Imber Levis

Month: October, 2012

On Malta (the first of many)

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:



New Blog Title


 It means drizzle. The reasons why this was chosen because:

1) I like the sound of the word. 

2) It sounds cool in Latin.

3) Ideas really just do drizzle out onto the page.


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On Driving

When I moved to Malta from Canada in 1991 , I went through a major culture shock and it took me a long time to actually adapt myself to the Maltese way of life. Saying that, there are two things which I cannot get used to.

1) That there isn’t wall to wall carpeting in houses ( I know its impractical but seeing all those bare tiles is weird)

2) The fanaticism over driving.

Honestly if I could count the amount of times I’ve had people ask me ‘Do you drive?’ I would need a mathematician to create some sort of formula to accompany said question.

If you want to receive over one hundred ‘likes’ on Facebook all you have to do is write ‘Passed my driving test!!’ and trust me it will surpass even the cutest baby photo.

I have always promised never to make fun of my culture to people who live outside of the island but since the majority of  my foreign acquaintances do not drive and don’t even care, they find it hilarious when I tell them about our obsession with learning how to drive. I mean technically speaking Malta is small and a bus ride should take only twenty minutes to arrive at a destination so driving is futile.

Just to put you in perspective, when I was 18 , I attempted to drive but after 6 months and never progressing, my instructor abandoned me ( this after the day I crashed into a wall and crushed the bumper)  so I thought that I, simply, am not capable of driving.

This summer two events changed my opinion.

The first was the overhaul of our old bus system in 2011. I thought that after a year things would improve but I was still waiting for very long periods of time, walking through small villages to reach my destination. I would arrive late or I would have to prepare at least 90 minutes beforehand. To be fair things have improved slightly ( I still commute now and then) but I still have to wait for over an  hour before a bus shows up.

The second event was my gf  taking me out to an abandoned parking lot and letting me drive her car. This was a huge confidence boost and I did feel like I could attempt driving again.

The thing is most instructors assume that their pupils know how to drive already but in my case its not simply a case of  pointing at the various pedals and telling when to use them. I need to know the mechanics behind each gear, lever and button. At least this was put in perspective for me.

I guess there is a happy ending to this story as I have started to drive and despite the fact that I still feel confused now and then I am determined to get that license and there are signs of improvement with each lesson. I do have a long way to go though.

Here’s what I feel like when on the road 



Now and then paragraphs and images just pop into my brain.  I like experimenting with different styles as I’m not sure which type suits me. One thing I do believe in is presenting a clear picture so that the passage plays like some sort of film in the person’s mind. I’m very rusty so do excuse me if the writing’s a bit on the creaky side.


There were ten fans.

Ten ceiling fans, each swirling clockwise like ten dervishes. All in rhythm and moving at the same speed. Nothing was out of place.

or was there?

As the librarian was stared at these ten fans, he noticed that one of them was quivering slightly. He ignored it thinking that it wasn’t a problem, anyway he had a tiring day and didn’t have the initiative to tell someone to fix it. Mondays always drained him so he decided to not to call the handyperson.

The next day the quiver turned into a shake and by Friday the whole thing was practically dislodged from the ceiling. Only a couple of screws were keeping it from obeying the laws of gravity.

At this point the librarian began to reflect on this black sheep of a fan, wondering the direction it would go when it fall. Would it fly in the air? or  would it just go straight to the ground?

Just then the librarian’s colleague walked in and began to leaf through the books and began to utter out some chit chat about how the students adored his lessons and had many followers who looked up to him. At this point he wasn’t really listening (and he had heard this diatribe  countless  times) and was  staring intently at the fan, having a gut feeling that something interesting was going to happen.


The fan broke away, the blades slicing through the air and straight into the colleague’s neck, the body slumped on the floor with a dull thud while a pool of blood was slowly turning the white tiles a rich shade of crimson. The head just finished rolling and stopped at a nearby shelving unit.

The librarian walked over to the body, inspected it and then said out loud.

‘I assume that was your biggest fan yet’.

Standard Introductory Post

Six years ago I had a Live Journal ( do people still use LJ?) account and I used it as a diary. I wanted to create a warts and all account of everything that was happening to me daily and include my musings on life and so on.

The end result was a whiny piece of highly opinionated garbage with way too many posts about music. Needless to say that this blog will not be about that.

You could say that this is an attempt to just write down certain ideas that I have been harbouring for a long time, maybe the odd anecdote or weird situations I tend to find myself in. Maybe there will be a pic or comic that I like and will chuck it here.

A bit about me ( the boasting bit) :

Well I’m approaching my mid thirties and my likes are the usual : Reading novels , listening to music – mainly of the alt/pitchfork approved variety and I dj on a monthly basis, I adore watching cultish films and cartoons from the golden age of animation, I also record music under the moniker, The Suburbanite and my first release proper should be exposed to the public eye sometime next year, I write reviews for a local site called Stagedive and I have my own radio show called Vindictive Jukebox.

I’m in a relationship with a cute as a button girlfriend who is one hell of a motivational speaker, not to mention creative too!  Henceforth she will be known as The gf.

Oh yeah CATS – I love cats and wherever I go they crawl out of the woodwork.

Profession-wise I work as a school librarian and  I teach library skills to kids aged 5 – 16 and trust me, with the younger kids you have enough stories to fill a couple of volumes but I’ll try keep that to a minimum as I don’t really want to talk about the workplace – data protection and all that. All I can say is that although I’m constantly busy I am quite proud of developing literary skills and managing two libraries, which is not easy, In fact I do get pissed off when people think my job is relatively easy.

If we jump even further into the past; I was born in Canada and although I traveled quite a bit during my 14 year sojourn there, I lived mostly in an Indian reservation in northern Manitoba. Then in 1991 I moved to Malta (as my parents are Maltese) and I’ve been here ever since. Do I want to go back? hmmm let’s say that I am a little bit curious at this point in time.

That’s all I can think of for now but I assume that as the blog progresses more bits and pieces will start to materialise.  Originally I thought I would only write a few sentences – telegraphic style but it seems that I managed a bit more 🙂