The news that we are moving back to The Rock is slowly starting to spread. The rumour mills might have got the timing correct, but they have gone slightly off-mark with the reasons for our move – the most popular reason seems to be the one that we’ve gotten bored of England, home-sick of Malta and could not wait to come back. Totally untrue, but I know better than to try and correct anyone.
We visited Malta many times during the time we spent living in England, however we always kept our ‘holiday-mode’ on. We never worried about small but important things when here – my lovely mother used to clean our home whenever we visited, A’s mother used to stock up on our fruits and milk and A’s father always took care of small maintenance works which needed to be done. This time round I’ve started to integrate more fully with the people and the way of living here. It is a hassle leaving a country and cutting off all ties with it. And it is no less easy setting up a new home. The house we used one weekend a month is now our home, we are setting it up and it’s nearly done – it’ll be fully ready once our boxes arrive and the unpacking finishes. There are small things which we do not know – where should we buy meat from, who sells the best fruit, what time does the garbage get collected, and which we are now learning. I am constantly missing Waitrose and M&S, their vast selection of food and opening hours, and am slowly learning to make do with what we have here on the island. That’s not meant as a snobbish remark, it’s just that in England I knew what every single aisle had in each supermarket. Last weekend I must have gone around the same aisles in Arkadia four times because I was constantly skipping and missing items. And I went home with half my list still uncrossed.
Then there are of course the busybodies. They find joy in inventing news, asking around and judging. They most often talk behind your back, pretending to know you better than you do yourself. Sometimes they tell you things to your face. Last weekend a man I only met on a professional basis came to talk to me, and within fifteen seconds was asking me things about mine and A’s professional lives, giving me his ‘opinions’ in a strong-manner and then finishing his sentences with ‘jien mhux ghax affari tieghi ta’!’ – ‘not that it’s any of my business!’ I have to get used to these people again. Nobody gave a monkey’s toss about you or your affairs in England. I am slowly waking up to the fact that the same does not apply here.
There’s also the crazy driving, the terrible road rage I can feel slowly building up inside me whenever I’m behind the wheel and the total disregard for pedestrians – especially ones with pushchairs. Queues do not exist and people cut them all the time. There are no friendly smiles from strangers. Everyone constantly marches to and fro, with a grim expression on their faces, everyone’s looking downwards almost afraid to meet someone they know. Salesgirls are the most unhelpful of them all and sometimes I feel as if I have to apologize for asking them something.
I do not want this to be a negative post because it is not meant to be so. There have been some lovely moments. Walking along the streets of Victoria and meeting strangers who come and say hello to C because they know her grandparents, the informal way of life and the sense of trust which surrounds almost everyone, and of course meeting up with familiar faces.
It is just a period of adjustment. I never lived here in Malta as a married woman and I am now a wife and a mum. I know things will slowly fall into their place and it’ll sometime seem as if I never left. On certain days the contrast seems too stark to bear and I miss England. On others, I thank God for being here and look ahead with hope. We are so lucky to have so many loved ones who have made these days much easier than they would have otherwise been. And like I’ve said before, for that reason I have absolutely no regrets for what we are doing.
I probably won’t be able to write for some time now. One last visit to England awaits me and A and myself will then leave for a road-trip which will hopefully end with us (and our fully-laden car) safely back on The Rock. You’ll get to hear all about it when I return 🙂
It’s raining and windy but enjoy your Sunday! Hope you have a great day and week to follow.
And take care x