At home nowhere

The season 2014 is officially over for me, as I'm now leaving the island for my yearly mini vacation to treat myself after a summer of hard work.
The last time I left was on the 28th May, for a three night stay in Madrid (actually 28-31 May, with my son Pi and his grandparents from his fathers side) and now I'm heading to Mallorca with his grandparents from my side, for the 28-31 October. Funny choice of dates, I thought.

Living on this small island in the Mediterranean is causing me both good and bad things, good and bad thoughts and good and bad life experiences. As every place would, surely. But it does somehow seem very extreme here, all of the good and all of the bad. After all, it is a TINY place, and extreme in some ways, and very dull and boring in other ways. I love it and I hate it.

Our environment surely does affect us, no matter how much we think we are steady within ourselves and our visions, belief systems and personality/lifestyle/opinions.
What is normal in Sweden can certainly be most odd here in Ibiza. And what is normal in Ibiza can clearly be strange in Sweden. And to always be the odd one out, defines us in a different way than being normal, and being normal or part of a larger community living with the same visions can be different than living as the weirdo different from everyone else.

At first when visiting Ibiza, I fell in love with the feeling of incredible freedom this island expresses. The people who live here and inhabit this pine-clad stony little piece of land in the Mediterranean, all have chosen a very bohemian, free, hippie-spirited lifestyle and everyone is very un-judging towards others. It's so refreshing, coming from Sweden, where people LOVE to judge and to call the landlord to gossip to him/her that the neighbour does not recycle or park within his white designated lines.

After living here for two and a half years, having given birth to a child here, running my own business here and interacting with the backbone of this society- the local Ibicenco people and its authority system- I have a different view on this whole hippie-peace-and-love-vibe.

It's freaking hard to get anything done here. Close to impossible, in fact.
Everyone who's travelled to India knows that getting one thing done per day is more than enough as a goal. That one thing can sometimes be something as simple as getting from A to B in a city and to get a clean meal on your plate.
It's the same principal here in Ibiza- one thing a day- not more. If you expect to get more done- expect to get sweaty, frustrated, pissed off and more like those adjectives.

Here, things move at a painfully slow pace, and authority personnel LOVE to say the word "NO". (So does my 18 month old son, by the way. In a very Spanish accent. "NO!")

Imagine a proper business meeting with two or three people dressed in suits, white shirts, shiny shoes. It all seems to be going well, until someone starts talking about things that are completely unrelated to the meeting. In fact, the person is talking about his private life, something vaguely related to the business meeting topic, and soon they are all comparing experiences.
Once that's done, and everyone's laughed and joked about this particular thing, they all go on to repeat what was already said 10 minutes before the private topics entered the scenario.
And then, after the goodbye and wrapping up the meeting formalities have started, once more the repetition of all that was said in the meeting happens again.
And then, believe it or not, everything that was said three times, does not happen automatically. Unless you confirm it all again via email, text or telephone on the day it is supposed to happen, it will NOT happen.

Being Swedish, this is another culture shock. I mean, in Sweden you say something once, for example "at 11 am on Monday the 5th we will do such-and-such" and then that will happen, without having to repeat or confirm.


Here, pleasure and relaxation goes above everything else.

So here comes the part of the environment affecting us, whether we like it or not.
I am very very restless, short-tempered and I have absolutely no patience. Therefore, it feels sometimes that I am living in a little fish-bowl where everyone is sweetly enjoying their little bubble existence, and I am constantly trying to leap out of it, not able to stand their sweet little enjoyment.
I go crazy, angry, I bubble with resentment and anger. I wanna get things done, I wanna move forward, I hate this stuckness and the manana-attitude. Why do something tomorrow when you can do it NOW??

I used to like it in the beginning, the feeling of relaxing into the slow pace of this little island. but then I had the contrast. I lived somewhere else full time, and I was only a visitor here. I had a structured life somewhere else.
Now this IS my life, and I am swimming against the stream.

I spoke to a friend about it, who is an extremely successful businessman, arriving in Barcelona15 years ago with NADA and starting his own company which he now has sold, has retired, and surely is a millionaire. He claims the advantage for him was that he was a driven, energetic persona amidst slow paced, manana-type people, and that was precisely why he could succeed in a place that is otherwise known as bad economy. 
In other words, he used to his advantage that he wasn't the manana type.

But I'm wondering to what extent I am still my restless, structured me. What would happen if I was plopped down in Swedish society once more? I think it would be extremely difficult for me, actually. Already now, just visiting from time to time, I know I'm very different, and with different views on life, with a different way of living. More free. Less rules. Kind of loathe the swedish fear-based system.

A lot of stressed London-types love to move to Ibiza to follow their Mediterranean lemon-tree dream of living in an old spanish finca and having relaxed lunches with a lot of local wine and olives. But don't they find it hard to relax into it after a whole life of running?

Maybe I just need more time. Or maybe I will always be a little bit of me here, and a little bit of me there. The constant ex-pat who from now on never feels at home, completely, anywhere at all.


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