Ten years ago last weekend I drove a mini metro through France to Barcelona, got lost, couldn’t find the ferry port, almost had a nervous breakdown, found the ferry port with 2 minutes to go, and arrived finally in Mallorca with two cats and a car full of equipment for my new business to join my then boyfriend, now husband, who had moved a couple of months earlier when he’d been offered a job. I can look back on that day, and still remember every single event in it: including the egg sandwich my mum sent me off with at 6am from her house in France, and the hyperventilating cats that didn’t stop complaining for the whole 48 hour journey from London to Palma.
Ten years on, and what has changed? Well, the signposts for the ferry off the Barcelona ring road haven’t improved by all accounts, my spoken Spanish still leaves something to be desired, and I have yet to actually lie down on a beach for long enough to get a real tan (it’s all tanning fakery if you ever see me any other colour except “pale blue with freckles”). Mallorca is still as beautiful as it was when I first fell in love with the place, and I am still friends with some of the people that I first met when I arrived. Some have fallen by the wayside, moved on or away, but this leaves room for new friends and new experiences: this something I had to learn to cope with, the transience of island life.
It’s not always easy to live in Mallorca, but I still love it. I love living here and watching our daughter grow up in a beautiful, natural way, speaking three languages, playing in the sunshine and in the sea, getting a great education in a nice setting with her school in Port Andratx and the fabulous people at Kip McGrath. Our daughter is developing into a young person with her own ideas and opinions, something which makes me very proud. My husband and I have been through business success, and failure, and success again, and we’ve become part of our community here on the island, trying to contribute in the best ways that we can. Sometimes we’ve thought about going back to the UK ourselves. We left behind good jobs with great prospects to move to an island where we’ve had to fight for everything we have, nothing has been easy to get. What about the future, where will we be in another ten years’ time? I haven’t a clue, but wherever we are I hope we will be living our lives to their fullest capacity and enjoying ourselves, challenging and pushing ourselves to do more things. When you see what you can do in difficult circumstances it certainly gives you the courage to keep trying to do more.
Does that mean we’re proud of what we have achieved? You bet your life it does.