheets remained hard. But with a lot of improvising, the lasagna was delicious in the end. The next day we made a vegan paella, which neither of us had ever done before. With the extra huge challenge that there was only regular rice and no paella rice. But this one was also really tasty. Maybe it was a good thing that we had these “problems” right at the beginning because this made Eva and I immediately attuned to each other and we immediately knew were we stood with each other and we could immediately conjure up all our cooking creativity. All other meals we could do with our eyes closed, which was a really nice experience.

The retreat makes our days look really different. We start between 6:00 AM and 6:30 AM and then work for 2.5 hours. In the evening we do another shift of 2.5 hours starting around 16:30. In the morning we ensure that breakfast and lunch are ready around 8:00 AM and that they can be taken to the training site. In the evening the acrobats eat in the Finca and we try to have dinner ready at 19:00. Our days mainly consisted of cooking, cleaning and bringing food to the retreat. And occasionally walking with dogs, but unfortunately that often falls behind so we try to make them tired by playing with them. Lonneke also works a side hustle by massaging and helping people with complaints physiotherapy. But besides this, we luckily have still plenty of time for fun things.

For example, on Sunday we went to Abama beach between work, this is a lovely beach that belongs to a resort, but where there is also a public part. In front of the bay is a large natural breakwater, making the as flat as a mirror and thus super easy to swim in. On Monday Eva went paragliding and since we more or less adopted her, as we joke to each other, we played taxi. We dropped her off at the place where she was supposed to leave, took some pictures and picked her up again at the beach where she landed. There was a nice bar on that beach where we relaxed a bit afterwards.

Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning the three of us were off and so we went away a bit longer between our shifts where Eva slept in the front seats again. Eva really wanted to go to the North and we really wanted to go back there to do more walks there. Hahah and we walked, 13 km and 1500 altitude meters… Phew it was a beautiful walk, around every corner we ended up in a new beautiful mountain valley and had beautiful new views. But it was a really tough walk and we hadn’t counted on the altitude in particular. So we decided, very wisely, to spend the rest of our trip on the beach and to give our legs some rest. We slept again at the beach near Benijo where we met Carl the cat again. Wednesday we started quietly and hoped to show Eva Benijo beach but unfortunately the entrance to the beach was closed due to construction work so we relaxed on another beach. And that’s where we had the most fun. Many people do very serious photo shoots on the beach. We take a lot of pictures and also a lot of each other, but the photo shoots that are done on these beautiful beaches are really next level. For us it’s great fun to watch, but we couldn’t resist doing our variant with a wink. We also had a lot of fun with the bodyboard and we did a funny beach tap game that Eva taught us. Then we had lunch at a very nice small real Canarian restaurant, Bibi y Mana, with the most delicious tapas, after which we quickly went back to the finca for our evening shift.

However, we were so “busy” this week that we left immediately after our evening shift to sleep on the beach at playa de las Americans. We arrived late so we really only slept there but that was all in preparation for the next day. Because the next morning Jasper went diving with Niels W., a friend from secondary school and his girlfriend Danitsja. They are on vacation on the island for a week! We first met at the bus with Niels and Danitsja and chatted a bit, but they soon left to go diving. It was great fun diving again after a long time, we ended up making two dives in Playa de San Juan. While diving we saw a lot of different rays, one of which is really huge, I think with a wingspan of 2 meters, really impressive. And a seahorse, octopus and arrow crabs.! It was organized quite chaotically, also underwater, people who did not stay with the group, etc. but that didn’t spoil the fun. In the meantime Lon got company from Eva so that was very nice. In the evening we all went to El Medano where we had dinner at a nice restaurant.

On Friday morning Niels and Danitsja had rented a car and the finca was relatively on their route, so they stopped by to see what a beautiful place we are staying at. And because we hadn’t done enough outings that week and also because it was wonderful to get away from the hustle and bustle on the finca in between our shifts, we went to Hippie beach to chill out. And as the name says, it really is a place for hippies. We wrote before about the phenomenon that people stay in caves here. That is also the case at hippie Beach, here was a cave with a hollowed-out staircase to the next floor, very fancy! And another thing that was very entertaining to watch was that there were two people standing on rocks a few hundred yards apart and dancing with each other at a great distance. haha.

Now, of course, you’ve read this and you’re thinking, “You were talking about highs and lows. Where is that low then?” Well here it comes: in the evening we heard that two people at the retreat have tested positive for Corona, of which Lon has treated 1 for her knee complaint and has therefore been in direct contact for more than half an hour without wearing a mask or other precaution. And since acrobats sit on top of each other all day long, the question is how quickly and among how many people the virus has spread. Because we have been in direct contact with them and have been on the road a lot in recent days, we are afraid that we have also contributed to spreading them. In short, it was immediately a great chaos because of this news. We also felt very uncomfortable because the first time we let go of the reins a bit more and come into contact with a larger group of people, this immediately happens. While it has been going so well lately. We also found it very complicated what to do with the situation. Our instinct was, okay we have to get out of here right away and get back to our isolation in our van with just the two of us. But decided to wait until the next morning and hear what the measures were that would be taken here at the finca and whether we could agree with that. And luckily we could agree. All the people in the house agreed that there could be no more contact between the people who stayed in this finca and the people in the other finca, that we would go into quarantine together, monitor our health closely and to test. Besides the fact that having Corona within such a group already felt like a worst case scenario, it would have been much worse if people started having annoying discussions with each other, couldn’t agree on measures and as a result there would be an unpleasant atmosphere. So we were really really happy with how it turned out in the end, as annoying as it was, we happily made the best of it together. And you will read what that looked like and whether the corona virus will also fall to us in our next story.

Lots of love,

Jap and Lon

Retreat Menu of the week

SundayLasagne with Chard and Vegan Alfredo Sauce
MondayVegan Paella
WednesdayChili Sin Carne
Thursday– (no diner service)
FridayPumpkin Soup
SaturdayCurry with Rice

Spendings of the Week

Budget per day €54 and per week €378 and per month €1700

What/WhereCost (€)
Eating out99,50

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