The Chronicles of a Rep in Ibiza and Charlie the cat

 

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View of Santa Eulalia from the apartment balcony

My favourite destination in all my years being a holiday rep was Ibiza!

Prior to going, my only image was of huge nightclubs, dancing til dawn , Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs, Paris Hilton and tons of other celebs who frequented the island during the height of summer.

Ibiza is the one place that would be considered a reps dream destination! Who doesn’t want to drink and party until sun rise…or watch the world’s BEST sunset sipping sangria with hundreds and thousands of people from all over the world? Ibiza is pure heaven…and I recommend any newbie to consider a placement there at least once in their career.

All of that partying is truly wonderful…all of that sunset-watching is enjoyable…but there comes a point where all of that becomes monotonous and all you really prefer to do is rent a dvd and snuggle up with your cat….

As a rep you are definitely NOT allowed to have a pet in your accommodation. It is one of the rules that is clearly stipulated…right next to “No smoking” and “NO chewing gum” in uniform. But there are ways to get away with smoking in uniform, or chewing the odd gum or two…and strangely enough, there are ways to get around the whole “pet” thing too. *cue mischievous smile*.

During this particular season, I worked in Santa Eulalia in Ibiza and it was a great location that was a little bigger than a village, but smaller than a town. It was a mix of modern, contemporary and old. It had a great marina, cute little beach bars, fabulous restaurants from Thai to Italian, unique bars and overall, it had a wonderful feeling about it. Because there wasn’t anywhere for me to live that particular season, I had to share an apartment with the team leader in the area. For anyone who doesn’t already know this, the team leader accommodation is literally 1 step down from a manager’s accommodation…so yes…for the first time since becoming a rep, I was living in what most would call the “lap of luxury”. A 6th floor apartment overlooking the marina and the sea, within easy walking distance to all my hotels and amenities – and close enough to KFC/Pizza Hut so they could deliver!! Thats right people…KFC delivered!!! Talk about landing in paradise! My dreams had come true that season for sure – I got Ibiza as my placement (which, along with Cyprus, was damn hard to get), I got the area where I wanted to work…and as an added bonus, I got to live in a fabulously furnished apartment with a proper kitchen, comfy sofas, a TV and DVD player and the perfect view! Oh….and did I mention that the DVD rental store was 2 doors away from my apartment – right next to the little shop where my roomie and I bought all our snacks and drinks for our continual movie nights? Yeah…thats right people…I WAS IN HEAVEN!!!066

Finally having an accommodation that felt more like “home” instead of a prison cell, was certainly a refreshing change. But as anyone knows, a home never feels quite right without a pet. Do not get mistaken, I was definitely not going to go out of my way to break any rules by purchasing a pet…and I certainly was not actively looking for one under rocks and in bushes…but if one happened to stumble upon my path, I definitely wasn’t planning on thinking too hard or too long about calling it my own.

As luck would have it, this one fateful morning I headed to my usual duties in a hotel which had approximately 4 guests, and it was here that I simply sat and stared at the walls hoping and praying for the time to end. As I saw the time drawing to a close, I breathed a sigh of relief and quickly packed up and rushed out the entrance. Lo and behold, there he was! He was the sweetest, friendliest cat you could ever imagine. He was just sitting there, waiting for any random person to show him affection…so I obliged. Now of course, I did not immediately think about claiming him as my own since cats have absolutely no loyalty, and this cat probably wandered off because he was tired of his owners. I petted the little creature and I headed off in the direction of my next hotel – not giving it another thought.

After the usual afternoon siesta, I made my way back to the hotel where I had seen the cat – and as I walked up the stairs of the entrance there he was again. Just sitting there, looking all lonely and sad. I bid him hello, gave him a courteous rub on the head and walked into the hotel. My interest was piqued now…why was this cat hanging out at the entrance of this hotel that barely had any guests in it…especially any guests that would even give him the time of day. Strange I thought. And even stranger when I asked the reception staff if anyone knew who the cat belonged to and all of them said they didn’t know. Hmmmm.

Once my shift had ended I knew what I had to do…I was going to commit the ultimate sin…I was going to kidnap the cat! I knew that this was what I had to do…the cat was probably looking for a new owner…and I decided I was up for the task! I scooped the cat up, and since I didn’t have a box, I stuff the cat into my work bag…which was pretty tricky. The cat was very friendly on the ground…but funnily enough he did not take too kindly to being kidnapped and stuffed in a bag that was certainly not suited for catnapping purposes. Now this is where it got really tricky – the walk from that hotel to my apartment was a bit of a distance – about 20 mins to be exact. Try adding extra weight to that distance and having to fight with a wriggling bag and look normal in the process…that 20 minutes felt like hours! The other part of the plan I forgot to factor in was that I had to visit one more hotel before the end of my evening shift. YUP! A cat screaming from my bag, trying to act normal and praying to god that a manager didn’t decide to “pass by” had me on edge. I was obviously NOT about to finish my duties for the evening…instead I was headed back to the apartment with my furry captive and help him settle into his new home instead!

How I managed that 20 minute walk without appearing insane I am not sure…how I made it into my apartment building and in the elevator without encountering my neighbours I have no idea…and I have no clue what was going through my mind when I finally sat on the sofa and opened my bag to release my captive. All I knew is I was SUPER excited for my roommate to come home so that she could meet our new pet for the season!

Yeah…good question…how was I so sure how my roommate (my team leader, by the way) was going to feel about breaking the rules and having a cat…in an APARTMENT on the 6th floor?? Yeah…potato patato, tomato, tamato…who cared! What was there not to love about a purring ball of fluff!

Thankfully when my roommate returned home that evening she was so excited! We set about naming our new friend and eventually decided on Charlie. Charlie was our new pal and he accepted us as his new owners, friend and family. Charlie was a well trained apartment cat. He had no desire to run through the front door and make a bolt for the outside world. He was happy chilling on the sofa or perched precariously on the balcony ledge…which really made my stomach lurch. Even when the other reps came around, they were totally not bothered about Charlie either. It was as if Charlie was meant to be with us…and that was the routine of our summer season. 098

Now, the downside of any season is that it must come to an end…but before it does, certain things can occur:

  • Your roommate has an accident and the manager comes to visit
  • The owner of the apartment is selling it and must show potential buyers around

 

Ahh yes…the 2 most agonizing occasions, especially when one has broken the sacred commandment between rep and company, which of course means the company has broken that rule outlined by the owner of the property! I knew I was well and truly FUCKED! Now any sensible rep would probably have done the obvious…thank the cat for the happy memories and wonderful cuddles and then dump its ass on the street and hope that another kind soul finds it. Well, I did not do that…instead I bribed the cat with food and snacks and locked its ass in my wardrobe and prayed that it did not get frightened and start mewing. As my luck would have it, it started mewing and I started coughing! I think the owner of the apartment thought I was a frigging nutcase…or seriously ill…he did grab his potential buyer and bid a hasty retreat out of there before either of them caught my cooties.

Despite those 2 incidents, it was a happy occasion and Charlie was great comfort to me especially when my roommate had to return to Scotland for about a month and a half due to her illness. Charlie kept me company and for the first time as a rep abroad in a strange country, I finally felt like I was “home”. Saying goodbye to Charlie at the end of the season was VERY emotional, and my roommate and I made sure that he went to a good home. I still think about Charlie, and thanks to him, I will always remember my adventures in Ibiza. 068

 

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Finding my twin flame

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From I was a little girl, I would read every fairytale ever written and daydream about prince charmings, knights in shining armour and fabulous hero’s that would swoop in to save the day. As I grew older I held on steadfast to the belief in the “happily ever after” concept, and hoped and prayed that one day I would stumble upon my prince.

After multitudes of failed relationships under my belt, my belief of the fairytale soon waned and I too (like the majority of the world) became blasé about that so-called “happy ending”. Did it ever really exist? Was it simply a story for little girls? Or was it only reserved for a special set of people? Whichever was the case, my childhood dream was dwindling fast, and those fabulous daydreams were looking more like nightmares.

Regardless of my continual search, my heart was still full of love and hope that the next one would be “the one”. However, somehow the Universe had other plans for my heart …6 years of utter turmoil from losing 4 very close and personal family members caused a wall to build, and my heart to be locked behind a cage. I took that key and I threw it away…4 times my heart was ripped from my chest –  I honestly had nothing left to give.
I turned my back on fairy tales, and I resigned myself to the fact that my only happy ending would be one that involved me, and only me. I cried to the Universe and told it that I no longer cared. I didn’t need to love anyone except the beauty that the Universe surrounded me with. I was tired, broken and frail. I turned to myself and made my plan to forgo searching and just accept that “true love” would not exist for me in this lifetime…I was meant to learn other things…and that is exactly what I proceeded to do.

I started a spiritual journey of retrospection and growth. I embraced Life and its blessings, and I learned to accept and love myself instead of trying to love someone else. I meditated and soared to heights that some people can only dream about. I started reading books that opened my mind not my heart. I soon understood that the fairy tales were never about finding love, they were about BEING love.

In December 2014 I wrote a blog entitled “Is this ‘real’ love that I am feeling” …little did I know that by simply BEING love…love would be waiting around the corner, and the answers I posed to the Universe back then would be answered within a few months.

This love is not one of giddy skipped heartbeats, it is not one of excitement and fascination, it is not overwhelming and anxious. It is not the hearing of harps or the feeling of fluttering stomachs. It is a love not felt by the heart, but a love felt by the soul. It is a love that has no words and no sound. It is a love that just exists…just as the sun rises and the water flows. It is a love that loses track of time and simply blows like the breeze. It is a love that has no constraints, needs or wants. It is a love that has its own energy. It is a love that needs no explanations or validations. It is a love that simply ‘is’. It is the love where two souls connect and there are no words, or not enough words, to portray the magnitude of feelings.

Just like the breeze blows and the sea ebbs, he flew into my life on the winds of change. I had no idea that I  would meet someone who would know me better than I know myself. I had no idea I would meet someone who could look into my eyes and see my thoughts. Not for one second did I think I would meet someone who I knew with every fiber of my being was a version of me in male form. This perfect creature cares not about my past,  he only wants to be my future…and without a doubt, I want to be his.

Who would have thought that this wonderful man would end up to be my hero, my prince charming…my fairy tale romance. Who could have thought that he was out there all along waiting for the alignment of the Universe so that he could stride into my life and sweep me off my feet. He is my best friend, my lover, my family, and above all he is my twin flame.

This too shall pass

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Winston (Kapoo)

People walk into your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime. Each person has an influence or an impact on your character and your personality. Some help to mold you into the person you become and some are a sign post for who you want to be. I have had the pleasure of encountering so many beautiful souls who have made a lasting impression on me and who have crawled beneath my skin to become more than just ‘friends’…they have become family.

My life has been blessed. Each step I took along a path which seemed unclear and shrouded by darkness, these wonderful souls helped to light the way with their kindness, love and comfort.

I would not call myself religious. I am a spiritual being trying to make sense of this crazy world. I’m simply trying to connect with like minded individuals who I believe are part of my ‘soul group’. We are able to speak the same language effortlessly and easily without disdain, intolerance or sheer ignorance. We are connected by a higher power and even though we are not on the same journey, we are all on the same path of higher level of understanding.

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Carol and Bryan (Nanny and Grandad)

As I lay in my bed last night doing a little meditation, I had a brief flashback to a time merely 3 months ago when I held the hand of a man I grew to call my step dad….

I was roused out of my sleep at 3am by the nurse who told me to come quickly because my step dad was on his final ascent to the heavens. I remember feeling a huge burden of relief knowing that this was it…he was finally out of his misery. 2 years of pain and 6 months of absolute suffering was coming to an end, and for that I was indeed thankful.

As I walked into the room and I sat on the bed, I held his hand and rubbed his face. He was moaning so loudly with this blank expression on his face. He was looking at me as if he was trying to talk to me…but couldn’t. I kept telling him we would be Ok. Everything was going to be Ok. He needed to stop worrying and walk into the Light and allow the pain to diminish. It was a bizarre 20 mins or so as the moaning ceased, he closed his eyes and started to breathe rapidly. I was unsure if this was the actual end or simply a passing phase caused by the sickness.

It wasn’t until the nurse told me he was gone that I suddenly felt shell-shocked. He couldn’t be gone, I thought. He was only holding his breath. He would soon look at me and give me his usual reply when I asked how he was doing, “never better”. But it was not to be so, because this time, there was no reply…there was just deafening silence.

This wonderful, upstanding, kindhearted gentleman was my mothers partner for 19 years. He loved her with all his heart and soul…and in turn he loved me and my daughter with every fiber of his being. He was a man of few words and a man of even less affection…but his little Chloe was the apple of his eye and reduced him to a big soft-hearted giant. Even though he was a workaholic by nature, he made an effort to rush home every evening so he could see her before she went to bed. Chloe was a blessing for him. He knew that she was a little slice of the woman he loved so dearly, and for that reason he cherished her as if she was his own flesh and blood.

I never properly allowed myself to grieve and mourn his passing. I have spent my time trying to follow in his footsteps keeping everything going. I have ‘manned’ up to the situation and become the breadwinner. I have put my own womanly feelings aside and immersed myself in work and daily chores in an effort to keep my mind off my loss. Last night I was reminded that its not been 3 years…its only been 3 months…and its Ok to feel tired. Its Ok to feel alone. Its Ok to feel lost and confused. Its Ok to cry every time someone mentions his name. I guess I squashed my emotions when my mum died because I was pregnant, and now I’m doing the same thing because I refuse to allow myself to appear helpless.

I have had so many people rally around me offering support…some I have ignored, some I have thanked graciously and some I have opened up to. Weird thing is, no one will ever understand the deep pain and the fresh wound that I try to bandage each day. I meditate, I breathe it out, I release the thoughts and energy into the universe, I burn incense and I pray. I pray everyday for strength. I pray everyday that I make it to the next day. I pray that I can remain calm and unnerved. I pray for peace of mind and determination. Above all, I pray that I will be ok.

I thank God that Winston walked into our lives all those years ago, and I thank Life for blessing me and Chloe with the most amazing man who was our lighthouse in the dark. Unfortunately that lighthouse glow is now diminished…and as I sit in this boat bobbing on the ocean of Life, I try hard to steer me and my daughter to safety and away from the treacherous obstacles. I sit in the boat and I reminisce about all the people I have loved and lost, those who have been my rock when I needed it the most, and those who continue to offer a dim glow which remains as constant as the stars in the sky.

I know that my feelings of distress and loneliness are but fleeting because… “this too shall pass”.

The moment my repping days came to an end.

mummyYesterday made 6 years that my mummy passed away. She succumbed to her illness at approximately 11.30pm on April 23rd 2009. Today, I figured it would only be right to dedicate this blog in her memory, since my blog profile picture is her at the age of 10.

My mummy is my inspiration in everything I do, say and think. It was with her support and her encouragement that I was able to accept every challenge and obstacle in my life with grace and poise. It is because of her why I am who I am, and it is because of her love of the creative why I have started blogging.

My mum was a lawyer by profession, but as the years passed she morphed and changed like a caterpillar into a butterfly (several times). She was an author, a certified reiki practitioner, a mediator, a yoga enthusiast and fluent in french. Above all, she was a best friend, a confidante, a motivator, a hero…a mother!

She allowed me to soar high like an eagle, and if there were times my wings failed, she was always there to catch me. She always stood in my corner, ready to help me fight any battle – especially if she knew I was right. She gave me free reign to express myself and to grow freely like a beanstalk. She told me once – “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. You can do anything once you set your mind to it”. She had a loving hug and a listening ear for every one of my friends – and all of them were known as “sweetie” and “sweetheart” as far as she was concerned.

The day she died it felt like the rug had been pulled from under me. It felt like I was free falling in an abyss with no sign of hitting the ground. I felt like I was in a dream which had suddenly turned into a nightmare. I felt hopelessly alone while surrounded by so many people. I did everything in an expressionless daze, totally unaware of the harsh reality that I was presented with. That was the precise moment my holiday repping days were over for good.

Every time I would close my eyes I hoped my mother was going to walk through the door. I had actually made myself believe that she had only gone for a little holiday and she would be back very soon. 6 years later…and she still hasn’t come back from her little holiday. I guess I’ve had to make peace with the fact that she’s never coming back.

I have framed pictures of her all over my house so that I can be reminded of her beautiful smile every day. Her smile could light up the darkest night, and it is her smile that I remember the most. It’s weird – as the time passes, the memory of her starts to fade…but her smile is what stays with me. I can no longer hear her laughter, or smell her perfume. I can barely see her face in my head, or remember the tales she would tell. Everything seems to be faraway memory…so faint…almost unreal.

My daughter did not get a chance to know her grandma – and for that reason I live forever in a state of sadness. My mum wanted grandchildren so badly. She used to tease me that I was going to have 10 and all of them would love her and call me ‘mean mummy’. (*smile*). I would throw back my head in fits of hysterics at the thought of 10 children, and I would say, “That’s absolutely fine. You can keep them! I don’t want 10 children anyway”. I didn’t know I was pregnant when I sat by my mother’s death bed. I never found out until after she was gone. If she had known would she have fought a little harder? Would she have stuck around a little longer? Would she have recovered completely? These thoughts are just ‘what if’s’ that float around my mind – I am fully aware that I will never know.

We didn’t always see eye to eye – but who does as a teenager? I really couldn’t stand her though, and I used to wish she was dead. As far as I was concerned my life would have been easier without her in it! Stupid teenager I was! – wishing my mother dead because she said I couldn’t go to some dumb party. Looking back, I’m appalled that those thoughts even came into my head. How could I have been so callous and unloving? What could have been so bad? As a teenager you never think your parents are going to die…they’re invincible. In your 20’s you never think your parents get sick…they’re unstoppable. So you can imagine the shock and the horror when you receive a phone call from halfway across the other side of the world, in a totally different time zone, and hear the immortal words – “whatever I say…don’t panic!”.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was working in Fuerteventura (the Canary Island), and the phone rang. It was my mum. She sounded a little weak, but nothing to get overly concerned about. She made casual conversation, and then said,

“I wasn’t planning on saying anything. I would have preferred if you found out after I was gone. I’m sick. I have breast cancer. Its stage 4 and there’s nothing they can do. I was told I had to tell you – but I didn’t want to”.

Nothingness is probably the only word I can use to describe the emotion I felt in that moment. I didn’t know what to say, do or think. This was in the February – I had just left in January after spending 2 months with her. I didn’t notice anything strange then and she definitely didn’t say anything. What on earth happened in the space of a month? Why was she telling me this now? Was this a sick cruel joke – if it was, it wasn’t funny.

I flew back home March 2009, when the company could finally release me, and I will admit wholeheartedly I ignored what I had been told. I saw her lying in the bed looking frail, but 2 months prior she and I were driving and behaving as if nothing was wrong. Who was that person lying in the bed pretending to be sick. I had convinced myself it was a joke…and she would jump up and go “GOTCHA!”. The only “gotcha” I got was when the doctor called to tell me she had passed away, just after a week of being admitted into hospital for dehydration. I guess she got her wish in the end – I got that final phone call from a stranger after all.

Just when I think I have cried all the tears I have left – a fresh wave of tears trickle slowly down my face. I could write and say that this time of year is especially hard – but I’m made of stronger stuff. I could say that some days I don’t want to face being a mother or an employee. I could say that there are moments when I want to run… to run fast and far away. But I can’t say any of that.  Because my mother is – and always will be- my inspiration. Her tenacity for life, her youthful demeanor and her positive outlook, is what gets me through my darkest days – and when all else fails – I remember that smile… that smile that could light up the darkest room

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