Where Are You From?
I am from sea-urchins and anchovies, and from Lighthouse Sea Salt and the Mediterranean’s best-kept secret island… I am from the Grand Harbour view flat, cosy, homely, comfortable, an islander who feels as much at home in the water as outside it.
I am from the tiger lily freckles and the honeysuckle tendrils, and orange blossom water used as scent because it smells faintly of 4711.
I am from the lion rampant holding the fleur-de-lys; the stubborn and the witty, the tall and the big-footed. I am from the Paul and the Catherine, but also from Valletta, Vittoriosa and Zabbar.
I am from the parsimonious yet generous, proud yet humble, solitary yet friendly clan. The ones who lisp. From the intelligent and gifted and clumsy and inept. The bookish. The let’s do crafts but not homework especially if it’s mathematics.
I am from the Catholic Pessimist and Jewish Cynic and Agnostic Believer. I read and I write and I empathise with most.
I’m from Malta, land of honey, capers, prickly pears and olives, from if I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times. And Linz in Austria. And Foggia in Italy. And anchovy and spinach pie and rabbit stew and vegetable soup with ham hock.
From the person who had stalls in the marketplace, from the person who did bobbin lace without using a pattern, from one who preserved fruits and vegetables and sold them to support her family, from the person who made designer patchwork quilts from fents.
I am from the sideboard drawers bursting at the seams with millions of photographs in sepia and monochrome. I am from Alexandria, Egypt, but also from a cauldron of Phoenician, Carthaginian, Norman and French genes.
I am me.