While in Austria on a skiing holiday in late February, Christina Bosmans – founder of Kids in Ibiza – noted that Coronavirus was the number one headline topic in the local newspapers. Very soon the borders between Austria and Italy were closed, and she realised the severity of the situation. “The seriousness and whole impact of the situation dawned on me when we were having lunch at Munich airport on our way back,” she recalls. “There was an announcement on a screen that Lufthansa had cancelled 50% of their flights, then when we boarded our second plane from Barcelona to Ibiza, there was an awkward feeling that a lot of people were trying to escape a potential lockdown in their own countries.”
Born in Germany, Christina has lived in Ibiza for 15 years, and has run Ibiza’s leading children’s entertainment and services company, Kids in Ibiza, since 2009. A trained teacher, she is an expert on children’s needs and has felt the restrictions on movement in Spain to be far too strict compared to other countries with less cases of the virus. “Exercise or simple walks are so important for mental health and general wellbeing,” she says, referring to adults and children alike. “We arrived back in Ibiza knowing that there was only one Covid19 case, and our children returned to school for one week, then the whole country went into lockdown. It all happened so quick!”
Describe your current Ibiza lockdown situation? My inmates are my husband Denis and our two children – Max is seven and Annabel is nine years old. We have a house with garden in the village of Santa Gertrudis and the children have enough space to play inside and outside. We have enough space to be alone for a moment, too. We are in a fortunate situation, but it is clearly a test. I’ve been locked in with my favourite people and we’ve made the best of it. I must admit that I have had moments hiding from the kids though – 24/7 together can be really intense!
What is your daily life like now? I try and do a bit of yoga before the children are up, but I don’t manage every day. Sometimes the mind is willing but the flesh is weak. My son is usually the first to get up, our daughter is the last. I don’t wake her up though – that’s one of the beautiful things of the lockdown. I wasn’t an early riser as a child and neither is Annabel. Now she can take her time in the mornings. Denis has gone back to work now so I have breakfast on my own with the kids. The children start their school work between 9.30 and 10.30am. They do project learning and only have one Zoom call with their school per week. They get a weekly schedule and my daughter is fairly independent with it, while my son needs a lot more help. I spend most of the morning going from one child to another whilst trying to fit in some household chores at the same time.
You’re a trained teacher – does that make home schooling easier for you? It does make things easier, but I don’t like to call this home schooling. This is quarantine schooling. Home schooling is a conscious decision – you work with tutors who you’ve chosen. Quarantine schooling is what we’ve all – teachers, parents and children – been thrown into without any previous warning and it can be overwhelming at times. Being a full time quarantine schooling house wife is rather time consuming and between all of these morning tasks, I don’t manage to fit in a lot of work in before or after we have lunch. I usually work from home, so that part isn’t new to me. It’s just that I usually work when the children aren’t in the house – BIG difference!
How has the lockdown impacted your business? Badly. Right now, work is limited to dealing with cancellations and postponing our services, as Kids in Ibiza predominantly works with holidaymakers, so there is no business at the moment. Our season usually starts with the Easter holidays, but due to the lockdown, we can’t work at all – even one on one contact between a child and a nanny isn’t possible. It’s all very slow, with many restrictions and mostly, a lack of clients. We usually do a lot of kids’ entertainment at weddings, and all May and June weddings have been cancelled. Equally, we don’t know how and when restaurants and hotels, where we host kids’ clubs, will re-open again. We’re expecting very few holidaymakers for the season, so it will be tough.
Have you set yourself any goals during this period? My goal is to be able to keep the Kids in Ibiza staff employed during the summer. I have a responsibility to my employees and see it as my job to find a way that I can keep them all onboard. So I am working on a few new projects to keep the business afloat and especially be able to provide work for the people who have been working for us.
How are you feeling on a personal level right now? In general l‘ve been alright with the situation. We all have good and bad days. I found the first week the hardest and felt quite overwhelmed. I spent way too much time cross reading and watching news from five different countries and it was so depressing! I have since limited my daily dose of news intake and only spend around half an hour updating myself. I try and fit ‘feelgood’ stuff into my day, like yoga, meditation and I recently discovered tapping. It works for me.
Who or what do you miss most right now? Ibiza in April and May is usually so nice. Lots of friends (and myself) celebrate their birthdays and everyone is looking forward to a new season. Restaurants are reopening and locals get to see each other in the sunshine before most of us dive into work and disappear for the summer months. I miss the early season buzz, nice long dinners with friends and private garden parties. I do also miss a few friends who I would love to see in person rather than on my phone. The whole family also misses my parents – they were due to arrive here on April 20. They divide their time between Germany and Ibiza and always stay in the house with us, but in a separate apartment. Now we don’t know when they’ll be able to come here again. My parents are very close to the children and very hands on with them too. And my mum definitely cooks better than I do!
What’s been most the challenging thing for you throughout this experience? The thought of the aftermath of all of this – the uncertainty and not to have any control over the situation. I like to be in control of things.
How do you keep in touch with the outside world? This may sound like a lot, but it’s really done in 30 minutes: I have a quick look at tagesschau.de, The Independent, El Mundo and Diario de Ibiza every day to get an overview of what’s going on. Whilst I don’t think 5G is good for us, I’m not a believer in the conspiracy theories nor do I think Bill Gates is a bad guy with even worse intentions. I try to only read and listen to credible sources, which can be a task given what’s out there. On social media, I enjoy listening to David Leppan’s @ConversationsAboutChange. He shares his thoughts and insights on the whole situation and on what he thinks is likely to come. I hardly used Instagram before the lockdown, but now I’m on it a lot more. I’ve only done two Zoom calls with friends, I find they get messy once there are a few people on them, so I prefer a one on one call or four people max.
What’s been entertaining you during this period? Denis and I discovered Outlander. It’s the first time since Game of Thrones finished that we’ve watched a series together. We started with episode one in the early days of lockdown and have now caught up to episode 65! Funnily enough, the last episode of season five will be airing the night before we go into ‘Phase One’ in Ibiza. So it will always be remembered as our lockdown series.
What are your eating habits like these days? I haven’t had any changes in my diet. I hardly eat meat and I only drink alcohol on the weekends in the evening, if I drink at all. I’ve only been to my four local shopping options in the village, no big supermarkets. My treat has been not to cook on Sundays, so we’ve ordered takeaway from Santa Gertrudis’ local restaurants Can Mimosa and La Chickeria, which has then equally been a treat for the meat eaters in my family.
Are you factoring exercise and movement into your time spent indoors? Yes, three times a week I do yoga in the morning in my living room or terrace. Normally, I practice Ashtanga Yoga at Nuria Schneider’s studio in Santa Gertrudis. Since Ashtanga is a set series, I simply practice the series. Apart from that, I’ve been trying to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, mostly with the children. We’ve done a fun run challenge around the house, and I’ve also done Joe Wicks’ (The Body Coach) Fitness on YouTube and Just Dance with them. We all lack movement and I look forward to be able to make up for it now that we’re allowed to exercise outside for an hour a day. Now there’s no excuse, you’ll find me jogging around Santa Gertrudis.
How do you manage your stress levels during such uncertain times? Yoga, meditation and tapping… and now, running again. I use two apps, Tapping Solutions and Insight Timer.
What about your own future – how is that looking right now? I’m currently preparing our annual event/talk: ‘Nurseries and schools in Ibiza – Making the right choice for YOUR child’. We’ve had a lot of parents getting in touch with us and it seems they need more guidance than ever after COVID-19. This may be due to financial difficulties or other reasons that weren’t there before the pandemic started. As of next week Kids In Ibiza will be renting out garden packages and bell tents again at the best rates ever, for the perfect little holiday in your own Ibiza garden. We’ll soon be able to offer babysitting, nannying and tutoring services too. Since schools may stay closed until September, we will be offering some fantastic packages for parents to take some of the quarantine schooling weight off their shoulders, get children off screens and have them entertained in real life rather than virtually.
Do you feel safe here? Is there anywhere else you’d rather be quarantined than Ibiza? I do feel very safe here and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. We didn’t, and don’t have, many cases of COVID-19, but we always have to keep in mind that we are on a small island. I have no idea when I’ll see my parents again, but I feel they are safe in Germany and so do they. We miss them and they miss us, but we are both in good places for the lockdown.
What are you most looking forward to when the restrictions are lifted? Running. I want to go for a run! I look forward to seeing my friends in person again. And while it can’t be the first thing we do, I really look forward to going out on the boat this summer. That will be a very different experience this year.
Is there anything you will miss about being in lockdown? The quieter time and deeper connections within the family, and not having to follow a schedule constantly.