Wedding-preparations-wise, at the moment, every thing that can possibly go wrong, is. With time speeding by like there’s no tomorrow, we urgently need to finalize and conclude the matters relating to the Public Registry and the Curia. Everyone told me that in order to finalize the PR banns, one of us could do them on our own. So last Tuesday I went with all the documents and details they require, only to be told that both of us needed to be present! A’s next visit is 2 weeks from now, which will be 6 weeks before the wedding, which is the latest it can all be done! So putting the PR matters to a side, I turned to the Curia banns, and A’s archpriest notified us that he could not give us the necessary documents signed by him since A’s baptism certificate lists his date of birth incorrectly! The idiots changed the year by 2 years! To complicate matters, since A wasn’t baptised in Gozo, I had to go the parish where he was baptised, which is in Malta.
I had to go to Malta as well in order to present some documents at a governmental department in Valletta. The clerks here in Gozo told me that in Malta, the office would be open till four, which was perfect, since I had to meet the archpriest at half four. Arriving in Valletta at three, I found the governmental department closed, with a sign on the door that they closed at one! I said nothing and went to visit the archpriest, who wasn’t in office. Another priest told me “Dak ibierek ikun illum” (simply put, he was out of office for the whole afternoon). He then showed me the street where he was and off I went, hoping to see, meet and recognize this priest whom I never met.
Around half an hour later, I see the small-like procession coming out of a block of flats and I rushed over to him. He told me had expected me in the morning, and that it was impossible to meet me then. Feeling panic rising by the second, I asked him when was possible and he told me “Tomorrow at 8am”. Basically that means me having to wake up at 6am.
I woke up, caught the ferry, drove to meet the archpriest, found his office closed, saw him walking past the office (“gej sekonda, ghax sejjer inqarben”) and he finally opened his office. He looked at the PR birth certificate I had with me, and told me “hmmmm, no this isn’t enough. You have to go to Valletta and get me the Live Birth Certificate”.
Before going on, let me tell you that in Gozo, our dress code is much more lax and flexible. A jeans and a smart top are acceptable and is the norm. However in Malta, everyone is in their suits and heels and designer bags. The one day a couple of summers ago, that I went to these governmental departments wearing, oh-horror-of-horrors, flat shoes and a summery dress, I felt like a pauper amongst princes! So I had my heels on for the day….Like an idiot I spent thirty minutes driving round Valletta trying to find the closest parking next to the Evans Building because of my heels of course. Please note I had no idea where Evans Building was, so I parked next to yesterday’s government dept, where I managed to do everything, and headed off to search for Evans Building. After the whole of Valletta told me to ‘keep walking, ‘keep walking downwards’, I finally arrived (I could not go further down since it’s near the sea!) I went upstairs and asked for this blessed certificate. The clerk told me that I could not collect it then, but had to wait 4 working days!! I felt like screaming, and calmly asked her whether I could collect it then because 4 working days was a tad too much. She ‘went to ask her superior’ and surprise, surprise, came out with the certificate.
The nice thing was that when I gave the archpriest the certificate, he opened a drawer, took out a big Vascas bag, and gave me a lovely silver cross pendant 🙂 I think he must have appreciated my effort!! My feet don’t though, because they’re covered with bandages and it’s flat shoes tonight and tomorrow, I’m guessing!
On a different note, one thing I noticed today, sadly enough, is how much poverty still exists in Malta. Whilst waiting for the archpriest this morning, a 50something year old lady came waiting. She started telling me about how she lived with her 24 year old daughter who had two children and a very serious drug problem. She was taking her mother’s pension and locking her up in a room with a bed and a small tv which she told me hardly ever works! To come visit the priest, she had to leave her daughter’s house at 5 in the morning, so the daughter wouldn’t notice! So the poor lady is trying to find alternative residences, such as an old persons’ home, because she told me that there, she’ll definitely be better off! Her words were ‘at least I can come and leave as I please’, not stuck watching her grandchildren. I find it so sad that a mother who is still young, has to resort to finding a home to go live in, because her own child does not appreciate having her still around! That is just mean and wrong on so many levels I think it’s better for me to stop now, or else no one will.
During my crusade to Evans Building, the further down I walked, the more poverty was evident. Coloured people were popping out of places I didn’t even realize had doors in them till you saw them coming out. Pregnant women smoking near the grocer shop, and children playing outside ! There was a woman, or better still a young girl, maybe around 20, with a baby in a stroller, and she was washing the front porch of a house, wearing a nearly-transparent pink dress (I have one I sleep in – it’s just like a longish tee shirt), with black underwear underneath!
Whoever said poverty does not exist, has definitely not been to certain parts of the island!