In 1991, After 14 years in Canada, we moved back to Malta for good. There were a myriad of reasons but I guess the main ones were because the economy was on the mend and that we would be close to family.
Needless to say that this was a culture shock for me and it took a very long time to for me to get used to Maltese culture and I admit even to this day I still feel like a bit of an outsider in certain aspects (but more of that in the near future).
Do not get me wrong, I do not hate Malta. True it’s like living in some fantasy land where reality is slightly unhinged but I got used to that, to be fair I found living in Canada (with the exception of the reserve and there are exceptions to that exception!) difficult as well.
In a previous post I mentioned driving mania and so on but those are just minor things, I think that one aspect of our culture that took me a long time to get used to is simply … ‘talk’.
Malta, being a small island, means that people do live in close proximity to each other. This results in lots of gossip. Now everyone gossips but what bothers me is that this leads to an ultra sense of secrecy that verges on the ridiculous. I get irritated hearing people talk in low voices or whispering in each other’s ears, or even worse the famous sentence that begins do you know about so and so, don’t tell anyone else. Although I’m not the type to blurt things out, I find it strange that if you are open with your feelings and express your views loudly you can get into deep trouble here. There have been many times in the past when I would receive an e mail from someone asking me why I was spreading gossip. In reality that person would have told me something which I considered funny and felt like sharing. After learning some lessons the hard way I just tell people not to share anything cause its most likely that it will come up in a conversation.
It is safer that way.
One of the best scenes from the movie Doubt: