Wisdom comes to those who have endured years of trudging through and overcoming a variety of trials and tribulations. Surely there’s the occasional shortcut, right? We at Affordable Mallorca think there is an easier, softer way and it’s called Insight. Here are nine chunks of knowledge that would otherwise be unforeseeable, and difficult to plan for.
1 - Feeling a sense of community #
Making new friends after moving to Mallorca was nothing like my years at University. As I started looking for new recruits worthy of joining my very own gang of expats, I found the process to be a bit like the academic side of school, math in particular. I had to really work for it.
Mallorca is arguably one of the hottest holiday destinations in Europe, meaning it’s exceptionally transient. Expats come and go but Mallorquins maintain in their tight-knit communities, planning for the next fiesta. It is up to you to create the community you crave. Participate in the events taking place around you. Learn about the history and culture of the island. Whatever you do, do not postpone learning the language!
You may be asking, “I want to be a part of things, but how can I do that whilst I learn the language?” Click here to read the best guide to learn to speak like a local.
Affordable Mallorca Call to Action:
Be resourceful! Join online groups through Facebook, like Mallorca Expats. There are many different types of groups and networking organisations, but is it important to understand their underlying ethos and motivation. Some are just advertising channels. Others truly aim to served their community with clear rules, only permitting vetted referrals and offering meaningful informative interactions.
Follow Affordable Mallorca on Facebook and organize a get together based on the trustworthy articles to explore villages, coves, markets etc. Just use the search functionality for +460 original conversation starter ideas on your own social media.
Also, volunteer! There is no better way to meet people that are passionate about the same things that you are. See: Ultimate Guide for Volunteers here.
These are tried-and-true theories on how to make friends. Don’t bother with the bars and nightclubs. Those party animals will be gone in a week.
Disclaimer: Please, USE CAUTION when attending online meet-ups. The buddy system is a thing for a reason.
2 - Menú del Día #
Indulge like a local by asking about the Menú del Día, which includes a three-course meal served with water and wine, usually for less than a tenner!
Interesting Fact: The Menú del Día was introduced during Franco’s reign to ensure locals could get a sustainable meal at a fair price.
3 - Work Hours aren't always as they seem #
It’s not uncommon to arrive at a business or restaurant and find the door to be locked, although the hours on the door say otherwise. Remember, you’re on island time now. It’s also worth noting that a task or mission you may expect to take twenty minutes often ends up taking a couple of hours.
4 - Diversity #
*WRITER’S TOP PICK*
Undoubtedly, the greatest reward I feel Mallorca has to offer. I love that at a table of ten, half or more are typically from different countries. Naturally, there will be a difference of ideas and opinions, spatial awareness, political and religious beliefs, values, even of time management. Simply speaking, this is just a bi-product of cultural diversity, but please don’t label this as a problem, rather, a remarkable gift. We all have one common thread and what could be more dazzling and awe-inspiring than average incredibles from all across the globe, coming together to live their life on the beautiful island of Mallorca?
5 - Locals are driven by love, not money (most of the time) #
This took some time to acknowledge, but I must say, I admire this about the Mallorquins. When I signed my lease with my landlord a few years ago, he shared some insight with me. He said, on behalf of all Mallorquins, that they choose their tenants based on their gut instinct. He insisted he would not rent to someone if he didn’t believe they would respect and appreciate his home as he did, regardless of how much money they offered. Mallorquins' primary focus is on their family and close personal relationships, then siestas. Quite beautiful, I think.
6 - Yes, you will need warm winter clothes #
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Mallorca isn’t a tropical island. Sure, it isn’t Norway either, but having grown up in Michigan, I’d like to think I know a thing or two about cold weather. Mallorca doesn’t get heaps of snow like the Mid-west of America, but the moisture in the air and the wind can have you convinced snow is coming.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average lows during January and February are eight degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit). Other sources say as low as five.
Hey, cheer up though! Long summers allow plenty of time for exploring the more than 260 beaches - and more Blue Flag beaches than anywhere else in Europe - decorating the island, but during winter, keep in mind that with the rain comes canyoning, a gentler sun equals epic hikes and comfortable conditions for rock climbing. Those gusty winds are nothing more than an invite to take up kite-surfing!
7 - Parking tickets #
Here is something only ‘real’ islanders know about. Inevitably, you will be late getting back to your car. Waiting for you will be a parking ticket tucked neatly under your windscreen wiper. If you’re still within the hour of which your ticket expired, it only costs €5.50, which you can pay at the same machine you bought the ticket from. Most have instructions in English. Follow them and put the receipt along with the exact change into the little envelope they issue with the ticket and slip it in the opening at the top of the parking pillar. BOOM! Just like that you’re already ahead of the game.
8 - Language spoken in public schools #
*AM Top Tip for Parents*
Did you know Mallorca public schools aren’t taught in Spanish or Castellano but in Catalan, the local language? Be sure to do your research. Private English/Spanish speaking schools will mean an extra expense, one you will need to budget for!
9 - Stay open-minded #
You can plan and prepare until the cows come home, but regardless of your longitude and latitude or what language your neighbour speaks, life will still throw lemons. Sure, Mallorca’s lemons are vibrant and delicious, but let’s not forget, a lemon is a lemon. Pack patience and tolerance, don’t try and force things, and don’t underestimate the importance of ‘siesta time’. You’ve been drawn to this magical island for a reason, try not to lose sight of what brought you here.
By Delia Paul
9 June, 2020