One of the things people often ask when you tell then you are living in Ibiza permanently (among others – how do you handle the pace of summer, is it totally crazy, haven’t you gone mad, when will you go home?) is what it’s like to live so far away from your family. How can you get by without that support network? Is it lonely being on your own?
These people clearly haven’t lived in Ibiza, ever.
One of the most amazing things I’ve found over the years is just what a tight-knit community Ibiza really is. Sure, there are cliques, there are cool kids, there are newcomers and there are drifters… there are also cultural differences, the north and town divide and don’t even get me started on workers versus trust fund babies but as a whole, regardless of our backgrounds, we all acknowledge and respect the fact we have all chosen Ibiza as our home and come together to support each other when needed.
It’s a little like the attitudes of small town residents anywhere in the world, however rather than being born into it, we’ve all adopted it. And after many years of observing the dynamic, I can definitely say the old wives’ tale does seem to be true – Ibiza swallows you or spits you out… some of us are here to stay, while others do a little time before returning to their former lives not quite understanding the glue that keeps us all together.
In terms of blood relations, you obviously can’t pick your family. But I found when it came to my Ibiza family, it was equally as random – we found each other randomly, through work or through parties; through mutual friends or by having similar interests. But the biggest difference I find between the two types of family, is that in times of need, my Ibiza family come together without question – no fighting, no bickering, no questions asked. I can’t speak for everyone else in the world, but there’s no bringing out the worst in this family.
Maybe, just maybe, Mediterranean water is thicker than blood?
You see, that guy behind a bar in town – he’s like my uncle. That girl on the door of a nightclub – my sister. The old lady selling overpriced drinks in the corner shop – my grandma. The sunburnt teenager handing out flyers on the beach – my geeky nephew. The DJ behind the booth of a restaurant – my brother. That little girl playing in the park with her friends – my niece. The dancer on the podium – my cousin. The farmer collecting eggs from his chickens – my grandpa. And well, my cats are my cats! You get the picture…
We look out for each other. We understand the stress (yes, I know it’s hard to believe we can have stress here in paradise) and intricacies of island life. We trust one another. We share a sense of belonging and a love of our beautiful island. And yes, we might be insular when it comes to newcomers, but if you’re moving here with the plan to stay, I urge you to persevere. Push past our barriers.
Because (in my humble opinion) we’re worth it!