Today three years ago was a day I'd simultaneously been dying for and dreading. It was the day David and I left Malta and moved to England. It wasn't a temporary move, we knew that. We knew we wouldn't be returning for good (until possibly retirement age!). This year, at last, the date doesn't make me feel sad. This morning, David and I lazily recalled the problems we encountered (setting up bank accounts, missing boxes, etc) and the minor culture shocks (even though many in Malta insist that the fact that we speak English means that moving to England is no trouble at all); acknowledged how far we've come since that day.
We'd been together for 10 months at the time. I know many people thought we were crazy. Certainly about each other. Possibly the other type too. Who knows? Who cares? It worked out :)
We'd gotten engaged ten days before, a shotgun engagement if ever there was one. I packed up my entire room in a daze. I wasn't quite sure what was going on realistically until the day before we left, when my parents came to say good night and we cried and cried. My heart breaks a little bit again just remembering it.
That first day in the UK was a shred of hell. It's been a MANIC three days. First day was godawful. I thought I'd never settle in. I was exhausted, working on 3 hours of sleep, totally exhausted and emotional, having just left my entire family behind. And once we got here, everything started going wrong. We tried to open bank accounts, and were refused; got sim cards that are enabled to call overseas cheaply, but were told it'd take 48hours to activate them; tried to find calling cards, but no one's ever heard of Malta; didnt find the phone line we were told would be waiting for us [at the flat] when we arrive - we were instead informed that our order was 'misplaced' and would have to be reinitiated and that'd take 1.5 weeks - from an old blog. Had I been given the chance to simply turn back, I possibly might have that day. Things got better after that though and thanks still goes to Natwest for being the only bank to give us the time of day and to put a smile on my face for the first time ever in England!
By the next day, I was feeling much more positive: The dock is lovely. Just outside the window and balcony we often have visitors of the ducky type. The swans don't usually come too close (snobs). But we still get to see them swimming gracefully along the dock as if they own the place. Then at night, the ducks sleep on the boats in the dock. It really brings everything to life so much more.
I love it here :)
We'd moved into a small 1.5 bedroomed flat overlooking Royal Victoria Dock in East London. I suppose the water being so close by made us feel slightly more 'at home.' If nothing else, there were some terrific views.
Within a week David was at work. I stopped using the Internet Cafe in Greenwich and finally had internet at home. A month later, I started working too. Visitors never ceased. They were our lifeline to Malta. The tears slowed down. Concerts, theatre, travel all became part of a lifestyle we love. We moved out of that flat a year later and into a larger one very close by, and so on and so forth from then on.
In reality we were just a couple of kids trying to make it somewhere in a big, big world.
All pictures dated April 2006.
This blog is now closed. The story continues over on Flip Flops and Flying Carpets.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for reading.