We’re soon nearing the six-month ‘anniversary’ from when we moved back to Malta from England. A couple of weeks after we arrived, things were in absolute chaos and everything was up in the air. Nowadays we are much more calm and settled. We have adapted well to the Gozitan way of living. It’s still a small pleasure being able to go out for a coffee whenever you wish (those who lived abroad will understand me!) and meeting familiar faces whenever out and about. Our apprehension about how Cesca would adapt to the change proved to be futile because she was the easiest one to adapt to it all. In fact I sometimes think what it would be like to move back to England and force her to stay a couple of days indoors (due to the cold winter ahead), and I am definitely sure it would be hell to do. The girl loves the outdoors and her freedom!

We had planned a visit to England in the coming weeks, but life and responsibilities have made us postpone the visit. I’m dying to visit our friends and to see Canterbury again. Walking up and down the High Street, shopping at Boots, stopping at Cafe Nero for a coffee and at Carluccio for a quick snack are things I sometimes day-dream about.

And my yearning for English shops sky-rockets whenever I enter a shop here in Gozo.

Charm? Grace? What?!

I don’t know about you, but whenever I enter a shop I always get greeting by bothered looks from the person responsible. I always think I’ve somehow offended the person by stepping foot into his establishment. After the initial glacial look-over, said owner then proceeds to ignore me. Does anyone on the island get greeted with a smile and a hello? It must be me or the shops I visit, but I sense the air of hostility some shops have from the moment I enter the shop. And good luck with asking them for help. Rest assured that they will help you yes, but they will make you feel like a proper unwelcome guest when they do. Interrupting their working hours by asking for their help? Shame on you. They must be left to chat with their co-workers about their weekend adventures, or else munch away on bubble-gum or food behind the counter.

My most surreal episode has to be that of a couple of weeks ago, when I entered a shoe store and found two salesgirls trying out very high-heeled embellished shoes, giggling away and shouting across the room at each other ‘I feel like Lady Gaga in these heels!”

The English way of doing things involved lots of smiles, greetings, apologies for letting you wait and questions as to whether you have been served correctly or not. Sometimes it is all a bit over the top, but I definitely prefer an extra smile or thank-you than the stiff customer care this island has going on. Some people need to learn that a smile is free and goes a long way!


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