The End

This blog is now closed. The story continues over on Flip Flops and Flying Carpets.

Thank you for reading.

House of Cards

From day one, David and I have been in awe of how well Emily has adapted to us moving to Malta. We've thrown so much at her and she's taken it all in her stride. She's smiled and danced and sung through it all and seemingly has become a much happier and more confident toddler.

Then two days before her birthday*, we were getting her ready for bed. She was overtired and very moany, and she announced, through tears, that she wanted to go home.

It hit me like a sharp slap to the face. I couldn't keep my cool and tears started to flow. It was a heartbreaking moment, knowing I couldn't even begin to give her what she wants, what might make her feel comfortable, and not even really be able to explain to her further than the fact that our belongings are "in boxes on a boat."

She saw my tears and put her hands on my face.

"Mummy sad," she said. "Don't worry Mummy, you're safe."

It's what I tell her when she's scared of cars in the road. (Cue more tears on my part.)

Then Mummy smiled and there were cuddles and she could see it was all ok. She hasn't mentioned it since, but she does often mention that her toys and our clothes are "in boxes on a boat", and we do remind her the boat will arrive soon, and she seems happy with that. She's been to the place we'll be moving to once everything arrives, seen her room and knows she's going to have a bed there ("Exciting!"). So it's fine really. I'm not worried. I only hope I never hear those words coming out of her mouth again. (And if they do, there'll be more cuddles but less tears and more talk about exciting plans.)

* She turned two on Monday and we celebrated with family, and old and new friends... I'll blog about it soon.

The First Week in Pictures

We didn't exactly travel light.

Some plastic Giraffes provided hours of entertainment.

We had promised her there'd be swings and slides!

And there were.

...and more...

On several occasions!

Can't really fault 17 degree weather in the middle of January. There were people swimming. Emily fancied
joining in and has asked me if she could "jump in the sea" each time she's caught sight of the sea since.


But she's obviously also heard about the snowmen she's missed out
on in England and demanded a play-doh snowman one morning! 



Unrelated but important note: Due to an unrelenting attack of spambots, I have been left with no choice but to turn word verification on for comments. I hate it, probably as much as you will, but the darn bots are doing my head in. So please accept my apologies and do continue commenting! 

Leaving, And Then Arriving

Well hello.

Um.

I don't know where to start really.

We did it. We moved. It was hard leaving England. Really hard. There were goodbyes to be said. Difficult, heartwrenching goodbyes. There were tears (many tears), long embraces and promises made.

The packers turned my perfectly organised life upside down. They combined things in boxes that should never have been put together. More tears. They packed Emily's dummy. Lord only knows where that ended up. I am not looking forward to unpacking. When our things arrive, I may just bury my head in the sand.

Then the house was empty. It was hollow and sad. Emily was confused, she hated the boxes and especially hated the fact that her toys kept disappearing. I couldn't walk into the living room without tears threatening again. I guess that's where we really did all our "living" - memories of us moving in, building furniture on that first Christmas Eve in the house, preparing for our wedding, opening wedding gifts, Emily as a newborn, Emily growing up, it all happened in there. Everyone says the memories stay with you, which is true - they do, but saying goodbye to those walls still slightly killed me.

We lasted for a day with nothing much in the house. Emily slept in a borrowed travel cot in our old room, we slept on the futon in the spare room.


And then it was time to leave. Ouch.

This was our final glimpse of the house as we closed the door. More tears.


The further away from Rochester the taxi got, the easier it became to breathe. That evening, the British sun bid us a beautiful sunset farewell and every minute that passed, it all got a little bit easier.

Arriving in Malta wasn't without it's potential disasters. A suitcase missing upon arrival - especially when you're moving country and have therefore packed all your essentials (in this case, David's suits, shirts, shoes for work on Monday) - is not a welcome anyone wants. Luckily however, it was returned a few hours later (someone had picked it up by mistake) and disaster was averted. We could finally relax and that was when it truly felt like we had arrived.

So, you ask, how are we settling in? It's going well - very, very well. I'd say we've settled far quicker than we could ever have imagined. Emily, despite initially being a bit confused as to why Daddy would go to work when we're in Malta, has adapted amazingly. She loves having so many people around her, loves the attention, loves being able to have Daddy read her stories and put her to bed at night. We are all happier, more relaxed, and generally I think we already know we made the right decision in moving back.

Pregnancy-wise, Baby Boy has a new name (which I'm not divulging until he's born this time), he is head down and looking like he may be a big bundle. We have a scan booked to finally find out whether my placenta has moved out of the way or not, have registered with the hospital and are beginning to feel like we understand the Maltese health system a little bit more! Time will tell.

(30+3 bump!)

So there you have it - a very quick recap of what's been keeping me away from you lovely people. I will update again tomorrow with some more pictures to make you all jealous of the weather we've been greeted with (I've never been so glad to have avoided English snow in my life!!!) xx

While We're in Transit: A Thank You to England

Before I moved here I was a mouse. A mouse with big opinions which were kept in a very frustrated but locked box at the back of my mind. That box was never opened, I was too scared. Too scared to say anything or to stand up for myself.


When we moved here I was terrified. My naiveté and my complete and utter trust in humankind led to disappointment on a daily basis. I quickly learnt to speak up, be heard, make people listen. I became suspicious of everyone and very, very angry all the time.

Over the years I grew and matured and eventually I came to realize that being angry and suspicious all the time was making me suffer. Only me: no one else. I learnt to tone it down. I learnt to be nice to people again, and I learnt to unleash the inner guard dog only when necessary.

I've come a long way since we moved to England. I am a very different person to the quiet, scared girl who got on that plane in April 2006. There's still a lot of work to be done, I am a masterpiece in progress. Part of the reason I find moving back to Malta scary is because I just don't know how this "new" person will reintegrate back into a country where so many people are afraid to speak up lest they offend anyone else, and where people are happy to settle for mediocre because it might be too much hassle to push for more. 

But I am happy with and proud of the person I have become. And I have England to thank for that - and by "England" of course, I don't just mean the physical country. It is the people and the experiences I encountered during our time here, the way of life, the good and the bad and the everything. 



Having said all this, I'm quite sure there are also elements of me that existed in Malta that had to be left behind when we moved away that I will be glad to welcome back. I'm not yet sure what these are, but suffice it to say, it's not all sadness. Somehow a balance will be achieved and I won't lose my mind over it. We haven't made this decision on a whim, it has taken months and months and I know that we will be happy. 

So here goes...

See you on the other side x

(Pic is me in 2003... I was also really slim.... that could be one of the things I regain in Malta.... hah!)

A Walk About Town

There were many things we wished we could do one last time. Emily has spent far too many hours sitting in the car running errands with us these last few weeks, and she's been so patient. We wanted to take her to Howlett's again before we left, and Tiny Town, Dobbie's to see the fish, all her favourite places. Alas, we have had time for very little. So the other day, when our plans fell through, the weather was graciously dry so the least I could do was put aside everything else for an hour and take her for a walk.

She couldn't decide whether Mickey Mouse or Dolly would win the right to an outing so they both had to squeeze in.




(Check out those dimples!)







"Home, Mummy!"

Not for much longer...!

Single Digits

It's all happening now. We move in under ten days and it's finally all coming together. As I suspected would happen, I am calmer now that everything is happening than I have been for weeks. I am having some very productive days (while still managing to catch up with people I want to try and get my fill of before we leave!) and although my mind just never quite stops whirring even after I've gone to bed, it feels good.

It is beginning to sink in. There've been a few tears. But ironically the loudest wake up call happened a few nights ago, when, at 4am I was tossing and turning, unable to sleep (instead going through to-do lists in my mind), and I checked my phone. The email that chose to arrive in my inbox at that moment triggered off emotions I can barely begin to explain.

It was nothing huge. It simply informed me that my "LOVEFiLM account is now cancelled and no further discs will be sent out."

You'd think an email like that would be a relief (considering how much I've heard about this being an account impossible to close). But no, it hit me pretty badly. Now before you think I've gone completely bonkers, look at it this way: our Lovefilm account was one of the first things we set up when we moved here back in 2006. It's one of those little things that's followed us from our first flat in London, to our second, to our house in Rochester.

And since then it's been a barrage of emotions. Granted, I am quite sure pregnancy hormones are making it worse but closing every single account and starting our goodbyes, even as impersonal as some have been - knowing the harder ones are yet to come, it all starts to add up.

We dropped by to peek at the first place we called home here in England the other day. It was very bittersweet and felt like we were revisiting a different life. The place still smelt the same (there is a certain smell to the air because of a factory nearby) and it really took us back. I imagine that one day, it will feel surreal to visit our current house too. 




So I think that perhaps it will have to be goodbye from me on this end too. My next update will most probably be from Malta, so wish us luck and a calm state of mind!!! Over the next few days we're certainly going to need it!

Remembering Me

I never got round to writing a post welcoming 2013. Not that it needed welcoming - it was going to happen whether we wanted it to or not, whether those Mayans thought it would or not. And I don't really do resolutions because as we all know they very rarely last a week. It just doesn't seem worth the effort of thinking them up.

But if there is something I want to do in 2013, it's remember Me. Last year, I pushed myself aside. I forgot about me, things got so busy sometimes even having a shower felt like a waste of time. When I did have some spare time I was mostly so pooped I could barely scrape myself up off the sofa to do anything. Emily was my number one and I took a very severe back seat.

No more. 

I count too. I want to feel good about myself. I want to step out of the house and not cringe if I spot someone I know on the street. I want to feel proud of my accomplishments and where I am and how far I've come. I want to be - need to be - a good role model for Emily. I want to stand tall and be proud of Me.




So this year I will take time for myself. I will pamper myself, do my nails and my hair and similar shallow things that make me feel like I can take on the world. I will enjoy being a woman. I will remember that I count. I will not be made to do things because they benefit other people only. I will not be pushed around or guilted into things. I will accept that some things just aren't meant to be, and I will block out anyone who tries to tell me otherwise. At the same time, I will push myself out of my comfort zone to the extent that I can, I will challenge myself and discover. I will be a peaceful person, at peace with myself and those around me. I will be a better, all-rounded, human being (who enjoys a good bitching session every now and again).

Remind me of all this in April when I am drowning under dirty newborn nappies and begging for sleep and snapping at anyone who so much as glances in my direction. Remind me that as a person with by then three months of rebuilding Me, I can and will get through this.

(PS I have no illusion that I will be prancing around in 6-inch heels but it never hurt anyone to dream.)

Naming Squiggle

I received a press release about baby names the other day. Apparently, these were the top twenty UK baby names for 2012, according to babynames.co.uk:

Ethan, Eva, Leo, Dylan, Jacob, Oliver, Noah, Ella, Alfie, Amelia,
Mia, Isla, Max, Charlie, Alice, Joshua, Jack, Oscar, Isabella, Imogen

Colour me relieved to see Emily didn't make an appearance in there this year, after being 5th in 2011. FIFTH! I don't regret calling her Emily at all, but I know she'll complain about being one of so many down the line. Then again, she'd have complained had I named her Philomena too (no it was never an option) so I guess I could point that out to her when she does. 


We have settled on a name for Squiggle. Want to know what it is?


Did you catch it? :) It's not a common name in the UK, but it's listed in this popular baby names in Malta list (which is, admittedly, quite long). Still, I don't think it should be a huge issue. 

While looking up that last link, I came across this... Names from Malta. It made me giggle. I can appreciate that some of those "names" may sound beautiful to a foreigner, but fellow Maltese... can you imagine naming your child Addolorata, Marsa or Xewqa?!


[Edit Jan 2013: I don't mean to be difficult, but the name has since changed. It will be announced once he's born ;)]