Nearing The End

2014 is nearing its’ end.

It couldn’t have been a more eventful year if we wanted it to be.

We got pregnant.

We had our little Bettina.

We started building our future home.

Cesca started school.

(and other ‘minor’ episodes I won’t bore you with…)

The timing of some events could have been better, granted. But we somehow managed.

We learnt that bit more about ourselves and are better for it.

2014 was a tough bitch at times. It was full of change. It brought us the greatest happiness ever in the form of our little angel Bettina. It taught us hope and persistence, and the amazing power of prayer and positivity. It presented us with our greatest fears, brought us to tears at times, and made us question what we thought we knew. We progressed in some areas, regressed at others. It made us bang our heads against the wall one day, but made us cry with laughter the day after.

We will end 2014 slightly bruised perhaps, but stronger than ever.

So 2014, thank you. I can’t think how 2015 will top this year, but knowing the little I do about life, I’m sure it will.

Dear friends, seasons greetings to you all! Blog-wise, 2014 was a testing year at times. You all helped me along the bumpy path life led me to at times, and you all cheered our happy events with your sweet words and messages. So thank you friends, all of you near and far, friends and practical strangers. I wish you all the best of the festivities to come. Stay safe x

My sweetheart turned three!

My sweetheart turned three!

The Bump

The Bump

Two friends, two bumps, which resulted in Bettina and Ivy :)

Two friends, two bumps, which resulted in Bettina and Ivy 🙂

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Running to meet her little sister for the first time x

Running to meet her little sister for the first time x

12 hours after her sister was born, Cesca started school!

12 hours after her sister was born, Cesca started school!

She's changed so  much in the seven months it's been since the photo's been taken x

She’s changed so much in the seven months it’s been since the photo’s been taken x

The definition of love.

The definition of love.

Beginnings

We welcomed a new member into our family on the 30th of September. Bettina Lucia was born at 7.50 in the evening, all pink and cuddly and full of that scrumptiousness that newborns seem to have. Just like her sister, she came quick and fast. Actually she came much quicker than her sister, and I’m lucky that A made it to my side with just a couple of minutes to spare before her arrival!

That Tuesday was one of those days where I had a million and one things to do. The day began like any other day. We all woke up, my mother picked C up and I left for work. Since the Friday before we had received some last-minute school news, I had to pop by a school for a meeting after work, and had stationery and shoe-shopping planned for the afternoon. At four I left home to start my errands, and by five I only had C’s shoes left on my list. I agreed to meet up with C and mum at a local shopping centre at 5.30pm, so after pencil and file shopping, I left to walk my way there.

Every pregnant woman imagines what her labour will be like. Will it be short and swift or dragging and painful? And perhaps with a second pregnancy, it is less and more scary at the same time. I knew what was going to happen yet a part of me clanged to the hope that it would all be as fast as C’s birth was. At the same time I knew that this was not necessarily the case. I know of friends whose second labour was nothing like their first. Thoughts of 12+ hours of labour would flash in my mind, and I’d enter into a mini-panic zone. What kept me sane was the thought that God would not give me more than what I could actually handle.

I now laugh at the following part. You can however imagine my embarrassment, panic and shock at having my waters break in a public place. In a shop in a local shopping mall, which is always full of locals. Perhaps it was sheer luck that the shop happened to be nearly empty at the time, and the only witness to my ordeal was the panic-stricken shop assistant who was in a worse state than me and continued asking me whether she should call an ambulance or not. I was in no pain whatsoever and my thoughts were all over the place. Cesca was running around the store totally unaware of her mother’s crazy state. My mum who was waiting for me outside came to ask me why I hadn’t come out yet, and only realised what happened when she saw my face. I was thinking how we were going to get C’s shoes, whether my dress held any evidence of what had just happened, how I had to call A asap and how I still had to label and mark Cesca’s newly-purchased school items. And most of all how I would probably miss C’s first day at school the following day.

The walk to mum’s car seemed like an eternity. I waited there while she took C to buy her shoes. We went home, I had a quick shower, grabbed my things, headed to the hospital and then the pains started. I was super-dilated (8cm by the time the midwife checked me), and by 7pm was ready to start pushing. But I held back, waiting for 7.30pm because I wanted A by my side. Things happened so quick that Bettina was born twenty minutes after he arrived. Two hours after everything started. Talk about fast and furious.

We are now slowly settling in. Life with two children is so different than life with one. There is always someone to check on and always something to do. I am so so lucky to have help from my mother and in-laws. I honestly don’t know how I can do it all alone, and have so much gratitude towards them. I am pleased to report that Cesca is totally besotted with Bettina. From the moment she first came to visit her at the hospital, calling out for ‘my sister’, she has been a real trooper. She helps me with the nappy-changing, sings to her and ‘plays’ with her – though I am super-vigilant with the latter. However as expected, she is playing up at times. She had a tough couple of days dealing with all these changes, and at times blatantly challenges me and her father and does the exact opposite of what we tell her to do. Sometimes she ignores us completely, and thanks to school now comes out with these phrases she never said before. Right now her favourite is calling people ‘silly-Billy’. I bite my tongue and try to be the most patient I can be with her. But exhaustion and impatience do get the best of me at times, and after I sometimes shout at her, the guilt feeling sets in. The guilt feeling every mother seems to be burdened with, even though she tries her best and is always looking out for her own. Whatever I do at times, however I deal with her, I always end up feeling as if I’m lacking her and as if I could do better. I know it’s early days still, and I really can’t complain overall. I just want to be sure and certain that I’m doing the right thing, and, most importantly, that she knows it too.

So we’re all taking it in small steps and one day at a time. We have alone moments with Cesca. We take her to the playground, we read books to her and we dedicate moments to her alone. I don’t want her to feel as if she’s the ‘extra one’, the odd one out, not ever. It is harder than it sounds, especially since a newborn takes up so much of my time. All mummies know how time-consuming babies are, it’s all about them and you spend every minute they’re awake, with them. So it only figures that having a newborn and trying to spend equal if not more time with a young toddler is quite challenging.

But I’m looking at it all positively. We will manage just fine. It’s all about surviving these early days with a positive outlook, and living peacefully with the knowledge that you did your best with love and more love. And believing with hope that those around you, who are closest to your heart, recognise this.

A favourite shot captured by Auntie Ver. Running to meet her little sister :)

A favourite shot captured by Auntie Ver. Running to meet her little sister 🙂

Happenings: Obvious and Not

I haven’t abandoned you dear friends, I truly haven’t. It’s just that time is currently flying by and without me even realizing it, we are already five days into September! We have been quite busy, new things have come up which mean I don’t have all the free time I previously had and thus my future posts will not be as regular as before, but I promise you there will still be new reading material every now and then 😉

What’s been happening?

– Three weeks after she fractured her arm, C’s cast has finally been removed! She was a real trooper the whole time through. She never complained about it once or tried to remove it ever, and for that reason we’ve kept it at home and every now and then go visit her beloved ‘White Glove’.

– We tried to make up for her missing up on three weeks of swimming and I managed to turn into a healthy shade of tan, although at the moment that colour has been long gone and I’m back to being the one with the pale legs. Having said that, it was probably one of the summers where I enjoyed the beach the most. It must have been the summer I least swam, but I got more hours of tanning this year so yay for that 🙂

– Foolish as it may sound, I’m back to reading more regularly nowadays! When C came along, I had to do without the luxury of reading for quite a bit. I was either too busy or too tired to concentrate on a book. But I’m now reading and I’ve managed to drastically reduce the time it takes me to finish a book. I’ve got some interesting reads lined up for winter and I honestly can’t wait!

– You might have caught up with the sad news I put up a couple of days ago that a dear friend of mine lost her angel of a son due to a terrible illness. This cast a dark shadow on us all especially the mothers, this matter touched us too close to heart. Little George may not be with us anymore, but we all know he is in a much more rested place, with that beautiful smiles of his shining through.

– We are planning a winter holiday and surprisingly enough (considering the number of flights we caught these past couple of years and my protests that I would never get excited again about getting on a plane), I’m truly excited about it all! We have to renew little Cesca’s passport since hers expired last month. I’m not too sad about that only because she is totally unrecognizable in her passport photo. At six weeks of age and being held by my mother to stay still and look straight into the camera lens (totally easy with a young baby..), she looks like a mini-Buddha – chubby face and all. This time round it’ll be perhaps more difficult to hold her still for other reasons.

Otherwise it’s all more of the same. There was a surprising and welcoming revelation when we went away to the larger island for a couple of days last month. Upon arriving back at our place, the first thought that popped to mind was, ‘It’s good to be back home!’ Unbeknownst to me, amongst all the confusion and chaos we had going on these past couple of weeks, somewhere along the line Gozo became our home and although there are days when I miss Canterbury badly, those occasions are growing more and more infrequent and I now know that Gozo is where we are supposed to be. Following this ‘event’, I even managed to finally changed my location on Facebook from Canterbury to Gozo.

Realizing the obvious is a helpful thing at times.

Have a good day xxx

summer133

Getting rid of the White Glove!

Getting rid of the White Glove!

We had some giggly times where all was well with everything :)

We had some giggly times where all was well with everything 🙂

summer131
And some special kisses were shared along the way x

One Month P-M

It’s already been one month since we left England. With everything that’s happened it seems to feel we’ve been away much longer. We are constantly gasping for a breath, waiting for a short pause of calmness but it still has not happened. Everything has been thrown in our face and the one thing we did not want to happen, did. Things are far from what we imagined them to be and I have to be honest. I’m missing England terribly.

It’s a bit of everything.

Without me even realizing it, I had become accustomed to a certain way of living. I took lots of things for granted and am now being hit with the stark realization that I need to start thinking and acting otherwise. I’m not talking about physical things – what’s bothering me most is the fact that I’m feeling as if I need to change the way I’ve been living my life for these past three years and it’s not a comfortable feeling.

So if I meet you outside and you ask me how I’m getting used to life on The Rock, please don’t misunderstand my lost look for a flippant attitude. My inability to answer your question is because I truly feel lost. I truly do not know how I’m getting on with everything. And if I tell you that it’s harder than I thought it would be, please don’t think I’m being a drama queen about the whole situation. It truly is. Before informing me that it must be easier with family and friends around, let me tell you it’s not about that. It never was. It’s about leaving a life you knew and were comfortable with and starting afresh in a country you know and love, but suddenly feel uncomfortable in. It was our choice and I will stop myself short of saying it was a mistake because I still feel it was not that at all. I know things will become clearer and less shady.  I just need time, we all need time to (cue the magic word)… adjust.

You may think I’m babbling on and on about nothing, and I am probably not making as much sense of things as I’m feeling them, but I can not explain myself better than this. I just want things to start feeling as they did a short while ago. Which now seems like eons away.

Probably the most apt photo for this particular moment. Pregnant and not knowing it, I was an avalanche of moody behaviour. I was feeling everything. I'm not pregnant now, but the feelings of confusion and loss are there...

Probably the most apt photo for this particular moment. Pregnant and not knowing it, I was an avalanche of moody behaviour. I was feeling everything. I’m not pregnant now, but the feelings of confusion and loss are there…

The Penultimate One

Last weekend’s visit to Malta was my penultimate one before settling there for what is hopefully a permanent move. We had a very short visit but we managed to carry a hundred kilos of things with us, and that really helped. Drawers and cupboards are slowly becoming empty and the house is slowly becoming a ghost of its’ former self. A sad thing really because even mundane things like food shopping have become different. There is no real use for buying things in bulk, not now, not anymore.

It is a sad thought. But then when I look at our home back in Malta I can’t wait to start living there on a permanent basis. We have been setting up home there ever since we got married, but only starting seriously finishing it for the past couple of months and we are set to move in. I have new pots and pans I can’t wait to start using and new things which are just waiting to be unboxed. Cesca has her new room which she just loves – the minute I put her in her bed at 3am in the morning when we arrived in Malta last weekend, she started jumping on her bed saying ‘flies, flies’ (her take on ‘butterflies’). I can finally say that all my things are going to be stored in one single place and not scattered all over Europe. Things have finally started falling into their proper place and our excitement levels are on a high. This time next year we will know where Cesca will start attending school, we will hopefully be making some progress in building our future home and lots of other things we have planned out, will start becoming more possible.

The next month will be very very hectic and emotional for us. We will have to make do without our little munchkin for a couple of days, and as much as we will miss her, it will be very selfish of us to do otherwise. I will have to say goodbye to my friends, especially to little Chris who was born today and that hurts so much. Final boxes have to be closed and sealed, services will have to be terminated and keys will be returned.

In the meantime, I’m off for some online retail therapy. One thing I will miss so SO much…

Days Are Made of This…

Laughter:

Listening in to your neighbour calling out for his cat for two solid hours yesterday evening, in strong winds and light showers. You’re cozying it up inside and he’s getting wet outside looking for a feline who’s probably just in heat. It is January after all.

Frustration:

Trying to feed your daughter that very first spoonful of food. For five whole minutes she will turn her head away, push the cutlery away with her hands, spin around or run away from you, spit out food, scream the place down. And then after the first swallow she opens her mouth voluntarily and eats, and enjoys it, and goes ‘mmmmm’. Just like that.

Pride:

Hearing your daughter say new words. “Cacker” (cracker), “goat”, “big” (pig) and “babbit”  (rabbit) are her latest. Her vocabulary is growing everyday and more exciting than that, is her learning to associate words with things and pictures.

Embarrassment:

Having your daughter pronounce “duck” and “clock” as “cuck” in public. I can’t even bring myself to spell it correctly. Absoultely cringe-worthy.

Fear:

Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear about not making the right decisions, fear about letting someone down, fear Cesca’s not eating enough, fear she’s eating too much. I could go on forever really.

Excitement:

Fear brings excitement. Change brings excitement. Watching my best friend’s belly grow and knowing that soon years of longing will result in one lucky baby. Finding a new baking recipe I can’t wait to try out. Unknowingly getting an extra 20% off sale items when you come to pay for a bag you’ve been coveting after for the past months.

Temptation:

 

Staying inside due to windy and cold weather, spend hours on the internet as a result and fill up every virtual shopping bag known to man. Then finding really good online voucher codes AND free shipping and trying, so so SO hard, not to press the “Buy Now” button.

Trepidation:

Knowing that our next visit to The Rock will be at Carnival weekend. Mile-long queues to catch the ferry, the Loud Crowd infesting Victoria, parking hassles, trying to have a quiet coffee at Arkadia and supermarket nightmares. Just to mention a few of my worries.

Anger:

Not understanding the whining monster Cesca becomes at times. She will whine and cry, moan and hold her head in her hands. She holds on to my legs, pulls my hair, scratches her face with her long talons she refuses to let me cut, and I don’t know why. I don’t understand why she does that, it just bothers me, makes me angry and then sad that I got angry.

Happiness:

Knowing that at the end of the day, whatever may have happened, you have someone who always has your back. Even if you drive them bonkers in the meantime, have them climb up the walls and shake their head in disbelief. Eleven years with me can do that to the best of men. So every day we finish with a cup of tea on the sofa watching something off The Food Network and complaining how hungry we are (again), I’m thankful for.

Thankfulness:

We have health, we have a warm home, we have a super-hyper and lovely little girl, we have a loving family, good friends and we should not ask for more.

But we do of course. That’s just the way we’re made. So for one I’m trying. I’m making it a point to live life with a smile and a positive outlook.  It makes for better living!

october6

 

 

 

 

 

The Changing Nature of Change

I feel pangs of guilt every now and then. It is not something I have done intentionally or purposefully, but still every now and then I feel as if my actions are hurting those closest to my heart. And it’s not a pleasant feeling.

As everyone who has been down my same road can tell you, leaving one’s country for a foreign one is a hard journey. Having spent the first seven years of my life in a big country like Canada and suddenly moving to a speck of a rock called Malta was something I clearly remember as if it were yesterday. I remember my old room, the huge park my parents used to take me to, the play-dates with my friends, school outings to the zoo and my babysitter who made me ‘special’ chocolate milkshake (I never found out the special ingredient, but I remember it being the tastiest thing ever!) I remember the day my father sat me down and explained to me that we were moving to Malta, which for me, at the time, meant nothing much except moving to the place where all my cousins and other relatives lived, where the weather was always hot and the sea was the bluest I had seen in my then-young life. I remember the yellow dress, which I thought resembled something Madonna wore during her Dick Tracy days in the mid-80s (I have adored that woman for a while), which I wore on the day coming to Malta. I remember entering our new house for the first time and sleeping on a small bed underneath the staircase while my bedroom was being affixed. I remember visiting Victoria with my father and looking up at the Cittadella, and remarking to him “Dad, how come that ship is all the way up there?” There was the first day of school when I started Year 3 along with two other male cousins who were my same age and whom I remember fondly taking care of me in the mini-bus ride all the way to school. I remember meeting everyone for the first time, hearing them talk a language I could only understand bits and pieces of, and gradually adjusting to my school-life. And year after year, my ‘strange’ accent slowly started disappearing and for all means and purposes Malta became my home. Canada remained my place of birth, and on the three times I had the opportunity of visiting, returning to my old street, seeing my old house and my old school and the park I loved so much, brought back lovely memories, yet at the same time I knew I would never return them to live.

Malta, Gozo precisely, became my home. People I met when I was seven remain my closest friends ever, the ones I hold dearest to my heart to this day. Living in a small village, with two other uncles living on the same road and popping in to visit nearly every day, became the norm. Meeting up at my grandmother’s house for lunch every Saturday became a tradition of sorts. Waiting for my friends to come for me every day to go to mass, music lessons or simply walking around our village, became a routine. And a tad claustrophobic the older I grew. For the same people I met when I started going out, are the same people I see today, nearly fifteen years later, when I am in Gozo. We’re all older, some married, some with children, some have changed beyond recognition and others are lucky enough to have the same youthful appearance about them. In a way we have all grown old together, even if some of us are still strangers to this day.

Going to university expanded my horizons, at least for five days a week. There, I discovered a world bigger than Gozo, where my flat-mate and I (we shared the whole university experience together and is one of my best friends to this day) learnt that with this newfound sense of liberty came responsibility. We grew as people, and the whole experience helped shape our character and develop us into the people we are today. We still laugh at some episodes we had at the time, we remember our desperate selves during exam times, and marvel at some outrageous things we did then, which our older selves can only reminisce about. All in all they were a wonderful six years of my life.

Now I’m married, entered into a new phase of my life, have a new residence and about to embark on a new roll-coaster of a ride I am fascinated yet scared by. Which I wholly love. I love this beautiful city which I now call home, its’ history, the people, the safety I feel walking down its’ streets and the welcoming city walls which encompass an antique yet modern place. I love the polite nature of its’ inhabitants, the gentle way of talking and interacting with strangers. I love the life I lead here, the people I have met, known and become close to, and the tight bond I have with A since we are now each other’s life in this place. I have grown much more independent here than ever before, and most of all learnt that life is not all about me. I now have, and hopefully will further have, more people to whom I bear responsibility, respect and love.

But the guilt I mentioned in the beginning pops in every now and then whenever I talk and think about my mother. I know she misses me, and I miss her terribly, yet at the same time I know that this is my life and I have never regretted the decision I took and I would do everything exactly as I chose to do it last summer if the same opportunity came along. And because of this, I respect her a million times over knowing she has never ever, not even once, questioned my decision or asked me to reconsider not moving here to England when I first told her all about the plan. I know she misses sharing the daily pleasures that my pregnancy is bringing along with it. The baby will be her first grand-child after all. We talk and message each other all the time, and I try and visit the speck whenever I can, which although is not the same as meeting up everyday, it’s the best we both can do at the moment, and although short, each visit is full of lovely moments. Strangely enough, although apart we have grown closer in a way we were not before. I have learnt to treasure her words which make perfect sense to me today, unlike a couple of years ago when her advice was mostly unwelcome. I appreciate her way of doing things, of allowing me to make my decisions and offering advice when I need it. So we may be mostly apart these days, but I have never felt as close to her as I do now.

Both A and myself knew from the get-go that this move to England would not be a permanent one. As much as we have often talked about the claustrophobic dot that is Gozo, about its’ limitedness and small area, about the annoying ways of the know-it-alls and close-minded people who live there, we miss it and we have always known that in the end, Gozo will be our final destination.

So at the moment I am enjoying my life here, a life I sincerely never thought I would have, having never ever thought of emigrating away from everything I knew. My parents often talked about how leaving Malta for a larger land helped them develop as persons, partners and parents, and I can now fully understand that. I have been here for only seven months, yet in a way as if I have been here forever, and my life in Gozo seems in the past.

So my mantra is to enjoy the present. To live each day uniquely because it will never be again. To appreciate everyone I meet and learn from their experiences. To love and respect those who deserve it. And mostly to be happy. Because after all, being happy with your present is the most important thing ever.