We didn't have a leaving party when we moved to Mallorca. We didn't want to make a fuss. After all, what if it didn't work out?
Instead, we just packed up our things and left quietly, promising to stay in touch, wondering to ourselves how long before we saw our friends and family...
It turns out when you move to a place like Mallorca, people come to visit you!
In four month, we've had 16 visitors. Unlike in pricey old London, we've been able to offer them the spare bedroom, as oppose to the sofa in the living room. The extra space has meant each visit has gone very smoothly, because everyone has had privacy. My advice on the visitor front is, only say YES if:
1. YOU LIKE THEM
When moving to a beautiful island, people will inevitably want to take advantage and stay with you to avoid hotel costs. Be firm. Or if not firm, inventive with your excuses. Only say yes to people you genuinely like, otherwise you'll feel resentful.
2. THEY ARE NOT FUSSY EATERS
You don't want to be traipsing around restaurants for hours because your guest only eats food cooked in avocado oil. If they are going to spend more time picking tomatoes out of their salad than talking to you, think twice about inviting them. The ideal visitor thinks everything is DELICIOSO, like my mother-in-law. Ten points to her.
3. THEY'LL CHIP IN
Your home isn't a hotel, even though you jokingly call it one. You must pluck up the courage to tell your guest if they take the proverbial wee wee.
I'm not writing from experience, it just seems like common sense. All our visitors have been much-loved, easy-going and generous.
There have been so many highlights. Having my brother over for 9 whole days was amazing. Getting to know my husband's childhood friend from Colombia via Australia was also special.
Only yesterday my mother and father -in-law left after a month's stay in which we popped over to the mainland. In Jerez we breathed in air sweetened with sherry, in Seville we caught a rare glimpse of spontaneous street Flamenco. My own lovely parents, auntie and uncle, and incredibly, my 92 year old Gramma, also came over for a week on the island to coincide with my in-laws visit.
To be honest, I find myself quite bewildered to be suddenly sitting alone in such a quiet flat, which is probably why I'm scribbling this down.
Surely I must be relieved to have some alone time?
Certainly for my writing's sake, I do need to close the hotel for a couple of months. It has been tricky trying to squeeze in a thousand words here and there and it's quite likely I take on the Nanowrimo challenge in November (50,000 words in one month) to make up for it.
It's also been wonderful to have so many visitors, and it makes us feel like we haven't left everyone far behind. In fact, every time I go to the airport to pick someone up or drop them off, and not be leaving myself, it makes Mallorca feel a little bit more like home.