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The Camino Adventure: Day Ten

Wednesday October 2nd 2019: Amenal To Santiago

A Ring Of Friendships

As the day started and I was feeling the slight weight of sadness. I had gone this great distance and had such a profound experience I didn't want it to end. I spent my time allowing myself opportunities to particularly to be alone. Reflecting on the amazing journey and on a dream I had the night before. In the dream I saw my ex wife as the day I met her: young and happy. She was sitting outside at a table smiling and enjoying a meal. She looked at me still smiling then she looked away and disappeared. Soon after she had disappeared the ground and the sky canopied into a living room at a large hotel room near the ocean. I was in my pajamas as running past me were three adorable children calling me daddy. I turned my head as my new wife kisses me on the lips as I'm playing with our children. I feel at peace and at home even though I know I'm on vacation. The day winds down as my wife and I watch the sunset and our three children have fallen asleep next us. We kiss and sigh in contentment. As I close my eyes I wake up. What did this dream mean? I felt a void through out the day. 

As I traveled my foot started to cramp up. So at multiple intervals I took breaks to stretch my foot and work out the muscles. I spot a cafe next to a church and decide to grab lunch. The barista is having what looks like a shouting match in Spanish with a coworker and is in no way interested in customers. I step out side the cafe only to see Patty from our group at a cafe on the other side of the road. My sister was also inside this cafe and we made a Starbucks joke about there being a cafe on every corner now. Wanting to spend some time alone, though I also missed my new friends I walked back to the road. And I hear three adorable tiny voices saying my name "Jesse!!!" And it's the three Chinese girls I befriended the previous day.

They said they were in the middle of trying to contact we to see if I wanted lunch. So the four of us sat down and enjoyed a meal at the grumpy barista's cafe, as it had more seating and the barista seemed to have settled down. Afterwards the four of us decided to walk the remaining way into Santiago.

My China Girls as I started to referred them: I learned so many fun and interesting facts about Chinese culture. Such as their culture is so food obsessed the traditional way to say hello is "Hello, have you eaten?" and the traditional way to say goodbye is "Goodbye, let's have dinner?" I also learned you never gift a clock to a Chinese person as it's the equivalent of saying "times up!" The ladies had such an incredible experience and I felt lucky they chose me as their roadside companion. I learned they all had three special names they go by. Gabriel goes by Gaby while her Chinese name means wisdom. Gaby was the most warm as she was collecting friends like myself on the road. YY's name means "Beautiful Song In the Morning" and she had the most lovely smile. She was also the more athletic one of the bunch. Then their was Yue, who's name means Moon though she oftentimes go by Lucky. She was the most petite of the three and the first of them that I befriended. They taught me about the significance of Chinese holidays and how to do standing meditation. 

When the four of us arrived into Santiago we took our time soaking in the beautiful and ancient city. There was something so energizing about this place. It felt like a birthday place of a supernatural experience, and for many that's true. As I parted ways with my China Girls I felt again the hang of sadness. The Camino had given me something I was so desperately in need of: friendships and community. That was the power of The Camino. I meditated on this insight while I looked to make peace with my wedding ring. I sat behind the cathedral at a cafe looking at the church as I started to tear up. As I could feel a large tear buckling in the corner of my eye a waiter at the cafe asked to take my order. I ordered a coffee and sat in silence. I wished I hadn't of had to make this journey to let go. I wish I hadn't of had to have experienced all this pain to necessitate so much healing. But here I was letting go of Katie. I placed my ring down next to my empty cup and sulked for a few minutes right as I was interrupted by a friendly German lady named Stephie. She sat down and made me laugh for a good thirty minutes. It was really nice. It was as if I had done my journey and God said "you're done Jesse, it's time for a new season and this new season begins with laughter". So I set on my journey to lay my wedding ring at the feet of Saint James’ statue in tears but instead I left my wedding ring next to an empty coffee cup in laughter.