By Shirley Roberts
And all other small towns…
The Hallmark Movies on TV are sugar sweet and will hardly win any Oscars.
There’s a ‘small town’ theme running through most of them. The hero or heroine has left for the big City for education or a fine job and said goodbye to small town roots. Something happens and they return for Christmas, illness, death or other life event. Their consciousness is opened to all the wonderfulness that was obvious to others before they left. Their eyes weren’t open then but on their return they find love and contentment and then the movie ends.
Soller’s children often move away for education and jobs. They know the rules and will return for fiestas and Christmas. They are Solleric at heart and know what is expected of them. Many of them eventually return for good because the life they want is largely here. This is especially true when they are ready to have children.
The incomers to this world have to find their place. If they relocate to Calvia or Pollensa they are often amongst others who speak their language doing the same thing. It is still ‘small town’ but they have made an easier start to relocation than other places on the island.
The Soller world is different as the numbers of resident English speakers is a small proportion of the whole. Many arrive here wanting a Mallorquin experience and will do all they can to integrate into the tight knit local Solleric community. Others say they came here for the house they were able to build or acquire, the weather and the ability to live their lives as they choose. Many of them are not interested in fiestas, local life or integration. The location in the mountains, near the sea, and the lifestyle this gives, is their deciding factor.
Sollerics know they will always see one another in the Market on Saturday mornings. They will be in the square for all the celebrations of Fiestas and allow time and money to participate. Many incomers avoid these occasions and do not buy into the rhythms of life here and prefer to evolve their own routines. They think about whether they will join in and participate and this is very strange to most Sollerics. They certainly do not have to think about whether they will join in or not.
Language is the important factor here. Many new arrivals become friends with each other because they speak the same language. They might have absolutely nothing in common except the language. This means that some relationships will die once it is realised they are poles apart in lifestyle choices and interests. Others have a very different experience and find their absolute best friends in relocation. A joint language might have been the starting point but shared experiences can cement friendships.
Small town life is lived here and is usually augmented by trips to the City. To get on the plane back to London, Manchester, Glasgow or Cardiff is a given in the ex-pat world. We have missed the ability to do just that and re -boot ready for the next season of small town life Soller style.
Small town life is again being discovered as a consequence of Covid. Lockdown and restrictions were hard in small apartments and city centres. Many are making choices to move to larger properties and village life. They are looking for what many of us have already got. So we finish as we started in the Hallmark movie – small town life with all its foibles is really where all want to be…
The debate will continue…