The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year’s Eve Reminiscing

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A year ago, we were driving back to my in-laws’ when we decided to stop in the little town of La Grange, Missouri. There, on the banks of the legendary Mississippi, we said good-bye to 2011. The sun was setting and the river water was still. It was a curiously mild evening and the only sound we could hear was the gravel crunching under our feet.
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From that day to this, I’ve discovered a bit more of the world and a lot more about myself. It is, perhaps, a well-known fact that the older we grow, the more comfortable we are in our own skins. This year I decided that I would sugar-coat my words less, and perhaps I’ve stepped on a few toes here and there when doing so, but I have felt better for being true to myself. No more needless anxiety about unvoiced opinions.
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On a less personal level, we were able to do something which we really love to do, which is travelling. As I said, we started the year in Missouri. In May we went to Sicily for a brief visit to our northern neighbour. I was struck by the similarities between the two islands but then, I should not have been so surprised. We shared a common history for hundreds of years after all. Seeing Sicily through the eyes of an adult was also an eye-opening experience.
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Another trip, in July, took us to the land of castles, cliffs and coves – Cornwall was a wonderful experience that I will not forget any time soon. I have a strange habit of falling in love with places and leaving a little fragment of my heart behind. Thankfully, there always seems to be a piece of my heart left to leave in one place or another.
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This year we will be bidding farewell to 2012 here at home, on the shores of the Mediterranean. The weather is mild, the water is calm and, across the harbour, the golden silhouettes of Fort St Elmo and Senglea Point are reflected in the sea below. If is a moment of reflection about the year that is fleeing away and the new one that is on the threshold. In the east, 2013 has been welcomed with fireworks and jubilant cheering. Over here, a few hours of reflection about the past and the future remain. As the dying year ebbs away, I wish you all  a wonderful 2013 filled with love, peace, joy and, above all, health.
Location: The Mississippi River, La Grange (MO);
Senglea Point & Fort St Angelo from the Valletta Waterfront

Monday, 24 December 2012

So This Is Christmas

The world has turned full circle again, the shortest day has come and gone and it is officially winter. In the midst of all the chaos, the parties and the ever-increasing amounts of food, we prepare our hearts for the most wonderful celebration of the year.
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Last year we were in Missouri hoping for a white Christmas which we didn’t get. This year we are home and keeping our fingers crossed that it won’t be too warm and humid. Today the sky is gloomy and the clouds are hanging low. We will see what tomorrow will bring.
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I am on vacation for the next 10 days, with at  least one thousand plans in my head. Too much to do, too little time.
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But tomorrow is Christmas. Time to slow down, time to hug loved ones close. Time to sit back and contemplate the reason for the season.
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I wish you all a very joyful and peaceful Christmas with your nearest and dearest.
Location: Christmas lights in Republic Street & Merchants’ Street and the Fountains in St George’s Square, Valletta

Monday, 17 December 2012

All I Want For Christmas

Reality, sometimes, just slaps you in the face and stops you rudely in your tracks. It happened to me, this past weekend, as I am sure it happened to all of you.
A few weeks ago I made a new online friend who you can visit at Always Josefa. In one of her recent posts Josefa challenged me to reveal what I would ask for if I got to sit on Santa’s knee. Well, I am a bit too old to believe in Santa but I was planning on playing along and letting you know what this girl craves. But then came the tragedy in Newton CT and a part of me just shut down. You see, I was angry; more than angry, I was outraged. And shocked; and deeply, immeasurably sad. At the futility of it all. At the tragic loss of so many innocent lives. What type of person do you have to be to look at the faces of such young children and cold-bloodedly pull the trigger? This weekend I lost all sense of comprehension and, outside my house, it was a dark and bitter world.
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My heart broke for those parents as I thought of gifts that would remain unopened under the Christmas tree; of stuffed animals that would no longer be cuddled; of smiles cut short by a murderous monster.  Because that is what he was and I will not mince my words. Why, why? I angrily asked. But, of course, no answer was forthcoming.USA 070
What do I wish for this Christmas? It is probably what we all wish for. To change the events of last Friday and bring back all those little angels. But, of course, that is impossible and definitely not a miracle that can be pulled off by a fat man in a red velvet suit. And that’s when I thought of El Maestro, as Suze loves to call him – the great conductor up in the sky. This was one wish that he alone has the power to grant. USA 074-1
It is a simple wish, for the children of the world. May they all have food and water and clothes. May they all have a warm bed at night and loving hands to tuck them in. May they never see a gun or learn what a bomb is. And may they always know love, kindness and compassion. Is it too much to ask? Children deserve no less. Let us all be brave enough to look at the world through their eyes, even if it is for just one day. Learn to love unconditionally, as they do and be quick to forgive and forget as only they know how.
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I’ve heard it said that butterflies are the souls of children. For all those little souls that were lost, may butterflies gently guide them to the land of no goodbyes.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A Tale Of Christmases Past

Christmas is my favourite time for making memories. Like a child, I await Christmas with the expectation that something magical will happen during this season. And it is with a child’s same sense of excitement that I open up the boxes in which we store our Christmas decorations. I know that many people decorate their tree around a theme or around a certain colour scheme: red and gold; silver and blue; pick and purple … But our tree is a little bit different. Perhaps you can call it a celebration in diversity. All our ornaments are hand-picked. They are there for a reason. Either because they are totally wacky and unexpected, or because they evoke precious memories of events, people or places.
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Mementoes from our travels bring with them memories of the sluggish canal waters on a hot summer’s day; of gently falling snow-flakes at the Schonnbrun Christmas market; of the wild-life and sweeping vistas at Rocky Mountain National Park.
There are fragments of our life: our first Christmas together, a token from our wedding and that most precious Christmas, in 2006, which was our son’s first.
A sweet  memento of a much-loved cat (who had heaps of cattitude) whose cheeky face is still greatly misssed.
There’s a little bit of each of us on the tree. My husband’s native city, his beloved baseball team and his passion for electric guitars. There’s a mouse for the Mischief Maker (in honour of his favourite soft toy) and a cute little baby dinosaur – because which little boy doesn’t like dinosaurs? And, of course, there are little pieces of me – angels and teddy-bears and hand-made gifts from friends.
And perhaps the most poignant memory of all, the oldest ornament on the tree, a little pink angel that used to hang on my mother’s tree and on my Nanna’s tree before that. If only it could talk, what wonderful stories it would tell.
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Ten memories, a hundred memories, strung around the tree, like a garland of pearls. Little ornaments with heart-warming tales to share. So I’ll pull up an arm-chair, sip some mulled wine and wait for their whispered secrets to fill the pine-scented air.
That’s when it’s time to let the magic of Christmases past wash over me and work within me. Treasured moments that will remain with me forever.
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May you all make wonderful memories this Christmas season.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Queen of Procrastination

Yes, that would be me. I’ve been sitting here for over an hour trying to write something coherent. But I am feeling really distracted tonight. I had four different things that I wanted to write about. I just couldn’t decide which topic to choose and I ended up wasting my time and procrastinating. But what’s new?
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So I am keeping this really short today  … just letting you know that I am working on something. Kind of Smile
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Summer flowers, June 2012


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