Tag Archive: Ibiza


Ok, let’s cut the chase. I get to the point right now. Medias in res.

In Spain, we have two major problems.

The two biggest internal affairs right now are as follows:

1.) There is the ongoing fight in the Spanish parliament about whether or not Catalonia should have a referendum for the possible Independence of Catalonia. This is one major concern right now. You cannot open the web, without being aware of tons of articles, or not, but as a foreigner you tend to get lost easily. So what’s up with that?

There are two sides, as always. The one side wants the referendum. The other one does not. The reason for why Catalonia should have their referendum is pretty clear. Two weeks after the 11th of September, which was the celebration for Independence Day, broadcasted around the globe a couple of hundreds of millions times with the historically long “Via Catalana” a human chain by hundreds of thousands of people, and above all, peaceful, without any type of violence. The other side, however, says no… Ok, so let’s ask why…

I could speculate and speculate but the main reason is and always has been the money… Barcelona and the Catalonian region have a functioning economy, much to the chagrin of the NO sayers in Madrid. USA Today even called Catalonia the milk cow that’s being milked every so often when the funds in Madrid are empty. The cow seems to be tired of being milked so often. Ok. This in itself may explain for the obvious NO from Madrid as they do need the money. But let’s go one step further, let’s ask an underlying question. Why is there so much hatred that goes with the whole question…? There is such an underlying hate element in the Spanish society that sometimes even frightens me.

Best example was this poor Valencian guy who was imprisoned for talking to the police (in a normal traffic control) in Catalan, one of two official languages of the Catalonian region. The thing is: He was neither drunk nor drugged. And yet, he was taken away, he was arrested and put before a judge: For speaking his mother tongue. No, we haven’t taken a time machine. This is not 1939. This is 2013. This has some strange taste to it. There are a lot of historic “ghosts”, evanescent moments of hatred and repression that still work the same way as 75 years ago. All this is embedded on a very emotional level. Luckily, the poor chap, got some media coverage and via change.org and with the help of the social networks, the man was freed and his prison sentence of six months for speaking to the police in Valencian was revoked. But does it need to get that far??? I mean, come on, really. The whole incident seemed so warped that I had to include it even though it seems like a slight affair.

We are faced with the dark side of history. Spain had a dictatorship up until 1975 and the violation of civil rights, the pain and suffering, the cruelties, the passion, the fear and the repression so many people had to deal with, it is still alive. It is still inside most families. Some of them remember who someone close to them was charged politically, was taken away, and imprisoned or even executed. Spain is a free country. It is democratic. Is it?

Yes. On the whole it is. Spain is even liberal when you think of places like Marbella or Ibiza… But then again, is this actually the real Spain, or is it just what people think Spain is??? So what do I know??? You might argue, but you are not even Spanish, or have a Catalonian husband or whatever, but I see what I see. And each day, I get a better impression about what happens. Ever since I started to learn Catalan and finally prick up my ears.

The thing is there will not be any kind of mutual understanding and a non-hatred fuelled relationship between Spain and Catalonia, unless Spain simply lets go and leaves Catalonians be who they are, and let them go their chosen way. It might not be what Madrid, what the Spanish royal family, or what Rajoy would want for Spain, but still, they have a right to decide. We live in a democratic state (at least that’s what they say), so let them have it their way. Let them please vote.

We in Europe have so many states with two, with three or even with four languages. Think Belgium, Switzerland, parts of Germany, think Sicily, think Crete, think Malta. The more attractive a region is, less chances you have of there being only spoken one language. Chances are that a couple of nations already tried to invade it, and chances are that this happened. I am sorry if this is a bit juvenile but I always think of Asterix and Obelix when I think about invasion.

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You might think that the people in Madrid may be the Romans trying to force the Catalans to give up their language and cultural identity. But Madrid and a couple of politic agitators just see it just the opposite way. They see the Catalans as the agitators, or the traitors of the Spanish crown. There are some ultra-right wing people who deliberately disturbed the celebration of the “Onze de setembre” (September 11th), the Catalonian Independence Day. Funnily enough, justice was very lenient here, and they got away with a ridiculously low amount of 300€ while they smashed up things, menaced people, were hooded, entered a government building and were clearly not there in a pacific mission.

 

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Justice is a funny thing. This is something that startles me. How on earth can they get away with that? And how can the politicians in Madrid believe that their behavior was tolerable when they behave like that, that one might call a screaming injustice. Justice must have had a pretty bad day to sentence one man to 6 months of prison for speaking his mother tongue, and for fining another for an act of sheer and utter violence & some slight terroristic tendencies with a slight slap on the wrist.

Ok, I now. I am guiri. I should shut up. What do I know anyway?

Being a foreigner in Spain, not knowing any Catalan, and just about able to speak a few sentences in Spanish, I came here to the island of Ibiza in 2007, in December. I was not aware of all these underlying conflicts when I first came here. I tried to find my way around this place. I was busy getting my kids into kindergarten and into school. I had to work. And I had to take care of the kids on my own, as my husband was still 1 and a half years in Germany while I already lived here. I was quite alone, kept to myself, but in a still quite male dominated society I was treated like a “soltera” and somehow, people suspected I was. I did not know what to think about it but I was too busy to care.

So many of my friends in Germany shook their heads in despair when they heard where I was going and they asked me “Why on earth are you going there?” (rough translation: this pool of sinners, of depravity, hedonism and sex, drugs and rock’n’roll). I just laughed it off. And hey, now, almost six years later, I still live here. I feel integrated. My husband came down to Spain one and half years later than us because it was more difficult than we thought. Exit personal history.

But one thing really still startles me, especially now that I understand Catalan and speak it fairly well. Why on earth, do my friends who dared me, who induced me, who told me to learn Catalan… Why do they now back down when we are talking about the Catalan Way, the question of Independence??? Why are they the ones I never see when there is some event for the Independence? Why don’t they react when I post something on facebook??? Even though in private, they are fervent defenders of their home, their island, the right to speak their language and their right to vote. What’s up with that?

On the 8th of September, Ibiza also had a small human chain. The press said that there were 300 people. I can safely say that there were little more than 160 people, maybe 200 in the end. So: What’s up with that?

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However, now we come to the second problem, or to the second internal affair, that Spain has to deal with.

2.) The plan and its implementation of the TIL – integrative trilingual language system. This is a brain child of Jose Ramon Bauzà who somehow now seems like a Little Napoleon as he tries to push forward with this seemingly progressive system. So what does the TIL include: Basically it means a reduction of the Catalan and a high increase of the English language, that instead of 50% Catalan and 50% Spanish, the children get their classes in 30% in Catalan, 30% in Spanish and 30% in English.

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Don’t get me wrong. I love English. And for me, it would probably be a piece of cake, but then again… Think about how well or in some cases how not so well the outcome might be. Do they have decent teachers, do they have decent funds to invest in this Project. No. E.g, the school of Sant Miquel (a small village in the north of Ibiza) had placed up a huge bed-throw at the Wall of their school advertising tyhat the Balearic government still owed them a sum of 19,000€. And that is only one school. How so? How are they going to pay for the extra teachers… ??? How are they going to pay for the extra tuition??? For the extra books??? Hahahaha… Ladies and gentlemen. This will be solved Ibiza style, or Mallorca style. That is so easy, if your name is Jose Ramon Bauzà. Basically the answer is you are not getting any of this. Yes, You heard me.

No extra teachers.

No tuition paid.

No funds for books.

No funds for even paying old debts that concerned parents, the school itself or the state.

How on earth can this be a good basis for such a Project that – if it were well planned and well put into practice – not such an idiot thing. However, we are faced with empty wallets, resigned teachers, teachers who fear being menaced by disciplinary punishments and so on. The spirit of the generalissimo is still very much present. That present that the press today showed that Madrid does not want to change the name of Franco because of linguistic reasons. It is scary to see the adoration of a dictator who would have thrived in the amount of fear and repression that is subconsciously planted in the souls of so many, many Spaniards, as well as Catalonians.

And even if the TIL had come out as a proper plan, it would still be an attack against the Catalan language.

Let’s talk about how well are the Balearic Government free to decide what they are doing. There are many, many jokes in the net and one can see on television who is in charge. It is clearly Bauzà himself. Getting rid of a third of his parliament and claiming it was to show respect and the need to cut costs, was a nice excuse to get rid of his opposing forces within his own party. Bauzà has a nice little streak of a mini dictator in him. He may look like an ageing model or a car salesperson but in fact he is very strategic in what he does. Plus he thrives in the power he was given.

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Back to topic. No… I don’t know either. It is scary and it is such a preposterous idea. I am a strong activist for any type of increment of language and literature in school. But the way this is done is just… so, so, excuse me, it is so wrong… We have heard about the proposed system change right before the summer break and even then teachers were saying no. Little did we know back then. Now it is the second week of school and the teachers are still on strike, twitter is full of hashtags that show the support they are getting from so many different places, from so many different people.

So, I hope you know now about what’s going on in Spain and more specifically on the Balearics.

Why did I mix these topics together and added some streaks of personal history to it, even though they only on the surface have something to do with each other?

I would think that there is a deep underlying structure. If Wert called for the fact “españolizar” hispanize the children of Catalonia, then this is actually quite fascistic if not downright fascist.

If speaking Valencian is a crime, and smashing up a government building and disturbing an official act (given you’re rightwing!!!) is a small thing easily forgiven and does fall under the jurisdiction.

If a TV show (on IB3, the local TV station of the Balearics, government funded… ) about the TIL only shows:

– a group of six, all men (not one woman!)

– the majority were lawyers and not education experts

– one teacher, whose forte certainly was not to speak in public

– and without a decent distribution of the time allowed for each side (the defenders of TIL had 7 minutes, the ones against it 2 minutes!!!)

There is slight feeling, that this whole program could have been government sponsored and PP-program aligned. It is just so wrong the way they do a supposedly political program on TV. It was just so previsible.

Personally, I could not believe that there was not one person who was rhetorically able to speak up and up for the challenge.

Conclusion:

In effect, I wrote this blog post here, mainly because I was getting tired of being asked all over the same questions.

What is the TIL?

Why are you so in favor of the Catalonian Independence?

Why are you so Pro-Catalan?

Why are you against the TIL?

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Mainly, I hope to have clarified this issue with the above text. I am a language lover, I do not think that TIL is actually oriented in real life and will promote “fracaso escolar” more than anything else.

My obvious tendency towards the Catalonian Independence derives from the fact that I among other subjects (I majored in languages), I studied history and I think that the free state of the Catalonian people is necessary. Historically it can easily be derived that Catalonia is a state. I could go deeper into history but this would go to far. Also from the point of view that being a repressed nation, the Catalonians deserve to decide for themselves. Psychologically it can be argued as well, when the amount of suffering has been big enough for them that their will for independence outweighs the fear of being defeated. The Catalonians need to try it, I feel also Catalonian, I am one of them, and I wish them, I wish us the best of luck, and I think that Spain would be wise to let them go. Unless they want to have a century long hate relationship with even worse cases of linguistic recriminations and also crimes in the name of the Spanish state which presides everything.

First of all, I know, Catalonia is different, but Ibiza is also different. We work so much with tourism on a daily basis that the idea of reinforcing English in the school system is not the worst idea, but again… The way this is done, is what makes it turn out to be a total disaster or a plan that should be planned and scheduled properly in order to be successful. Please do not implement TIL. It is not worth the trouble it will surely cause. And try to prevent it for the sake of your children!

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So, where do I tie the knot?

Language and culture is like two peas in a pod. They belong together. If you take away the language from a person, in the sense that you make it a crime to speak that language, you steal part of his culture and basically you victimize him.

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Invaders have often done this. The Romans did this. The Greeks did this. The Spaniards did this. No big deal. But this here is the 21st century. I wish for mankind to be as far evolved that they see that you cannot suppress culture and language for a long time. It will stir things up. It will make people rebel.

Those in charge in Madrid, and also our little Napoleon of the Balears, Ramon Bauzà, would be well advised if he saw that denying people to speak their own mother tongue is a crime. It is a direct reference to the military dictatorship of Franco. And to be honest, this in itself gives me the creeps.

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What gives me the creeps even more is that there was a report that they want to reprimand people who speak on facebook, twitter or any online media about things that could cause a public disorder. This is also a step away from a democratic system. Be warned. And be alert that Spain and also the Balearics do not move back in time. This would be fatal.

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I seriously apologize that I could not post the homage to T.S. Eliot whose birthday it is today. But I will take the opportunity to thank you.

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Rhyan Paul – interview from May 1st / plus repeat interview May 17th

Question 1 : When did you come to to this isle and why? Was there any kind of trigger / key story?

I came to Ibiza after moving back from Miami… A friend of mine was already living there and it felt like a good place to visit and I immediately fell in love with the place. It was 2002. And that was it. I was hooked.

Rhyan Paul in the magic realm of Es Vedra

Rhyan Paul in the magic realm of Es Vedra

 

 
Question 2 : Please recall your personal Ibiza story and describe, what to you is the magic of this isle? What is your life like here?

I guess my Ibiza story is one of luck. I moved back from Miami. I decided that I wanted to live in Ibiza obviously. And it was kind of hooked up for me thru Gerry Kelly who used to run Pacha back in the day… he linked me with Brasilio from la Troya. And Brazilio linked me with the guys that were doing Amanda at Amnesia and they linked me linked me Armin Van Buuren… I ended up getting the job of promotions director for Armada night at amnesia. So – Pretty lucky, really. I guess to me the magic… of the island is just the island itself. It’s so diverse. You got everything, the spirituality, Es Vedra, and Atlantis, all the way thru hedonistic clubs, the slums of San Antonio, through to the beauty of the San Mateo valley it just goes on… it is all just a beautiful really.

 

Question 3: Is it just you or are you a couple / family?

Well it is my family – Me and my wife, Melissa. I spend more time here than Mel. She is the marketing director for Box TV… So she is in the UK, in London. But my Ibiza family is here. Family does not have to be blood relatives. And my family is Ibiza.

Question 4: Who or what did lure you to live in Ibiza?

I’ve already answered this one really. The lure for me just was the beautiful island: The people, the music, the lifestyle. And obviously the fact that, well, there was a job offered!

Question 5: Despite which “urban legends” / misconceptions did you come to Ibiza? When did you find that they were misconceptions?

Misconceptions. I guess, the main one is the one that everybody thinks that Ibiza is one big, fat, hedonistic, drug filled, filthy, chav ridden hellhole. You know… And it is not. There is just San Antonio, and a couple of clubs down in San Rafael and Playa den Bossa. The rest is beautiful untouched, just stunning scenery. And beautiful Ibicencans. That was the misconception that I was most happy not to be true. Without a doubt, I remember. Actually, when you visit… the island is completely different to when you live there. I remember driving down through France and I got completely fucking lost and somehow I ended up in Germany. Strange. I tried speaking Spanish to Germans and was not getting very far.
Eventually I made it to Denia and got the ferry, and you know, just getting off the ferry, at Ibiza port. Straight into Ibiza town and being in IBIZA! So the farmhouse we were renting, was somewhere near in San Rafael. So I headed for San Rafael. Down the road, down a camino, down the track, wow, we were in the middle of fucking nowhere. And I thought well: This is heaven. That is the misconception, that Ibiza is a drugs filled hellhole… And it is really not.

Question 6 : What was probably the most beautiful experience you ever had on this isle?

The most beautiful experience I’ve had in Ibiza? There have been a lot. There are the stereotypical beautiful experiences. The cheesy ones… sunrise & sunsets at Es Vedra… Sunset at Benirras with the drumming. But there have been other… beautiful experiences… Just finding hidden nuggets of the island…there is a particular little cove in San Mateu, where you walk through a forest and down to an ocean cove, that is pretty stunning … everyday something beautiful and equally something shitty happens as well. . Meeting people, meeting Ibicencans. When you try and speak a little bit of Spanish and they kind of try back. They kind of embrace you for not being a typical chavvy tourist when they realize you are a resident who cares for the Island.

Question 7: What was probably the most horrible experience you ever had on this isle?

Most horrible experience? Gotta be, without a doubt, (hesitating) Having to live in San Antonio for two months, in the height of season… because my contract on the house I was renting in ran out. And I lived in the Tanit building, facing into the Westend. It was just fucking vile. That is the only words I can use to describe it. Just, seriously. Actually, it makes me feel ashamed to be British anyway. I fucking hate Brits abroad! Guys, you… know, you are not doing yourselves any favours… Girls, seriously, you do need to wear shorts or a dress after dark, really, a tiny swimsuit at night with that ass? Guys – I know you’ve been to the gym, I know you look great, but you know what, need to work your legs as well as your upper body. It’s just wrong. Personally, I’ve got nothing against San An. And actually there are some great places in San an. Casa Thai for instance, The marina, there are some beautiful bars, you’ve got Sunsea bar, back in the day you had Kanya, you’ve got Café del mar, you’ve got Mambo’s, it’s just the people that seem to want to go there. So, that is repeatedly the most horrible experience…

Question 8 : On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 – horrible, 10 – super) how would you rate your stay in Ibiza?

On a scale from 1-10 how to rate my stay in Ibiza? It’s off the fucking scale, dude…. It’s out in the stratosphere.

Question 9: Something has changed throughout the past 40 years. Who in your mind is destroying the isle?

Destroying the island? Damn, it’s a bit a political one really. It’s a double-edged sword. It really is a tricky one. You know what they are doing to Playa den Bossa? The super complex, the golf course, Ushuaia towers, and Ushuaia everything else, and then what they are going to do the same in San An, you know the bit of wasteland, where 1-2-3 (interviewer: the music festival 1-2-3 in 2012 where Lenny Kravitz played in Ibiza) was so that will be Ushuaia San Antonio and all the new roads, it’s making this island this commercial fucking hellhole. (Raising his voice)
But the flipside is that it’s bringing money to the island and you gotta be progressive, and Ushuaia is an amazing club experience. And Playa den Bossa needs regeneration. So – It’s tricky. I guess The purist in me and the purist in many people would like to see a place of beautiful innocence, you Pacha, Amnesia, and Ku, which is now Privilege, and everything open air still, you know, just peace love and unity. Amazing sex, amazing people. And amazing drugs. Superstars everywhere. And that’s great, that’s fine… But Unfortunately, things change. It’s up to decide to the guy on the street to decide whether it’s for the better or worse. Personally, I think the new roads are a god send. Saves me load in suspension repairs. So… yeah… Bit on the fence with this one.

Question 10: Who / what movement / what remedy do you think can save the isle?

What remedy could we use to save the island? We gotta be more eco, man. Everybody has to. Not just Ibiza, the world over. We are raping and fucking this world in the ass, you know and on the daily basis. We can’t seem to see it. We need to be more green, man, have more sustainability. We need to be environmentally aware and not just friendly. But: Aware of what we are doing. We need to stop thinking, to bringing cars to Ibiza … and fucking up the eco system and the ocean. We can’t be doing this. Everybody has got to do something. But the problem is. The smallest thing – if everyone did it – would make the biggest difference. For example – If we all turned off the light for one hour a day, massive fucking difference to the world. But no one is gonna do it. You know, I am not gonna do it. Because the guy next door is not. And: Thus it goes on. Everybody please just do a little bit. You know what?
Grow some veg. And I don’t want hear all this bullshit. …Oh, I live in a high rise. Get a window box. Grow some training tomatoes, grow some cucumbers, grow some strawberries. If everybody grew just a little bit of everything, then the impact of the amount of suffering that has been brought to the island would be lessened.
Eat less meat, we don’t need all the meat. Eat less sugar, eat less sweets. Just I don’t know. I guess. Take a little back the way we used to live 40 or 50 years ago.
Just think people. It’s not gonna be here forever. It’s all very well and good, now, you’re saying that, it’s someone else s problem.
You won’t be saying that when you are trying to put out the flames out on your kids back because the ozone’s layer is gone.
Question 11: Why does Ibiza still enchant / hypnotize / draw so many people from so many countries after all this time?

Why does Ibiza still hypnotize so many people? (Speaking in a funny voice) That’s because I am a fucking hypnotist baby! (Stop funny voice) But apart from that: because of its uniqueness. Because it is a uniquely beautiful place. It’s got something for everybody. I am not a spiritual person… at all, but you know what, you land on the island and there is just this sense of calm that washes over you. I drive in from the airport. Driving up towards to San Josep. Once you get to the country, it’s calm… You know: It’s kind of like: A sense of Ibiza that washes over you. It enchants so many people because for such a long time it’s been this magical island. That people are in debt to. When I was living in Miami, we did a night called Naive. South Beach Ibiza Style. And it rocked! We was bringing the flavour of Ibiza to America. There were not real flights to Ibiza at the time, at least not affordable ones. It is a magical and enchanted island. And as long as we can keep the status quo, of super clubs, super nights, and idyllic beauty, then it will keep its allure.

Naive - Miami South Beach clubbing Ibiza Style

Naive – Miami South Beach clubbing Ibiza Style

Question 12: What is the worst misconception about Ibiza in existence?

What is the worst misconception? – That Ibiza is called the White isle, because the amount of cocaine here. It is actually called the White isle because of the amount of salt… which if you do buy drugs in one of the clubs, is what you are probably buying. €50 for a gram of salt!

Question 13: If you were the mayor of Ibiza for one month, what changes would you immediately order? Tell us at least 3 things you would really like to change.

If I was the mayor of Ibiza for a month, wow, how amazing would that be? I would hang on, first of all, I would ring fence San Antonio, no, I wouldn’t. Well, maybe I would. What would I do? Going back to sustainability… I would enforce that people had to grow their own stuff… That people would have to look around them, and try to make a change on the island. Make a difference on the island. You don’t need to use your car all the time. You don’t need to take your car from shop to shop… You don’t need a car. Walk, use public transport, get a bike. I think, I would not enforce it… (except for bringing fences to San Antonio) because that’s fascist. But, um, I would just push awareness. There is an old saying in the UK – You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. That’s pretty much the same everywhere all over. You can’t make people do things unless you are using the veiled threats. Well: Just awareness. Well, if they do not comply… Just fucking shoot them. No, no, that’s all cool. Tickle them until they pee themselves instead!

 

Question 14: If one of your close friends were to migrate to Ibiza would you encourage them or try to change their mind?

Just ask them… why did you leave us alone…? Plain and simple.

 

Rhyan Paul back in the day with his mates

Rhyan Paul back in the day with his mates

Question 15: Which months are your favorite ones? And why.

Which are my favourite months? I guess when you live here your fave months have to be, October, November, December, January, February, March, April. Simply because That’s when residents get the island back. That’s when the island is returned to the residents and the Ibicencans. It’s more beautiful, it’s quiet. That’s when you find the bars that you did not know existed, little local hang outs. You can go to Can Tixedo and you don’t hear a single English voice. Pacha is cool, because it’s not full of sweaty men and nasty ladies…It’s just a beautiful time.
Whereas when you are a tourist, the best months are June, July, August and September…
And summer is cool as well. I enjoy it all year round. But As I’ve gotten older, I think it’s out of season. More personal and it’s just more beautiful.

Rhyan Paul in Pacha partying hard...

Rhyan Paul in Pacha partying hard…

 

Question 16: Do you speak Catalan?

Do I speak Catalan? I don’t even speak fucking English properly… I’m learning Spanish. I’ve been learning Spanish… (Since I’ve lived in America. It’s a bit embarrassing) I’ve been learning Spanish for 15 years. I can definitely order a café. With or without sugar. (Laughing)
More seriously: No, I don’t speak Catalan… And I am pretty embarrassed about it. I am pretty shit at learning languages.
Once the Spanish cracked, then I am definitely gonna learn Catalan.

Question 17: Which public personality / VIP did you see / meet / speak to so far and what do you think about it – impressed or annoyed or … ?

Work in Music industry as an artist manager, I’ve met a few VIP’s (I use the term loosely) and personalities I think one if the nicest, was Armin van Buuren. The guy is so nice, so friendly, so cool. His wife was just so lovely to be around. Nice and wholesome people. Really down to earth. Mike and Claire (Manumission) are pretty cool cats as well. Got to interview them, when they had the office in the Vara De Rey in 2005.

(Comment of the interviewer: Yes, Mike and Claire from Manumission, they are!!! I think it’s actually a good idea to do an interview with them… Actually, if you read this Claire, it’s been ages, let’s get together sometime. <3)

Question 18: Do you have friendships outside your language circles and how would you rate these friendships in their importance?

Yeah. I’ve got friends outside my language circles. And they are pretty important ones too. We learn off each other. All of my friends are perversely enjoyable… I think it’s great, I think it is really important to have friends outside your language circle. I have a lot of friends all over the world. I’ve got Hispanic, Ibicencan, French, German ones, the world is a small place now, you know. We can all have friends outside our language circles. (funny voice) If we could all just get along!

Question 19: Do you have Ibizenco friends? Do you find them any different to friends from your country? What do you think makes them tick?

I… Are my Ibicencan friends any different…? Yeah, they do strange things… They go out for dinner at midnight… Or sleep all afternoon… Which is cool unless you want to go to the bank, go to a lawyer, do anything that involves anything necessary. What makes them tick? Beautiful sunshine, beautiful people, beautiful food. We are here in Ibiza. There is always a reason to get out …

Question 20: Did it take you long to get used to the Ibizenco lifestyle? Are there still some things you can still not understand / relate to

Oh my gosh… Wait a minute. Everything closes at 1-5. But I need to do my banking. The eating at midnight. The most crazy thing is that Locals don’t go clubbing until 4 or 5… in the morning… There is a hardcore few there… yeah, it did take a while… The driving on the wrong side of the road… I had a few hairy moments there. I got to find out about the local police as well. Just how pleasant how nice they can kind of NOT be…

(Rhyan, what about that strip searching incident you told me about? 😉 Ok, we leave that in the uncut version then… 😉 )
Question 21: If your house / flat was on fire, which three things (not people) would you grab and get out?

Actually gonna change what I said originally. My Apple laptop my life’s is on it, Polo a teddy bear that I’ve had ver since I was a child. It kind of looks like a zombie now. One of his ears fell off and got hoovered up, that was kind of heart breaking So I would take my laptop, the teddy bear with no ears and my Swiss army knife.
Question22: If someone told you you had to leave the isle, you would…

If someone told me I had to leave the island? I would tell them to go and fuck themselves. Plain and simple.

Question 23: Ibiza changed a lot within the last ten (twenty, thirty) years insofar as… (please finish)

Ibiza changed a lot in the last 10, 20, 30 years… Ibiza has changed a lot in as much as the clubs have roofs on them. There are a lot more people. What maybe happened is a little bit of the heart of the island died. In so much as the innocence of Ibiza kind of has been raped just a little bit… so that’s not so cool.

Question 24: I love / loathe Ibiza… (please finish)

I love Ibiza… because it is what it is. I love it because it is constantly evolving and changing. And equally…
I loathe it because … it is constantly evolving and changing.

Question 25: Tanit is the godmother of Ibiza and it’s protective goddess because… (please finish)

I did a little bit of homework since we last spoke. Tanit is a mother of the water… Tanit brings life, fertility, purification and magnetic flow. For a bloke, Bez, it is all what it is all about. Bez is looking after me. For me, he is the god of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. Fuck it. It’s Friday night. Let’s have it. Let’s do it. We are gonna rock and roll all night baby.

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Thank you so much Rhyan! It was a pleasure talking to you.

 

Uh, in case you were wondering, how come I got such a marvellously crazy interview from Rhyan Paul, just remember this: The guy’s a hypnotist…

Here is how it all started…

Look me in the eyes. Look straight into my eyes.

Don’t look around the eyes, don’t look around the eyes, you are under.

😉

Suicide and bullying / The breasts of Angelina Jolie – truth and nothing but the truth please

This is going to be an article that is dual. I wanted to write about suicide and bullying, so I will. But another thing that has recently been on my mind was the case of Mrs Angelina Jolie who showed some breast cancer awareness or at least tried to shock people out of their lethargy by communicating about her drastic move to have both her breast glands and breast tissue removed to prevent a very rare form of hereditary cancer. I will get back to that later. I promise.

Suicide and Bullying will come up soon. There is a sad reason behind it. Very recently, a Young man of 20 was found dead (I won’t go into details out of respect for the relatives of this Young man) in the Sant Mateu / Sant Miquel area. This is a very quiet and rural area. You can find sheep here, orange and olive trees. You can walk through some wooden areas, climb some small hills, but one thing which is really difficult in that area is to feel not at ease when you step outside and take a walk. It is the best anti-depressant I would say. The more shocking I found it when the Young man first was missed… Then his friends organised a search with GPS and what not, but then his lifeless corpse was found. It is very sad indeed. Rumour has it that he was suffering from heartbreak. This is a very typical age, and a very typical reason to commit suicide. Don’t think I was making fun of this. I am dead serious. I have had the bad luck to be around suicidal people quite often, and some of the early signs, some of the things they say before the go, this is something you never quite forget. THe thing is… Suicide is something nobody likes to talk about.

suicide

And it is true why should we? We are the winners, we are the survivors. We are the ones that keep a brave face, keep a stiff upper lip until sometimes that lip starts to tremble and we fail in life. And some of us feel more lonely, more lost, more caught up in their situation than others. And yes, you guessed right. How can she know? Yes, I have been in the situation before. I too have been contemplating it more than once. The thing with suicide is you don’t do it at one. There are very rare cases that people have a very short fuse and they have something bad happen to them and they go out and kill themselves. No. It does not work like that.

You have one bad thing happen to you. You keep going. You have the second thing coming. You swallow. You keep going. THere seems to be a collection of bad things that may happen to you. And each and everyone is different. But depending on your personal pain and suffering threshold you may react differently. And that’s human. THe thing is when people talk, when people tell you that they are contemplating suicide it is high time to keep a good eye on them. Chances are that this is not the first time they have thought about it. Then, you start to think about how to kill yourself.

suicide-kills

I don’t want to make this a macabre dance of death blog post. I do believe that we need much more awareness on suicide. I remember that when I was 10 I was first confronted with a a-level student who threw himself before an incoming train. That was gruesome, traumatic and the teachers just told us because they were taught to be honest with us. I of course never quite understood at the time why this always smiling nice and educated student killed himself.

So, there is another thing. Suicide does not mean, that there is a person wearing black, it can just as well be someone you would not in the least suspect to be suicidal. It all depends on their coping mechanisms.

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Suicide does not mean you are weak.

It basically means you have been strong for a way too long time.

There are lots of boring statistics about suicide. That most suicides are committed by men. The highest suicide rates we have in adolescent males, followed by Young men. Young women are right behind men and now catching up. Sad story.

Please. Whenever you see someone who is shutting up. Who does not talk anymore. Who does not play his/her favourite band, who is giving away things, and saying goodbye to people, who is telling things like “… would be better without me”, do take that serious.

Lastly, I can only say. Even an area like the Sant Miquel or Sant Mateu area is just another microcosm of the big macrocosm earth, so of course, we have suicides too. Maybe not as many, because the absolute numbers are much smaller, but then again, a human life is a human life.

And if you can save one life, do it.

Do it now. Do it tomorrow. Do it whenever. But do it.

Be there for someone. Be someone who is listening. Be someone who is not turning away.

This is probably the most beautiful time  – March until May. You can tuck away your big bulky sweaters, the big duvets, the shawls, gloves, boots and whatnot. Get out your sunglasses, sunblock stick, cos the first rays of Ibiza sunshine can be fierce… I am so looking forward to changing my wardrobe and trying on all those summer t-shirts, skirts, dresses again. Here are some visual impressions.

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Looks like a lunar landscape this one.

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Meet my friend Sonia who did not want to be photographed. Hehehe 😉 and both our cute dogs.

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The rocky path is off the north coast of Ibiza. Nice climb. The cliff with the houses built in the rock is Na Xamena. The white big building is the five star hotel with the same name. Here an old James Bond movie was shot. There was supposedly a scene where James Bond is taking a mud bath. There you go. The rock is there. The mud bath I am not so sure now. They do have spa sessions… but this is beyond my price range… 😉
The white dog is a friend’s, the brown one’s mine.
The rural bits are taken around Sant Miquel and in the urb. Isla Blanca and around it.

Anyone who is not afraid walking by a pretty steep cliff is able to do this walk. If you’re not good with heights, this walk is not for you.

Happy that the sun returned today!!!
And I reckon it is here to stay.

😉

Eivissa, capital mundial de l’Scrabble en català – Noudiari.es | Noudiari.es.

The above link is a Catalan language article for anyone who is interested to read something about the World Championship of Scrabble in Catalan. There were roughly twenty-odd people playing, some of which had travelled from l’Hospitalet, Barcelona, Menorca and Mallorca in order to participate.

Anyone who will be in Ibiza at the end of March this year (March 22nd) will be able to see another Scrabble championship, this time maybe a good chance to give it a first shot. Admission possible until March 20th. The championship will be held at a local school in Sant Josep and afterwards, everyone can let the evening ease out with the famous Flower Power Party in Sant Josep. Come in hippy clothing to the championship and have a good laugh. Afterwards, chances are that we probably all go there, which is basically the sign that summer is around the corner, the weather is quite nice, and the days are getting longer.

Here is a nice weekend to be had! Why not join in?

For more information, please visit this page

http://scrabbleclubeivissa.blogspot.com.es/

The Scrabble Club Ibiza (Eivissa) and its blog

The Scrabble Club Eivissa can be reached through the blog or the facebook page (“scrabble club eivissa”).

Ask for Pau Arranz, president of the Scrabble Club Ibiza.

English / German / French / Dutch / Italian / Greek language contacts can also contact me, Chryssula Kokossulis, member of the Scrabble Club Ibiza.

http://www.fiscrabble.cat/

The International Federation of Scrabble in Catalan

Happy New Year, folks.

I hope you are more or less back to normal. I certainly have been pushing my limits quite hard lately, I kind of feel exhausted.

Nevertheless, I wanted to say thank you to all those who have been by my side, virtually, or physically the last 12 months, or much longer than that, for that matter. It does seem to me that 2012 was a pretty important year for me.

I have two reasons why I wrote this text today. One is because I have been confronted with some misconceptions about why I wrote something, a novel, in Catalan. And still really think it could be worth publishing one day.

Second, I was kind of fed up of repeating myself over and over again. In that respect I tend to be rather a lazybone.

That’s why I copy & pasted an entry from facebook here for you to see how I feel about the whole writing business.

“Re-editing my novel for the zillionth time around… I wish I was less selective, less fussy with language. The plot is no worries. It is mostly language, expressions, register, the lack of authenticity of used language. Some sentences simply don’t compute. Fuck… I need a language coach. Else the novel will die a horrible death. You know how writers tend to be cruel.”
  •  
    Klaus Faulenbach Sorry, dear, I can see and understand the challenge writing seriously in a foreign language but did Goethe write in English, Shakespeare in Italian, Cervantes in German? Why are you making this so tough on you?
  •  
    Chryssula Kokossulis I second that thought, dear. Although… It’s the way I started though. Every language has a particular sound, melody, rhythm and such. I kind of started to write subconsciously and the novel is beyond anything that I wrote so far in German or English. If I can work this one out, I will know that I made the right choice.
    It’s a book set in Ibiza. The people in it are Ibicencos. Why wouldn’t they speak Catalan?
    By the way, all of the quoted writers were well capable of reading literature in other languages.
    Anyway, you know me. When I put my mind to an idea, I will follow through. Stubborn, headstrong and incorrigible.
    Actually, by now, I see it as a challenge. I’ve come this far, why should I give in?
    PS.. Thanks for comparing me to the Swan of Avon, Goethe and Cervantes. That’s a bit over-reaching but still thx 😉
    PPS.. Another thing is… I cannot change the language at this point. This would be such a cowardly thing to do.
    No. Now it is catalan, all the way through. Once it has been edited, proofread and so on I will translate it though.
  •  
    Klaus Faulenbach Written language only has that particular sound, melody, rhythm and such when one is fluent in it. And reading or writing a foreign language are two different cups of tea. You can and you should practise your Catalan as much as possible, no doubt about it, but giving you constant headache over words and expressions and frequently reaching out for language support for what you consider an important work of yours shouldn´t be the way to improve that language nor writing the thoughts of your soul.
  •  
    Chryssula Kokossulis It’s not a lost battle. I may be perfectionist and I may be over-critical but this is just to find the right people. What’s so wrong with going after one’s dream. I already met very nice people on my way. But sometimes there is a thing that you need to resolve by yourself.
    And please… Every writer writes from his soul. Well ok there may be other bodyparts. 😉
    But once you’re ready to leave the ivory tower and share your thoughts with other people… That’s exactly when you show yourself as a vulnerable creature… So?!? What’s the worst that could happen? I could get hurt. Yes. True.
    But believe me, i’d rather run the risk than watch my novel – which yes, is super important to me – fade into obscurity. If I fall, I shall fall.

    Don’t worry about me too much. I’ve had worse situations than just writing and searching for language coaching.
    By the way, the good thing about being poised like that is that you create an amazing energy and kind of see which people can really relate to who you are.
    Becoming a writer is in that respect painful since you need to overcome privacy.

Right now, I don’t really have much time to appreciate what is happening right now, but there is this faint feeling at the back of my head that some day, maybe in a couple of months’ time or so, I will look back to what is happening right now, and know that this time (starting with May 2012, around that time or so) my life shifted, and I found a new perspective. Which in itself is quite exciting, that much I must tell you.

Those of you who also read my other blog in catalan what I’m talking about here. Well. I don’t want to mystify it for the others either. I started a novel around that time. And i wrote the first draft in between May and beginning of September.  Yesterday, I finished an in-between draft which surely is not the final draft but I seem to be making progress. Well that’s my feeling anyway.

Right now, the whole writing business, staying up countless nights, it all seems so crazy, a bit obsessed and a bit like a thing that no-one else but me could probably understand WHY I HAD to do this, and WHY I had to do it LIKE THAT. I sometimes ask myself how did I do this? How did I find the energy, the hope and also the way not to despair?

I don’t know.

I guess, that’s what writing and passion for writing really does to you. I cannot go without it.

There is some extent a love-hate relationship in there as well. It makes you swear. It makes you get to know yourself better. It makes you go and reach out for your personal limit.

So the novel? I sometimes despair, but I guess, it is coming along. I have been reading, re-reading and yet reading it again at least a zillion times now and I can see that the structure itself is not really bad. I don’t want to trash it. I think there are still passages that need working on. But basically, it is a story that I would personally go out and read.

Well, the process about writing, editing, reading and re-reading is kind of painful sometimes, and you notice that style is something that you cannot do without. I guess, the whole language business is kind of workable, but like I told a friend of mine yesterday, “it’s not a lost battle” and no, I still feel not ready yet to be happy with or gratulate myself is the language, and the style. But on the whole, I can say, I finally got my head around the idea that I am a writer. Full stop. That to me was the seventh world wonder. I never knew this for sure. I thought, yeah, writing is my hobby. I am a philologist, so surely, I read and write. It just went without saying.

So, there you go. I’ve come out of the closet. As a writer. I am a writer, I openly admit it. And guess what? I write stuff, I swear, I shout, I sometimes make myself an idiot, and I am proud about it.

Sure, there is probably no way you can live on writing. So in effect, the whole thing boils down to being a translator / salesperson to make money while your vocation is being a writer, but not being a salesperson / translator, who sometimes writes. To put it more clearly: A writer who does sales and translation to survive. Being a writer: That was something I kind of denied all these years. I felt that you could only call yourself writer when you’ve got like three or four books to show for yourself.

I did make an effort and had some small publications in the year 2000 (Stiller, Mein Heimliches Auge, Konkursbuchverlag) and 2003 (Race of Rats, Tränen – Anthologie, Geest Verlag) and 2004 (noch weiter im text, 1980 – 2004, 24 Jahre Autorenwerkstatt Uni Köln), I did do some lectures of poetry 1994 (Heretic Heritage) and 1995 (Night’s Little Fiends) and 1998 (My short trip to your stinky planet), I was part of a writers’ group at uni 1992 – 1996 (AutorenWerkstatt Universität Köln), and I was alwyas the first one to enter a bookshop. But I kind of thought it more a natural thing to be since I was studying letters so of course, I would write in my free time just like I had years before uni. It felt right, but I did not have to place a name tag on it.

Ok, back to 2012. Why was it an important year?

1) I wrote a novel. One I am not ready to trash yet.

2) I had my first exhibition with “Dark Vila” as a joint project with Oliver Janssen a photographer from Germany. It was located in Sant Josep in the Can Jeroni gallery. We got some really nice comments, there were people who really liked the exhibition which is a bonus, I guess. Right. I could say something here and now, but I won’t do it because that would be over-reaching.

3) I continue to learn Catalan. I have made a point to learn more insults and profanity, which to me funnily enough reveals as much as the soul of the language.

4) I got to know some really fun and interesting people who make it very worthwhile to keep at it and not to throw the towel once you hit rough waters.

5) I started playing scrabble in Catalan. It might seem trivial to some, but it does help you build new synaptic connections and that’s why it is used against alzheimer’s as well. I don’t use it for that purpose, I just happen to love that game, and being a learner of catalan, makes me want to play it in Catalan. To anyone who wants to learn a language quicker, I would seriously recommend this game.

6) After many many years, we – the family of four – made the decision to go to Scotland for some time. This is a long lost dream, we had scheduled for 1997 long before the kids were born. That’s what life does. It does overthrow planned things and makes you re-schedule. Somehow, the trip got to be 15 years later since the journey was planned for summer 1998 and now it will happen in winter 2013. But anyway, I am so much looking forward to it. And if freeze in the snow, it does not matter, this will be Scotland, so it will be wonderful.

7) I have learned to be more understanding, more human (I hope) and less perfectionist. I know this may sound a bit tiresome and also perhaps arrogant, but I do believe that being a writer makes you understand your own limitations and to help you accept them and live with them. I sometimes wish that I would just say, shit, just let’s go with the flow. As long as people can understand it, this shit is ok. Sorry, that is not gonna happen. I cannot be like that. I will rather spend a night working on one particular small chapter and kind of re-fitting words, playing with sentences, characters around, and exchange words and single phrases. It sometimes brings me to the verge of a nervous breakdown. But when I read a chapter I feel happy with, that really makes me happy. I know this sounds pretty silly, but people are so different in what they believe who they are and who they really are. This discrepancy goes for each and everyone. This is the reality gap. The black whole of conception and reality. I would like to keep that gap as small as possible. But it also makes me understand that as much as I want to deny it, I do have limits. Limits are good, without them, I might wake up and not know who I was. Admittedly, sometimes I go out of my way and try to break them. Limits that I try to break and overcome each and every time, like the numbers of hours I tend to sleep lately. But hey, I guess, that’s just me. And I learn the hard way. 😉

8) What about the whole Catalan business?
Friends have asked me this and I ask myself sometimes too why did I have to write it in Catalan? Well the answer is: because. It just happened that way. I cannot reverse it and take the reverse gear.
Do I do this to make myself more interesting or what?
No, I absolutely don’t. I would much rather just write, and be left in peace. But maybe, this is a cosmic lesson. In as much as I hate to go out and state that I am a writer, I kind of had to do it, since I could not achieve the class and the quality of what I usually write in Catalan. This kind of triggered other people to respond or not to respond to me. Here again, I was faced with the question of would I sustain my wish against all odds?

9 ) Yes, I did. I am still here. I still write. I still stick to the plan of finishing the novel which is such an important piece of my personal biography. Not because it is in catalan, but rather because I write it and do not feel afraid to ridicule myself since this is an authentic wish and this is an authentic piece of me. There is a lesson to be learnt here.

But I have come this far, I really cannot go back now. I know, this novel needs to be written in catalan. Maybe, it will be my only one I write in Catalan. Maybe, I will finally manage the pronoms febles, and the fucking difficult verb forms, who knows? But the point is: I finally took myself serious in what I do best: describe things, describe mental or emotional states. Describe people in their complexity.

Well, maybe I should not say that cos it might sound a tad arrogant, I do not believe that I am such a great writer yet, I am still at the beginning, but what I do know is that I have found something that kindled my passion.

Why else would I stay up night after night? I may be a passionate person, but I am not trying to kill sleep itself. I do feel wrecked, I do feel tired. And I know that I cannot keep going this way. I need to slow down. I seriously need a break. I do know that.

10) Facing up to who you are. However, those of you who already tried, will know that writing a novel is a bit like hitting puberty again. You go through all the stages again: the fear, the sometimes heightened and sometimes frail ego, the obsession, the theatre, the lust, the crying, the scratches, the love-bites. Um. That’s just me? Ok, then that’s just me. 😉

I do find it hard to relate to the state I was before.

I wrote all my life, but I never told anyone. It was something I used to keep to myself.

11) Writers must be eccentric, at least in one respect: Topic, style, language, or presentation. Sometimes, all of them at the same time. Writers do not belong to the standard lot. Otherwise, in case they would just obey the rules, they would be plain, dead boring and pretty stuffy. I’d much rather be weird, eccentric and juicy.

12) I accept and love myself as a writer, as someone who has come out of the closet. For being such a weird, and strange little girl.

http://youtu.be/QnWVCWNnkQE

Happy new Year. Make it happen!

What is it that I wish for?

1) That I don’t stop here. That I don’t lose the speed, the va-va-va-voom. That one editorial person, one publishing house can see through the grammar and expression mistakes that are surely there and still give me a chance to publish.

2) That I don’t give up writing in Catalan – no matter what, even though there is still a long way to go I guess. (both in terms of grammar, and in terms of vocabulary, expression, register and so forth)

3) That the people who I virtually as well as physically met throughout 2012 will remain by my side. There is not one of them, I would like to go without. I don’t need to name you, you all know who you are. 😉

4) That there will be new and exciting art projects along the way. I do hope so. There might be another Dark Vila or other thingy coming up. Who knows?

http://www.dark-vila.com/

http://ib3tv.com/20121124_190901-dark-vila-mostra-una-eivissa-ben-diferent.html

5) That I finish my first translation piece of a non-fiction book translation and there will be more fiction or non-fiction pieces to translate.

http://graceperiod21.wordpress.com

6) That Scotland will give me time and peace to recharge my batteries.

7) That I will learn more each and every day.

8) That I might start learn Greek, the language, my father was too lazy to teach and told us we would not speak Greek with him.

9) That I can be a good example for my kids, well, at least in some ways.

10) That my husband will not kill me because I am always writing, checking articles, reading, reading, and editing and studying. He really is a patient character (just the opposite of me) and sometimes I don’t know how he can bear up with me, being the way I am, some strange little girl.Image

PS: yeah, right, I forgot to mention that in 2011, I saw all the X-men movies, but last year, in 2012, I saw many more Hugh Jackman movies and have to say that he is way more than just Wolverine. Check out his performances. He is a great character man, very versatile. This picture above is from Correlli, an Australian mini series where he plays a character that is in prison and falls in love with the prison psychologist.

But he was also particularly brilliant in Paperback Hero and The Prestige (also starring Michael Caine).

Ok, in between years I tend to be a little melancholic. It’s a fact. Yet another year over. What will the new year bring? What will it hold in stock? It struck me that today we do have way more possibilities than say our predecessors in Shakespeare’s day, or in classic times in Ancient Rome or Greece or as a child laborer growing up in Mumbai or a child being born in the slums of some metropolis even today. And yet, what do we make of our time?

Shakespeare’s monologue in “As you like it” presents us with the seven ages of man:

infancy

childhood

the lover

the soldier

the justice

old age

the pantaloon

To me, that does not feel quite right… Not just because I have turned 42 recently. 😉

I believe that especially in today’s world we have to revisit Shakespeare’s data since they don’t seem to match with what we’re faced with today.

Shakespeare spoke of 7-year-steps that would lead up to reaching the next level. Up until age 21 this might still be applicable but afterwards we are different today, aren’t we?

Some of us, at least. I don’t know if I am so happy with chosing particular years to really mark an incision, a deep cutting change in one’s life. It may be one or two years later sometimes, or earlier for that matter. Often, our life is marked by one particular event but that does not have to match the categories as shown in the chart above that is derived from Shakespeare.

The thought of categorizing certain age groups might help in some ways, but it does not really feel applicable to modern society.

Today, biographies tend to differ a lot. We learn, we study, we work, we study again, we choose a new career, we choose to live elsewhere. Marriages happen, sometimes, they fall apart after a couple of years. New marriages begin. In many ways, think of the age of women today. It changed so much in the past fifty years: the age when they get married, when they tend to fall pregnant and when people might still go out and have a career. Also think of the people who studied. If you told them, hey, at 56 you are past it, watch closely what happens… Or better run and hide. There are folks by far older than that and they are still in their mental prime and they will be at least another twenty years if you allow them stay alive, healthy and happy. 

Personally, age is one the topics I find highly interesting. It is something to me that identifies it as the last taboo in our post-modern society. Everybody is concerned with it, and funnily enough, nobody wants to talk about it. It seems to be one of those things that is very volatile in terms of how it is viewed in society. Yep. Age is a changeling in that way.

Just like death itself. There will be time for a different article of death avoidance in our society (something I wrote about as early as 1991).

I am not a gerontologist. I am just wondering how this spiral of searching for methods of attaining eternal youth might end. Especially when we are all getting older, and older, and older. Not just personally, but also our society. The age pyramid already seems to have turned upside down. Crises and wars, terrorist attacks and unemployment haven’t really helped to make things better. Having another baby? Only fools seem to say yes to that question.

Remember those days when age was viewed quite differently? It was not merely old bones and forgetfulness. It used to be a symbol of an achievement: of a full life, ripe, mature, full of grace, and wisdom? When old age used to be something people would look forward to? Today, they seem to rather fear it.

Remember how we were brought up to stand up in the bus or in the waiting room when an elderly person entered and there was no seat left. Today, try that and get the dirty looks of a seventy-year-old who is still trying to pass for 55 or something. It really seems to be not such a good thing to do anymore. I still consider it the right thing (well, if they are frail) but then, that’s just me. When I see someone frail, it is something I will always do.

But what other misconceptions are there about age?

I remember that when I was a child of six or seven, my almost grown up cousin from Greece who was 17 (ten or eleven years my senior), age was something to look forward to. He looked so strong, acted so wisely, and he seemed so mature to me. To his parents, he was just a teenager and someone to watch over his little cousin. Right, like I said, it is a matter of perspective basically.

I used to always be very fond of reaching another birthday and even one whole month before I could not sleep and would be preparing myself for the next step in the long path to adulthood.

As an adult, this wonderful inspiration and childish happiness is no longer there. Mind you, I still look forward to my birthday, but basically, my perspective has changed. Naturally, you will say. As you are getting older, you learn that life is not an endless journey but that it does have an end to it. And that somehow puts a crimp in our style. Simple as that.

Ok, being still young enough to enjoy birthdays means that old age is still far away. There! See? Even myself. I do it. And I should know better. I push old age far away from me because it is something that gives me the creeps. It is not something we – the modern men/women of today – would aspire. It rather seems to be something to steer clear of, something to be avoided. And why is that?

There are plenty of reasons why old age is good:

– you no longer need to form part of the workforce

– you have fond memories of your full life

– you are fully aware of who you are

– the hormones are no longer in the way, thus making you their slave

– your wisdom is at its height

Well, who am I kidding? The above was surely right some thirty years ago. But it is no longer the case. Things have changed. Things in our society. Things as they are now. It is so obvious. Old age is today associated with a lot of things – but as it happens these things are not really so inspirational. Old age spells loss and failure:

– the negation of youth

– not be able to demonstrate the image of vitality that is so sought after

– function failure like eyesight, hearing, virility etc.

– loss of beauty

– loss of vitality

And what’s more, some old people even need to keep on working since they cannot afford not to.

However, the basic point is this:

Today’s society is so extremely youth, beauty and performance-oriented, that being old age almost seems to be a failure in itself. It is something people by all means want to avoid.

You don’t like to read this. I don’t like to write it either, but the truth is – that’s what we are dealing with today.

Argue that it is otherwise? Take a good look at reality.

Ok, let’s name five singers (female or male) who are financially successful and over the age of say 40. (and I don’t mean rock dinosaurs like the Rolling Stones)

Ok, what about actors and actresses who get lead roles? Over 50.

The youth cult is so strong today that life in its normal way is practically is impossible. If you want to be successful that means you need to look young or at least make an effort and let people see that you’re trying… Which is sad…

And that is nothing new… Just watch out for my next article on W.B. Yeats. He was literally speaking age obsessed. Only, back then, in the beginning of the last century, Yeats was a weirdo. He was the odd one out. Today, he would fit in perfectly. And that to me is pretty sad.

Today, people, rich people or let’s say people who can afford to, are trying to turn back the clock. They are trying to buy their youth back. They trust some weird would be charlatans, con men who sell some weird herbs, some hormones, DHEA, some melatonin, and what not, just for the promise of ageing slower and not losing as much of their vitality as their peers.

To me, this no longer is a science-fiction scenario. I’ve seen enough people who celebrate this cult, and it is scary. It scares the shit out of me.

I am 42 now, so what am I? Old or middle-aged. I don’t know. I don’t even care. 

For marketing people, I will only be important another seven years, and past the age of 49 you no longer matter to advertising. For my kids, I am their mother. For my husband, I am his wife. For my parents, I will be their only girl child, and quite a black sheep for that matter. For my friends, I will be Chrys. So, where does age in these relations? I guess in no way. Because it is not important to your life. What is important is within you, and the people you associate with and what is left of your existence when you leave this planet.

So, I truly and honestly can say… I don’t get the whole business of avoiding age like it was some curse or ailment. I don’t get the Botox, I don’t get the nordic walking, I don’t get the hormones and I don’t get the DHEA.

But what I do know is that I don’t want to wind up some sad pathetic creature pumping themselves up with bodybuilding, with obscure medicine, with herbs and hormones and what not. I just want to live. And to be honest, I find some wrinkles around the eyes pretty sexy because they show that you can laugh. Affording to move your facial muscles…

Oh shit, I wanted to include this huge billboard poster I found at the Ibiza roundabout a couple of weeks ago. As a matter of fact, I did not take the picture since I thought this was too weird… And I did not feel like going through the trouble of erasing the phone number “do you botox? call… ” That was this huge billboard – one sentence and only with a mobile number and a website… ” To be honest I just could not believe it. It has been there for a while now. Since I also work in advertising I can tell you this much. Such a billboard in an exposed location is pretty damn expensive. I could not believe that the Botox industry is even strong enough on such a tiny island as Ibiza. Could you think of anything more absurd? Please… Hippy island Ibiza or Botox and meds island Ibiza? You choose.

To me, this whole age rant is amusing. Well, let’s face it. We all need to age. Some of us, age well, some others just aren’t as fortunate. However, the thought of old age should encourage everyone to preparing one’s mind and not as much the outer appearance, so one could be more peaceful and less restless in order to understand that everyone will be old one day, if they live to see the day.

What we do need to change are our prejudices and preconceptions. Age is not about losing your facilities, wearing diapers and needing walking sticks, and wheelchairs. It’s not. It is just the next logical step in what happens when man gets older. And for this, there is no remedy. Well, there is but that would be suicide.

I remember one thing someone said to me when I was 16, you’re an old soul. I kind of liked that. I still don’t entirely know if I buy this though. I just fall for different things than most people. I am different.

When I was 35, someone else in a context which I won’t repeat here told me, after he had been told my age, “Ah, 35, that’s a nice age.” I just looked at him did not know what he meant. Why? Because all present is wonderful. That’s why we are human. We need to find the little clues and make our life worthwhile. Come to think of it. Had I lied to him and had I said, 31, he would have said exactly the same. And what if I had made myself older than that, 37, he would have still said the same. So, what does it matter? Right. Nothing.

I would like to conclude this article with the fact, that any age is a beautiful age. It is just the moment that you’re in. It is the present of your life. Please make it worthwhile. No matter whether you’re 13 and you think your life stinks, and is worth shit because that boy won’t look at you and you need to clean up your messy room, if you’re 22 and you’ve just been dumped by your first love and feel like killing yourself, if you’re 26 and you get the sack from your boss. If you’re 33 and pregnant, 37 and starting a new life, or even biblical 42 like myself or older than that… It simply does not matter.

Life is yours. Grab it by the short ones and live it. 

This is a museum I visited some 17 or 18 years ago when I first visited Ibiza aged 23. The necropolis was something really very attractive to me for two reasons. It fitted into the education I had received being very much moulded by the Romans and Greeks since I had Latin as a major subject at school.

The museum is situated on the Via Romana in Ibiza town quite near to the famous Dalt Vila. Right now, it is a very lucky time for anyone interested in archaeology.

The museum was reopened on December 13th 2013. Ever since then and until March 31st 2012, the museum is free for visitors. After this initial period, the entrance prices will be 2.40€ and 1.20€ for children.

The museum basically consists of two parts: the outside part with the graves, the headstones and the caves, and the interior part with the collection of items that were given to the dead for their last journey. I will also try and add a couple of pictures to show the different sections of the museum.

http://www.maef.es is the museum’s homepage.

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.

I know what you’re gonna think. Exhibitions and especially openings can be pretty boring. Now you’re gonna think. Right, so now you tell me that yours was different. Yes, ours was different. We had people from all over the place. There were Belgians, Australians, Lithuanians, Catalans, Germans, Argentinians, French people, Spaniards, and other nations I have no knowledge about. To me, being an extrovert human being, and possibly also someone who only gears up when I can listen and speak to three or better four languages at a time, it was just like a dream come true. The buzz, the vibe and getting a direct comment on what you do. That is so great. For some others, it might have been their personal nightmare. Ugh… So many different languages, too many people around. Yikes. Well, then quite obviously, openings of that kind are not cut out for you.

The lecture itself also went pretty well. No major hickups. I was excited but managed to keep a lid on things and present the poems well I was told. These are the things that people need to tell you afterwards. Mind you, I do think I could have done better if I hadn’t been nervous like hell and if I had had a chance to prepare that my lecture was filmed (a thing I had no knowledge about when I started the reading. After the first or second poem they were suddenly there right in the middle of it. But what can you do? 😉 ). If you think you’re good, that’s when start being bad. And I strive to be good. Well, sometimes, you have to do with so-so. But I won’t settle for that.

Anyway, that’s neither hither nor thither, so we had our opening night of our Dark Vila exhibition last Friday and, funnily enough, there was always the right number of people around. Not too many, not too few. Always kind of people coming and going. I know the exact number of people but I won’t debase myself and tell. No. I am too proud for that. This is my secret. The funny things is that there were people, mostly unknown to us since all of a sudden, most of our friends, were unfortunately not there due to car problems, flu, and other impediments. I guess opening nights can be tricky in that respect. But here and there, there were new faces, new opinions, and new takes.

I must say it was not what I had anticipated but it was even better instead, much better. It was very lively. So, we had people from the Consell (I was surprised again), the culture person in charge (surprised again), later on, IB3 popped around … in a moment when I had started reading out the poems aloud in three different languages. Speaking about perfect timing, it would have been great to know they were coming but they had left it open if they would or not, so it was again another element of surprise here 😉 and – to be quite honest – in a moment when I not really believed they would make it and cover such a small event. But they came and they did. We even got a mention in the Saturday noticies, preceded by a very funny teaser! I was amazed. A few moments later, I was sent the link of the small feature film. Brave new media world that has such people in it!

Dark Vila mostra una eivissa ben diferent – Click here to see the IB3 video

I am still walking a bit on air. It is a strange feel, a bit surreal. But a good one I guess.

We achieved something. Not everyone will see our exhibition but those who did all had a friendly comment for us, and I got new ideas, new perspectives and new little incentives for some future projects. That’s the beauty of it.

Oh, did I mention that Diario de Ibiza gave us a third of a whole page to anounce our DARK VILA exhibition which was very generous considering the fact that we are not really on the screen of anyone and considering we are flying well below the radar plus the fact that they had not seen the expo before writing their article? That was a vote of confidence I would say. 😉 That was one day prior to the opnening. I will scan it later on and try to insert it as well. Up until now, things have been really crazy. Right now, I want to step back and maybe fast forward to a different moment in time, but hey, no, I want to enjoy this. Like I enjoyed that evening, together with my husband Berno, my children and of course with Oliver Janssen who is the other half of this joint project and that took us five months to set up. Take a look at his blog too.

Come to see Dark Vila. It is really worth the long (?!) way to Sant José de sa Talaia on the white (and sometimes dark) isle of Ibiza. At least, judging from the comments we received so far.

PS:

I will try to get more media coverages here on this blog but I also need to get back on track with my Catalan learning chores, my translation work and the preparation of my first novel in catalan and finding the right people to walk that way with me. So bear with me please.

Here is the link to the exhibition https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/events/440385366024045/

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