I can just see myself from an angle, others might have seen me from. When the words popped out of my mouth. I had been trying to keep things quiet over this one since I knew this would end in endless questions…

“I am going to live in Ibiza from December onwards.”

It is so funny, it feels even now as if it had happened yesterday. First, the opening: These stares of disbelief. These questioning gazes. Like I had really completely lost it. Then, the main course: the inquisition. I felt like I was either a woman accused of witchcraft and to be burnt at a stake or a heretic. As for dessert, there would still be the worst, those ones who pat you on the back, congratulated you on your decision and then were bitching behind your back. This is so remote in a way, and yet still so near in another.

It is weird. To the day, these are exactly five years I have been living now in Spain, or more specifically, in Ibiza.

When I decided to go all the way, the scenario was really tough. So many questions, so many doubts. It made me doubt too, that much I have to tell you. I was not all too sure I would be a winner. All of a sudden, people thought that at 36 I needed some mollycoddling, or worse: a nanny, someone to watch over me so I would not be a fool in bringing up two innocent children. Obviously, I was not to be trusted. It was ridiculous. My kids were 2 and half and five and a half when I left our home in Cologne. I went away in a dark and cold December night. It was all well planned. I thought I would start to cry cos surely I would miss my husband, but somehow, I knew that this was the beginning of something good. Something that required my highest level of concentration. I was so poised. So keen to experience something else beside bringing the kids to kindergarten and being at a dull office job from 9 to 5, only to be kicked out since I was just not used to some hen fights in the subterranean office hierarchy. I felt such a failure. It was not right. I had had a real career before and now I was being kicked out like I was no good. I wanted to prove myself. I wanted to conquer the world once more. Luckily, Berno knew how much it meant to me that I did not have anything to keep my mind busy. I could not sit around day in day out. I truly felt such an emptiness inside. I had given up writing years before. I seemed to exist as a mother, a bad example of a mother. One that does not rejoice in simply bringing up the kids. One that needed a career. God, I felt so empty inside. A void that nothing, but really nothing could fill. Nothing except for a huge challenge. Time for change. Change of habits, change of lifestyle, change of surroundings. But do you tend to say these things to your friends? no, I guess you don’t.

And in fact, I did not either. I felt out of sorts, out of place. I felt cheated. Someone had pushed me off the big ferris wheel they call job market. I went on about the bad situation for mothers who want to return to a job, the slim market chances of a mother of two in Germany to find a qualified job.

If I am being perfectly honest and true to myself the situation is this: I could have done the same thing that I do now in Spain, much easier in Germany, but honestly: I did not want to stay in Germany. I had grown bored somehow. Boredom is the worst disease of all, You start taking things for granted. So, in the end, I threw all things out the window, and I called it a day. I did not have the guts to go through with it in the old country. I was fed up. Maybe, I needed the kick, the extra challenge. The adrenaline rush. Maybe. But there was also this strong yearning for Ibiza. There was this island, like an energy source that had some incredible magnetism for us.

Berno, my husband, was staying put in Germany cos someone needed to keep working, keep the money coming in, while I would be testing the water and also be trying to find a job which I did, after only two months and being a “single mother” for all the Spaniards knew at first sight. See if living there would prove to be the right decision.

What can I say. It did. It was the right decision.

Despite all the initial problems we encountered, we somehow did it. We are still here. And we don’t want to go away. Despite the bleeding crisis.

I feel that for us as a family but also for us as individuals, Ibiza has given us plenty of good things. So many good things that happened to us. I see this whole journey as a means to finally do the things we wanted to do while not feeling observed all the time.

People thought so many things about all of this. It was kind of amusing. But then again. If people have nothing to bitch about, that’s what makes them angry. So, once I’d find out what they needed, I’d give them just enough to keep their mouths busy, and just enough to keep the wolves at bay.

“How could you do that?”

Ah, how many times have I heard this utterance? Like it was my fault or something.

“But what about your children? What about your home, your flat? But what about your marriage?” These questions were not simple questions. They were dum dum bullets.

Guys, you don’t really listen when I say things, no? I did not say I was leaving my husband, I did not say we split up. I simply said that I am going away for a while and see if it’s a viable option to go and live in Ibiza. And so, of course, I took the kids, since Berno would stay in Germany. How else could we have done it? We did not have any savings so it was the only way to do it.

And yet… Funnily enough, this here happened:

“Ibiza? You mean this party island where all the youngsters go to make a night of it with all the parties and drugs, the free love and the hippies?”

“Ibiza, yes. Well. The drugs and parties is only half of what is true. But yes, Ibiza.”

People would then tend to take a good look at me then. Some of them would even look at my kids like they were sorry for them cos they had such a lunatic mother. Many people were looking at me like I had completely lost my mind. And some of them even spoke out what some of them must have been thinking.

“So, Berno stays here?”

“Yup. Stays here. For the first time. And then, we will see how things go. And we will take things easy. Work it out step by step.”

I really hated those inquisitive looks. These insinuating seemingly harmless questions… They were the worst to my mind.

But fast forward to now… What has happened in between?

Was it worth it?

I would say: Heck yes!!!

I am still here. Actually, I seem to free myself finally of so much mental baggage it is just incredible. Berno is learning Spanish, he is holding down a job. I a, learning Catalan, and I am kind of doing three different jobs and projects whenever possible and so we keep our heads above the water somehow. Of course, in Germany we had much more money. But we were not happy with the life we were living. Yeah, maybe that’s true. The fat years are over, but that’s not just for us, it is basically for everyone. But that’s ok by me. Honest to God, I sometimes wish, we would have more money for travel and that, but other than that… I could not be happier if I tried. We have everything we could want for.

We live in Ibiza.

We are happy, we are sane and we are healthy.

Our marriage is still not down the drain despite the fact that so many people believed this when they saw me driving away in a car with two young kids. Of course, Berno seemed to be the poor husband left behind. Well… If people want to believe shit, they just do that, no matter what. So I don’t care too long about what these people say. I learned that the hard way. Sometimes, it is better not to know about these rumours.

To be honest. Ibiza was probably the best decision I could have come up with in terms of mental freedom, and personal development. Here in Ibiza, I could just do what I always wanted and be what I wanted to be. I kind of made a quantum leap. Ibiza gave me the protective shield and the energy to do that. Everyone here is so flipped out, so creative, the truth is that in Ibiza, anything goes. If you are “normal”, you are boring, so that is Ibiza’s secret how to get you going. It is a haven for people from all walks of life, so many different nationalities, so many artists and also craftsmen.

Ibiza really inspired me to become “me”. I know this sounds weird. But that’s the way it happened. And this is just the beginning of a process. I can feel that I am developing right now. As a person. As an artist. As a writer. For in the past I used to be someone who would be my own worst critic. I was always holding myself back. Always thinking: no, cannot do it. You are not good enough. Always putting my foot on the brake instead of the accelerator. Instead of trial and error, I was hiding beneath the kitchen table. I was so afraid I could fail.

Now, it seems I found the accelerator. And that is not bad at all. I seem to have matured. At last. At long last. Bloody hell. 41 is a quite an age to see yourself become slowlu but surely an adult, to be coming of age. But it is true. That is exactly what these 5 years were good for.

What else is there to tell?

5 years have seen stumble into a deep deep recession. The world is no longer the same after the downfall of Lehman Brothers Bank and the banking crisis in October 2008. Ever since then, they have been trying to get back on track. But it becomes worse and worse. The terrible thing is that the people in Spain don’t have any faith in the future now. The only thing that keeps them going is the independence of Catalunya which is something I could see on the horizon.

—–

The little girl lost finally woke up and rubbed her eyes to see the world in its whole beauty and also with its neverending cascades of possibilities. And I decided. I no longer procrastinate.

Ok, I gotta explain this. Procrastinate. That was a term we used a lot at uni when we were discussing Hamlet and the way he tarries. He is consuming time. He is biding his time. When he stops procrastinating, the drama is put into action. The real action begins here.

So, back to the topic. Ibiza and 5 years of my life. What does it feel like?

It is a good feel. I guess I belong here. I can relate to the people here on the island. Some of them are so incredible and so friendly it is hard to believe. You need to wait a while until they learn to trust you, but once they trust you, that is a moment like an epiphany. It is like belonging to their big clan. It really feels like home. Island people always seem to be like that. Caring and somehow a bit like the godfather thrown in. 😉

Anyway, we are happy here. And our kids could not be happier for all we know.

Even if we are no longer rich and well off… If we just scrape by. I kind of enjoy it.

Before, I admittedly, panicked here and there. And then I kind of started to think. What is the worst that could possibly happen? You run out of money, and you go back. That’s all. Maybe with the tail between your legs, but hey, at least you tried.

And guess what, that kind of triggered an enormous will to survive and to make us somewhat more resilient, so we do not ever take things for granted anymore. And that is something we should have learnt a bit earlier in our lives.

But maybe, we were all just spoiled brats back then. When I look upon my old life, I seriously, I really don’t want it back. And I don’t even want to have the carelessness with money. I hate that today. So many people are out of a job and they are struggling just like us. But hey, somehow, you always make it till the end of the month.

—-

I think I might be baking a cake with the kids. One that has a big fat 5 on it. And they will know why.

PS: One thing I feel kind of bad about is that we – even though we are all Europeans – cannot vote in this country not even on a communal basis. The only thing we are allowed to vote is within Sant Joan (one of the five districts of the tiny isle of Ibiza… I personally find this insulting and humiliating). I would love to be able to do just that. To vote. I always voted.
Right now, it is a hell of an important time. It is a historic moment. Catalunya could really break away from Spain. What would happen with the Balearic Isles then? I wonder. But that is a question I will answer in some other blogpost.

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