Strolling By

I haven’t written in what seems to be ages. Not from lack of events, far from it. Finding the time to put thoughts into words is the ultimate feat.

Bettina turned one, Cesca started her second year at school, I started full-days at work, our house is slowly being erected. Life is good. Hectic, tiring and exhausting, but nothing to complain about. Our life sometimes resembles a family sitcom show – the evenings especially are crazy, and when I finish cleaning up the kitchen, Anthony handles the toys and the girls are put to bed, I let out a huge sigh of relief. For as much as I love the girls, I love them that bit more when they’re both laying in bed, clean and happy and ready for the night.

Juggling work with family is not easy.

I am not one to complain. Yet sometimes I yearn for the stay-at-home lifestyle. Returning home after a full day of work to start what is a second full-time job is tiring. Sometimes I struggle to make the bed or think up the evening’s menu. But I think motherhood toughens us up, and we move on and forward. I falter, I trip along the way, but I try and move on. Sometimes, I hobble along to end the day, but somehow we’re all good. So things must not be as bad as I sometimes think they are.

So two months of not writing here is because of this. It’s not about not having anything to write or say. It’s just not having the energy and time to sit down and concentrate for an hour.

For now I’ll probably just write small snippets here and there. But I promise I’ll be back properly.

Can’t promise when though.


Just another Thursday morning…

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.

Why would anyone be stupid enough to participate in a high heel race?? Walking in them alone is a pain at time! And of course, why ruin the sole and heel for running??

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!

I only go to work on days that don’t end in a ‘y’…

Mum is currently going through the phase of tearing our house down, replacing everything, painting everywhere and buying every house decoration she sees. The curious thing is that she was the one who had always told me, ‘the house is fine as is, no need for any work to be done’ when I’d ask her if she would be doing any work before the wedding. But nowadays I return home from work, and each day, it’s someone different in our house. We’ve had the curtain people over, the soffit workers and someone who kindly offered his services to tend to our garden (we spied on him for a couple of minutes on Monday and he must have been on his break, because he was sitting down, having a cigarette and talking to our dog. Boqq!)

Another family friend is repainting some walls which needed some going-over. He’s in his 50s and as deaf as a doornail and will not hear you approaching him, until he realizes you’re there, not from your voice but because he sees you. We initially got him to repaint one wall, which ended up being the whole roof, the ceiling, the living room, the outer room, he’s also put up some light fixtures and other things which he drew our attention to. Given he doesn’t hear ANYTHING, he’s very quiet and doesn’t waste time in chitter-chatter. He does what needs to be done, and suggests other work he thinks should be done. He’s the ideal worker, bar one thing. He smokes, and is always dragging on a cigarette inside the house. So our house went through the phase of having that stale stinking odour of cigarette smoke. Since he’s doing a great job, we don’t dare telling him to stop smoking, so every window and door we have is open and we’re trying to counterbalance the cigarette smell with fresh air. Plus a Yankee candle in every room. Till now, we’re sufficiently succeeding. So he’s happy, we’re happy and the poor house is getting properly aired.

But the funniest (and saddest) group of workers we have are the public sector ones. They’re tearing down our pavement and after 7 working days, they are still going at it. There are five, yes 5, workers. They arrive at 7.30am and start working at around then. Of course it’s only one or two of them who are working, because the others ask mum for a cup of coffee, and they drink it outside whilst reading the paper. At around 8.30am they tell us that they are going for a ‘break’ and will be back to continue later on. Of course, we rarely ever see them ‘later on’. One day it was a meeting in Victoria, the other day the jack-hammer didn’t arrive, another day their pick-up truck wasn’t working. So by 8.30am their working day is over. I passed in front of a local club this week, and there they were, drinking coffee and smoking, and not feeling embarrassed one bit I swear! They’ve taken a week and a half to tear down the pavement (and still not ready), which work could have been normally done and finished in three days. I swear these people don’t have a conscience at all. Something seriously needs to be done to control their comings and goings and see that they are working during their working hours. It’s a vicious situation and things don’t seem to be improving on this front. It does not help that we’re a spoilt country, we’ve gotten used to having it easy, and don’t take well to being told what to do.

A’s arriving tonight (well, Thursday morning more like), and I planned on over-sleeping today, but the family friend worker (the chain-smoking one) decided to come do more work today. And he came over at 7.30am! When he talks he yells because he can’t hear himself and mum in turn has to yell as well. The whole household was awake by 8am. So there went my wish of sleeping in for the day! My bedtime ‘tonight’ will be approx 5am, and I’m working tomorrow morning, so God help me. I guess my sunglasses will come in handy tomorrow.

Along with my concealer…