Here in Ibiza, it’s a little different – in the summer, we use club nights as a way to tell what day it is (‘Oh, it must be Monday, we’re off to Cocoon.’) and the impending sunset to work out the time (it’s a skill most residents have perfected) and then in the winter, it all just turns into a that slew of days that become nights that become mornings and it all starts over again for those whose seasonal work has come to an end. It’s not like that for everyone of course – Ibiza is still a functioning society when the nightclubs have shut up shop for the winter months. Kids still attend school, mums and dads go to the gym or work after the school run and thousands of people hold down normal, everyday jobs such as working in a bank, a hairdressing salon, a supermarket, a boutique, a pharmacy (have you ever noticed how Ibiza has an extremely high proportion of pharmacies?), a restaurant, the post office, a designer, an architect, a doctor, a yoga teacher or a personal trainer. Or in my case, as a writer. But once every few years, there is that blissful period between Christmas and New Year, when everyone, everywhere in the world, gets to experience the joy of not knowing what day, date and time it is… and the even bigger joy of not having to worry about it. This was one of those years and the shock of having to readjust to your old schedule can feels as tough as the first day of kindergarten for a little kid. The endless Christmas leftovers have dried up, television has reverted to its regular schedule rather than holiday films and the constant buzz of being just a little bit tipsy all the time has become the harsh reality of a few extra pounds around the tummy.
Here in Spain however… that blissful period is slightly extended due to the celebrations of the Day of Three Kings on January 6. Ahh, the Spaniards. They sure do know how to have a holiday or 12, with the extra special custom of a ‘puente’ (bridge) applied when said holiday falls on a weekend or a couple of days short of a weekend. So, if the public holiday is a Tuesday, most schools and businesses also close on the Monday for a puente. Or if the holiday is a Saturday, the Friday is declared the puente. Great news if you’re on the receiving end of said holidays, really quite pesky if you actually want to get something done during that time – especially anything official requiring paperwork or government approval. C’est la vie – or perhaps more appropriately, a sí es la vida. Such is life here in Ibiza, and I for one embrace the traditions of my adopted home. You’ve really got to hand it to the Spanish – forget the 12 days of Christmas, they’ve managed to stretch it out for 16 whole days. If only the leftovers would last that long! Thankfully, when the kings arrive on the island via boat this Saturday, there’ll be no shortage of sweets as they throw them out over the hordes of eager little ones, not to mention the over-eager (and far too old to participate) expats such as myself. Between now and then, I say lap up the luxury of not knowing what day or time it is because before you know it, January 8 will be here and the world will go back to being the same as it ever was. To those in other countries who are already back in their real world routines… think about making the move to Ibiza. The sun is still shining, you don’t even need to wear a coat during the day and there are plenty more public holidays and puentes to come. Who’s tempted?