Many of you will already know a good deal about this lovely young lady if you followed my Camino adventures in 2013. We met in an albergue in France on our first night and we instantly felt a bond. We spent several days walking together and shared our most intimate thoughts and stories. There was no danger of judgement when talking with each other, and this was something we both needed. We found it especially easy to talk about the trials, tribulations, and serious fucking frustrations that comprise the mother daughter relationship, as well as, the fleeting moments of the most purely perfect joy.
Most of all, we laughed. We laughed often, but every single day, at least once, we were literally buckled over and fell to the ground unable to carry on a single step further. I lost count of how many times I laughed until I cried, or peed myself. Laughing was something I had forgotten. Honestly it’s not something I ever took the time to think about, but I’ve had a fairly serious disposition from birth. My childhood was one fraught with worry, rather than filled with laughter, and I guess it just stuck. I could tell Jenny was exactly the same in this manner. When rushed into maturity by situations of life, there’s no time for laughter. But here we were making up for years of it in our few days together.
Jenny has the biggest scarred heart of anyone I know. Where most of us close off and put up walls after having our heart gashed open, she opens her freshly wounded self to the world wider yet. She has been one of life’s bright teachers for me in many ways, but especially in this one.
Ultimately, Jenny became my closest friend on the Camino and has remained as pure delight in my life since. We have each traversed the world to visit the other since our initial trekking antics, and have made exciting plans to complete the European Peace Walk together this summer.
Jenny was gracious enough to let me ask her some questions and her answers are below.
| In what part of the world and during which era did you grow up?
“During my childhood my family and I moved several times in and out of cities near Frankfurt/Main Germany. I was born in the mid 80’s and have a lot of childhood memories. I love to remember the days when my grandparents, my brother and I spent time in their garden. I loved to ride my bicycle, to snack on raspberries and currants, and to harvest fire beans. One of my favorite things was to tell my grandma how old each of the ladybugs I found were by counting the dots on their wings. Surprisingly all of them were two, five or seven years old.” 😉
Who do you feel most shaped who you are as a person, and how?
“My grandparents had the biggest influence on how I think and behave towards other people. My older brother and I lived at their apartment for a while and they taught me to treat others like I wanted to be treated. I still live with this in my mind, and it’s one of the things I teach the children I work with, too.”
What nourishes your soul on a daily basis?
“There are the little things of everyday life, that make me happy: the air of spring, flowers on my dining table, a hug, a nice postcard, the first regional strawberries of the year…I try to appreciate and enjoy those things mindfully and be grateful for what I have.”
Can you describe your favorite way to recover and rejuvenate after an especially hard week?
“It really depends on my mood. Sometimes I just want to sit on my couch and watch TV, sometimes I need to talk to a friend or do some yoga to end the day on a good note, and some days I just want to have a glass (or two) of wine.” 😉
What was the one single moment in which you felt the most loved?
“It was the day when I came back to my workplace after walking Camino de Santiago. I work at a daycare center with children one to six years in age. When I left, I was struggling with everything in my life and came back with the decision to quit my job and move to another city. This was in an attempt to make a big change and leave everything behind that didn’t make me happy. But, upon my arrival, I had such a warm reception that I cried. The children jumped up and down when they first saw me through the window, then they ran to the front door and screamed my name. I was hugged by at least 15 children at once, my colleagues told me that they were happy to have me back again and the parents said that they were very proud of me for completing the journey. I felt so much love and so welcomed that I decided to stay and I haven’t ever regretted it.”
Can you tell us the story of the best meal you’ve ever had?
“My journal says it was on the 10th of May 2013. It was raining cats & dogs when Bethany & I finally arrived at Villamayor de Monjardin wearing our ugly rain ponchos. 🙂 The hostel was run by a couple from the Netherlands who promised us a nice breakfast for the next morning: “Not a Spanish breakfast. A DUTCH breakfast!” It was the best breakfast after going for such a long time without. We had a feast of whole-grain bread, cheese, salami, jam, greek yogurt, cereal & orange juice.”
What was one time in your life when you were really brave, and really proud of yourself as a result of that?”
“I’m really proud of having done Camino de Santiago. It was the first time I travelled on my own, and it was such a big accomplishment for me.”
What do you see as your greatest achievement in life so far?
“I’ve learned a lot about myself during the past few years and I’m coming closer and closer to becoming the person I want to be, and to being able to love myself for exactly how and who I am.”
What has been the greatest adventure of your life so far?
“Walking Camino de Santiago was my greatest adventure so far and one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. It was a time full of new experiences, leaving things behind and opening my heart and my mind for something new. Last but not least: I’ve met you there and I’m very grateful for knowing you as my friend since that time.” 🙂
What are you looking forward to most in life?
“Getting more and more relaxed about upcoming things.”
What adventure are you looking forward to in the future?
“I’m really looking forward to the European Peace Walk this summer. I will finally see you, my lovely Camino friend, again.” 🙂