July 10: Serendipitous Surfer Girls

I woke up on July 10th and slowly made my way up to the kitchen in the hostel. For a short while, I was the only person in the space and gazed out the small window to the rooftops of tiny seaside town of Carrapateria.

As I sipped my coffee, I noticed a woman with her dog, enjoying a cup of her own in the small garden below me. We noticed each other, smiled, and raised our coffee cups to cheers from afar.

I drove to the beach and enjoyed exploring the surf and my shadow in the sand.

As I was making my way back, I ran into Maristela, the girl who worked at the hostel.

We hung out together for a while and talked. She told me her friend Tamara was coming into town tonight and we should all do dinner at the pizzeria. (That is one of the only restaurants in town.)

The waves were in wild and wicked form that day. I'm a brave person but I was glad that we weren't surfing out there. 

Then Maristela said, "two people drowned here last year." 

I held a moment for those two young men as I watched the waves twist and turn in the wild. 

Just a reminder to all those thrill seekers, including myself, know your limits. 

After sunning for a while we drove to the top of the cliffs over to Bordeira, the next town and beach and headed back to the hostel.

We promised each other that we would surf in the morning.

I worked on my blog for a while and then later that night as Maristela and I were waiting for Tamara, I heard another girl talking on her phone. Since my dorm was on the street level, I could hear everything.

She sounded American and I learned via her conversation that she was a teacher in Thailand….andddd that her friend just moved to DC….andddd that she went to UW…. wait a second….what?!

I couldn’t help myself so, I popped my head out the door and interrupted her phone conversation.

“Did you just say UW?”

At first she looked at me strangely but then we started talking.

“I went to UW! What year did you graduate?”

“No way!” She replied. “2008.”

We had just missed each other since I graduated in 2012.

Her name was Caitlin and we agreed to talk more later when I got back from dinner and she was finished talking to her friend.

Maristela and I went to the restaurant in the square and finally Tamara arrived along with a man who picked her up from the station. The four of us ate amazing pizza and talked for hours.

Tamara, like Maristela, was also from Brazil and was a true adventurer. She speaks multiple languages, lived in Paris for years, along with other places, and has walked the Camino 5 times.

My mouth dropped. 5 times?! Why?!

She explained that she loved meeting people and the experiences they shared but the main thing she said that stuck with me was…

“I love who I am when I’m on the Camino.”

I knew exactly what she meant.

I saw Caitlin when we were back at the hostel and I invited her to come surfing with us in the morning. Then she invited me to a hike afterwards.

Nature plan made.

I couldn’t wait and I couldn’t believe that I had stumbled upon another Seattle girl and a UW alum in a small hostel, in an obscure town in Portugal.

Cheers to serendipitous surfer girls!