The boy left, the man returned.
by Chuck Swinden
(Sudbury Ontario Canada)
The year was 2007, and just like so many who took their very first breath on this little island gem in the middle of the Mediterranean, the return visit after thirty years of being absent would turn out to be one of reconnection and confirmation.
The journey would teach me that for whatever reason and logic that may have encouraged me and so many like me, to migrate from this beautiful spot, the return visit would impact me in a way equal or more, in wanting to come back again.
Youth brings wanting of success and accomplishment in one’s life, a chance to show what one can do, what one can become. Time on the other hand, teaches the value of what is worth more to you and what you really appreciate, no matter what you may have convinced yourself when you were young and brazen.
The first sense of pride was hearing the voice of the flight crew over the plane’s PA system in Maltese. Only a few decades before, this was non existent, unheard of even.
Here I am sitting in a plane full of people heading back to Malta, with a wife that has heard so much about this place from me and my telling so many, that this is where I was born.
This is not going to be just a vacation, this is going to be more of a personal pilgrimage, but certainly not one that I was aware of.
Arrival at the airport during Easter, would in itself unfold in a way to remind me and everyone arriving in Malta, the passion, the excitement and devotion that these people have.
They seldom do anything without a love and lust for all things worth having. It reminded me of who I am, and where I so often get the very same drive and behaviour.
The meeting up with family, gave me assurance that no matter when I left, or who I left behind on this gem of an island, I am still a Maltese kid and have nothing but pride to be so fortunate.
The rest of my visit allowed me to appreciate all that this beautiful place had to offer, the food, people, scenery, history that most could only imagine and I came from here.
I am one of her children and like so many, will come back home to appreciate all her wonderment and warmth.
I took many pictures to bring back and show everyone, but me and my wife left our hearts there, secure in the knowing that we are just away right now visiting, but we will be coming back to stay and just the same way I took my first breath into this world on that island, I'm quite content when the time comes, to take my very last.
Often I have heard the Maltese being called things like "so passionate", "loud", "excitable" and so on, I laugh and say, "yep that’s true", then again, they are full of life, make some noise, "do not go gentle into that good night", it’s more fun.
Besides, none of us are really here for a long time, why not make it for a good time and what better place can that be, Malta of course.