My Camino friend Monika finishes her Camino tomorrow and goes back to her work as a surgical nurse in the Cardiac unit at the University hospital in Vienna.
We met back at Orisson on June 5th, so I have known her two weeks. We’ve traveled together for the last week, walking for hours and sharing cheap hotel rooms and claiming neighboring bunks in albergues. I feel like I’ve known her for years.
That’s the way the Camino works. Like college or meeting fellow new parents, you bond with people quickly over a common challenging experience.
We’ve met the Camino in all its richness –cranking up hills, going down muddy ravines, searching for a yellow arrow when the path was unclear. And we’ve shared cafe con leches at all the village bars, explored every village church, and then headed back on the Camino, one step in front of the other. Along the Way, we’ve shared our life stories, bit by bit. We have had so much fun, being silly. I’ve laughed till my stomach hurt.
Monika has done the Camino before, and so, is knowledgable about the route ahead. But she is open to new adventures everyday.
She is a Wise Woman. She always says, “It will be ok,” and “we will see what happens.” Walking through the fields and forests of Spain she’s given me lessons in botany and bird watching. I love the way she draws diagrams in the dirt of the Camino with the point of her trekking pole to make a translation clearer.
Being a nurse, she’s very practical and decisive. Our differences in culture and language make it easier to say, “I’m doing this tonight,” and we do our own thing for the evening.
This morning we both had good news from home, and we celebrated together with a leisurely rainy day lunch.
Our lives at home are very different, but we are friends on the Camino, and, I hope, just plain friends.