Midsummer birthday

birthday; celebrations; mallorca; binissalem; lions club; baldea mallorca; samira dance; dj hernan

Birthday boy & hostess with the mostess

You can tell I don’t go out much if I’m going to write my blog about it!  But I went out at the weekend to a really fabulous party!  It was to celebrate my friend’s husband’s birthday and they were putting on an evening’s gathering for a few friends.  She had me make three cakes for the party and I spent the day chilling and baking before popping them round and then going back for the party later.

I have to say that my friend managed to put on a most amazing evening!  Everything about it was perfect!  The food was to die for and yes, I had seconds.  There was so much of it that I didn’t get to sample the vegetarian couscous that was served up later but I enjoyed salad, quiche, hummus and the most amazing courgettes topped with sour cream – I have asked for the recipe!

There was a DJ playing in the garden along with didgeridoos, steel drum, pipes and a set that lasted most of the evening.  It was the perfect backdrop to chatting with lovely people as sunset came.  I caught up with a couple, neighbours that I’ve known since first born and their middle child were best friends in primary, what fun we had.  I met another woman who became a bff almost immediately and I was gutted to learn that she doesn’t live in Mallorca but she promised to visit when she’s back in September.  I chatted with one of the mums from school and infact all conversations during the evening were fun, relaxed, meaningful and interesting – what a privilege!

Then the very attractive and exotic Samira arrived, dressed to dance her belly dance and how absolutely intriguing was she!  She danced a couple of numbers for us and I couldn’t take my eyes off her, neither could most of the men and I heard one ask his wife if she wanted to learn how to dance like that!  After this, the floor opened and the birthday boy who loves to dance, got up and off they went.

It was at this point I went to find second-born who had been out and about in the village and I really appreciated having been to such a cool party only a few doors away from my home!  On the way out of my friend’s house, I stopped by the gift table and my happiness was complete at knowing some of the most generous people.  She had put out a collection box to collect for two worthwhile charities here in Mallorca.  The first, Baldea, the animal protection association that Petra is part of and who do a great job on the island with a spaying programme of stray cats amongst other things.  Then there was the collection for the Lions Club Palma who have an admirable programme called “Food for All” – feeding the homeless and those living on the poverty line.  On top of the amazing food she cooked and the drinks she served up, the DJ and an exotic dancer who entertained us, she still had more to give!  No gifts required for hubby, instead a super collection was going to those in need and can you believe that each association received 235€ from this awesome party!

Thank you Petra and Rainer for a truly special evening – it was truly a memorable experience and I can’t wait for next year!

DJ Hernán Livolsi                       www.hernanlivolsi.com

Oriental dancer Samira              www.samiramallorca.com

Animal protection Mallorca       http://www.baldea.org

Lions Club                                     http://www.lionsclubpalma.com

Delicious homemade cakes       ME!!

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The sound of music

 

Noah Angel Orchard German; Es P'Dal Binissalem; blues;

First born, second gig!

I went out last night, surprise surprise!  And in Bini too!  The reason?  First-born was playing his second gig with his band, currently going by the name of “The Hats” but that just came to them whilst they were playing last night so it could change!  And what a great gig it was too!

The neighbour was there feeling as proud as I was and at one point he got up and sang a song with his son!  I had gone with my other neighbour and her husband and had so much fun collecting votes, as my dad would say when I would canvas the floor in the village, whilst bumping into people.  The pub/pizzeria was packed as it was also tapas night in the village so everyone was out!

And what a talent!  I shall now spend the next few sentences boasting about my first born as is my right as his mother.  He has a beautiful voice and his guitar playing just gets better and better.  His self presence and command of the stage was mind-blowing, he was born to be up there.  He made his audience very comfortable and that was the atmosphere he created.  I was as proud as punch!

The rest of the band members were equally awesome.  Remy on guitar and voice was also comfortable on stage and made us laugh with his playful way.  Joe Woodman aka José was the crac on harmonica, what a talent! And Omar, my favourite vegetarian, was beautifully lost in his drums and seemed to be in his own paradise.  At one point the four of them were playing whilst facing each other and their connection to each other was a sight to behold.  I could feel the connection it was so palpable!

All in all it was a great evening!  There were more than a few sore heads today, not least my neighbours!!  First-born got back in the early hours and I think I had the proudest mother conversation with him ever, or did I dream that?!

Next Thursday, Bar Es Suro in Binissalem for Thursday tapas – see  you there!

 

Check them out here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVuRY2n2v9E

 

8 years on…

Father and sons

Father and sons

Can you believe it?  Eight years ago I was about to embark on a most terrifying journey – divorce!  It was the most crushing summer of my life, nothing compared to the pain I went through and my immature way of handling things.  I hurt, wow did I hurt.  I was angry and that’s not a nice state of being to either experience or to witness.  During this journey my parents were my rock.  Although I never talked in depth to my dad about things, he was the one who initiated all the telephone calls, handing me over to my mother to go deeper into things.  I got through through all of it thanks to their unwavering support – to me, the boys and to the boys’ father too, they never stopped respecting him as their father.

My best friend Lana, godmother to second born, was also my rock.  She was between living here and back home in Croatia that year but she was there at the end of the phone or right by my side when she would visit.  She was the voice of reason, the voice of calm, the voice of practical common sense and thanks to her I was able to make sure that on a practical, financial level, everything was taken care of for the boys.

It is now eight years since and I rejoice at having received the gift of final separation of a relationship which had fallen dead on its feet without either of us realising at the time.  The journey has been intense and so worthwhile.  I have learned that I do eat more when stressed and I envy all those women who lose tons of weight when they separate, alas it was not meant to be for me!!

I also discovered some really good girlfriends who have been there for me during those hard times and since.  Interestingly enough most of them have left Mallorca since and whilst I miss them very much, I recognise that they were here at a very important time of my life and I thank them from the bottom of my heart – they helped rebuild me.  I am learning to reconnect with people again, slowly but I am getting there and I am starting to see a way forward.

I have done a lot of great things since that summer of 2007.  I went back to work and enjoyed five and a half years in the best job I ever had, working for Planet Space.  I still enjoy connecting with my old bosses and colleagues from time to time, taking along a cake for them to enjoy or just popping in.  I started a Peace Centre which was an ambitious project, stalled but not forgotten.  I have my own weekly radio show, “The Happiness Café” every Monday morning at 10am on Mallorca Sunshine Radio – there’s a plug you can’t ignore!  I am proud of that show and what it stands for and invite you to follow.

The best of all is now, 8 years on, as my ex, our sons’ father has come to live next-door-but-one!  Yes he has taken number 2 in our street and there is only number 4 between our houses.  I am so happy, my hand on my heart, this is the best thing to have happened to our family and no words can describe the joy I feel at having Rob living nearby.  To see how happy the boys are is to feel that Rob and I have come a long way since June 2007.  He still annoys the hell out of me but I am doing his washing until he gets his own washing machine.  The laugh I had with first born when he realised I was hanging out his dad’s washing is priceless – you should have seen the two of us in the garden with me begging him not to tell his friends!  Second born is just a happy bunny, he doesn’t like us arguing but hey, we’re still learning, his father and I!

 

Gratitude

The attitude is gratitude!

The attitude is gratitude!

 

I have been adopting a new morning routine which incorporates being grateful.  This has been wonderful waking up every morning and spending 5 minutes taking time to centre myself and then write a list of what makes me grateful.  They range from my beautiful sons and what they may have said or done; the church bells; the birds outside my window – the list goes on.

Yesterday wasn’t the same though.  I was most ungrateful to have been woken by my neighbour and his hobby of knocking up bits of wood just before 7am and I was not impressed.  It’s interesting how one thing that’s out of sync can knock me back.  I groaned and tried to go back to sleep.  I have to say that my bedroom window is still open for another month and that my room gives over the back yard which is penned in by 4 other neighbours so one can hear everything.

Gratitude – how important is it and how easy is it?  It’s simple when I’m doing well and on top of the world but boy oh boy, it’s a hard slog when I am not feeling good about stuff.  So how important is it?  I realised yesterday that I really have to go beyond the sounds of my neighbour doing his woodwork at 7 in the morning and keep myself centred in me and not lose the gratitude thread.  If I depend on silence and sweet sounds of birds to feel grateful, then I am in trouble!

The day did get better.  I was grateful for the social security office to be efficient and give me the paper I needed.  I was grateful for Guillem in the bank to be enthusiastic about his job and love doing new things like my insurance claim.  I was grateful to dry my washing on the line.  I was grateful to be organised and leave supper ready for the boys as I went off to Palma.  And I was extremely grateful to have so much fun and laughter in my improvisation class in the evening.

I learned a valuable lesson in improv yesterday and that was to be present and trust in myself, my partner or situation of the moment.  I shall take that lesson with me today and the rest of the week and apply it to whatever situation I find myself in.  I am grateful above all for the lesson.

Enjoy your week and being grateful is the first step towards a better life!

And remember to smile, be grateful that you can!

 

On the outside looking in

Photo by Marc Masquiel

Looking….

I have long felt like a foreigner in this world.  Born in Jamaica to a Jamaican mother and a Welsh father, not black –  disappointedly not so.  Arriving on a banana boat in 1966 in England yet not English.  Going “home” to Wales in 1972 yet not Welsh and my father constantly reminding me to remember my Jamaican roots.  Spain ignited a sense of identity only because of the curiosity as to where I was from.  You’re English they’d say when I said I was from Britain and immediately I’d explain my roots and claim that I was British.

Now with the recent and resounding no by some British people living in Scotland, I am not so sure!  For 22 years I used the term British to explain an experience of life in a place that was not mine.  I held a British passport, have done for life and lived in many places until I settled here in Mallorca and then found my home here in Binissalem.  But who and what am I?

I am not Welsh nor am I Jamaican, at least I have never thought so.  Half yes but not whole.  Does it matter?  Having always had a sense of looking inside from the outside, I don’t think so.  Moreover I was always envious of my Welsh family for their ties to the community and so I always hankered for that too.  I found that when I moved to Binissalem in September 1999 just in time for their wine festival.  This year the town celebrates 50yrs of this festival and one can feel the pulsating pride as we move into our second week of festivities.

Last weekend saw the start of the party with the famous grape fight!  As I waited in the plaza along with hundreds of Binissalamers excitedly gathering in front of the town hall, I bumped into first born’s second best friend in the village (the first being put aside once this one arrived on the scene!).  This young lad had come from Asturias a year or two after we had moved here from Palma.  He and first born were inseparable!  Ying and Yang, blond and brunette, two peas in a pod!  They did everything together, spent every spare moment together until they entered their teens when they slowly but surely drifted away from that intense relationship.  Bumping into him in the plaza was a joy, he is a fine young man.  Two kisses, a sincere greeting, but nerves gave him away.  Of course I wanted to know what was the matter.  The answer was “I can’t wait for it to begin” referring to the Vermar, the wine festival!  First born was the same.  Looking inside their lives this past weekend, I felt very much an outsider as I’ve never had those feelings of intensity, of emotion, of excitement.  Call me laid back and Jamaican perhaps?

I cannot remember ever being like first born and this friend and all the other Binissalmers who are so proud, so upright in their conviction that they come from the best place in the world!  I agree with them – Binissalem is the best village in the world!  We are family, we are community, we are one, especially now at the 50th celebration of our wine festival.  Me?  I am one step away from all this, looking in, on the outside by choice, by experience, with love.  I was born foreign and I shall die foreign but home is where the heart is and my heart is here in this welcoming town, this town whose name means Sons of Peace – Binissalem.

Stormy September

They're a big bigger now!

Sons – they’re a bit bigger now!

It’s that time of year again in Mallorca, summer suddenly over and the rains are here.  Or maybe not!  I love getting caught out every year – the rains come down and that’s it, summer’s all over.  Then the heat starts up again and just as we are packing away the summer gear, by the end of September it’s sweltering again.  This year I am forming a deeper relationship with patience and shall not rush to imagine that summer is over, yet.

The true stormy nature of September is quite subtle.  The long school holidays which I enjoy every year end almost abrubtly even though we know to expect this.  Then routine and discipline start asserting their presence and school beckons.  First born doesn’t have to worry about going back to school or uni.  He started a new job last week and was quite gutted to stop camping at the beach, guitar and hammock accessorising his look, surf board and friends at the ready always.  He has a great opportunity to learn in a new job and his total optimism on life certainly impressed me.  When I asked him how much they would pay him, he informed me that they hadn’t actually discussed money at the interview!  My horror expressed itself but he stopped me and said “mum, I trust the boss to pay me well”!  And what is the outcome?!  He has a great new salary for one so young but more importantly, by expecting only the best possible outcome – that’s what he got – positive thinking, positive outcome – good luck son!

Second born and I are nervous about the vuelta al cole as there are going to be big changes and of course, we don’t know what to expect.  However, I am taking on the role of mama wolf and am doing the best to prepare him for the new – more on this in a week or so but please pray for me to keep calm, focussed and strong for the both of us.

Alongside with the cares and concerns of mothering, I am also giving birth to a new project in the form of a peace centre in my village.  The owner, out of the blue, wrote me and offered me use of the finca – in her words:

“to create something there, whatever you can imagine, but you as a special woman, I feel that you are the right one to raise the power of the place”

I have of course said YES!  My vision for a centre of excellence, transformation and well being is about to become reality and I have enormous gratitude to people like her in the world!  Her generosity and trust are powerful indications of how we can all come together and inspire change and the Binissalem Peace Centre is going to be opening soon.  I was fortunate to have eleven friends pop up last week for a little cleaning party – it is 800m2 of finca on 26000m2 of land!  We prepared the small apartment within the finca and they worked hard and enjoyed themselves at the same time – thank you to all of them for taking the time to come up, mops and brooms too!

The end of summer is nearly with us but as Mallorca moves into it’s second spring now, we can see so much growing around us and not only our young!  This is the time for new projects, new lessons and seeds can be planted or harvested.  I know what I’m going to do, do you?

Love is in the air

glynis german, stand up comedian, palma de mallorca, wedding celebrant, self transformation, karl jago, photographer, teatre botiga de buffons, oscar montaner,

Looking good!

What makes summer the perfect time to flirt, fall in love or even tie the knot?  The days are longer, the sun almost always shines (if you live in Spain that is!) and people smile a lot more.

To escape from the heat, we spend long days in the shade but come night fall if you are worth your weight in village gold, then you take your fold up chair and place it outside your house and spend hours into the night chatting with your neighbours and watching the world go by.

One wouldn’t imagine that love was possible from outside your front door on a village street where cars pass by occasionally, but love is there if you look hard enough.

Love of the cooler night air, love of the bonding and community that makes up having the perfect neighbours.  Love even of the little snacks offered between homes and love of the different pets who sit with their owners, yapping if they so desire or an occasional growl if the need arises.

So no new summer romance for me… yet!  But loving to love keeps me sane and preparing for a wedding tomorrow makes me excited.  One couple are spending today nervously preparing to tie the knot and I shall be there as their wedding celebrant, filled with love and wonder!

Happy days – viva el verano!

Saying goodbye and hello to change

Living in a small town on an island, I am used to events in the community which either shock, sadden, amuse or confuse, not just me but the community at large.  This week has seen the demise of some of our senior citizens, one a natural departure, the other – sadly – to a sudden and forced one.  The changes that now face those families will be immense and they will be forced to say hello to the changes happening all around them.

Is there a time when we can put off saying goodbye to change?

Whilst stopping to share a moment with my friend Cati last night in the plaza, we were delighted when the UxB political party showed up with the “bunyols” wagon – greasy, hot, sweet dumplings – cover mine with lots of sugar please!  This is the season to make bunyols and Binissalem is pretty good about it, with stands set up outside people’s homes or at the local bar and last night was no exception in the plaza.  However, UxB were there to collect signatures as our esteemed mayor and company feel that the only way they can deal with their bad management of funds over the past few years is to sell off our water!  So, whilst munching and signing petitions, we are trying to stop change at a level which will see so much socio, economic and cultural devastation if the PP party goes ahead with this absurd plan.  If the mayor and his cronies somehow get away with the privatisation of the water, the economic consequences for the villagers will be huge.  Prices will more than double and we shall be held hostage to a corporation’s piracy.  November 3rd is demo day – see  you outside the Town Hall at 1030 – spread the word!

In my family we have had our own changes and challenges this week.  First born is now living with a good friend in his own apartment in Palma and just started a new job day working on a yacht – could I be saying goodbye to him soon as he goes off on an adventure?  Second born is in the last year of primary and is going through all sorts of changes at school this week, some positive and some just down right confusing and quite unnecessary!

In all of this I am there for them – hopefully a wise and sane constant who at times makes mistakes but who is blessed and honoured to have them choose me to be their mum this time round.

Enjoy your week, embrace each other, and the changes!