We’re born, we live, we drink, we drive unsafely, have a family, work our asses off, and we pass on. We all have things in common, but living on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean pushes us to share a lot of similar experiences with our neighbours.
Here’s how most Maltese people make it to adulthood.
We all started off the same. Whether you were born in the old St. Lukes hospital, or in the new Mater Dei, it’s the beginning we all share.
A beautiful baby girl or boy, born a citizen of a tiny island, in a hospital that’s probably harbouring all the people you’ll ever meet, make friends with, and hate.
For many of us, this will be our first form of proper socialising with the people our age.
Although we probably don’t remember it, there’s always that one story that has been told in the family for ages of when we went to kindergarten, and did something weird and noteworthy.
“U miskin taf kif qabad jibki kif mort biex nitlaq hux? Għamel naqa pipi taħtu!”
Chilling while everyone does their utmost to please and feed you wasn’t going to last forever. It’s time to get that uniform on, break your parents’ hearts and leave them to hit the books.
Primary school passes in a flash, secondary school takes slightly longer (and feels doubly long), and once puberty hits, you’ll be enjoying your first existential crises and mental breakdowns.
Talking about mental breakdowns, welcome to the O Levels.
Fresh-faced and with no idea what to really expect, you enter the Ordinary Levels examination rooms. Everyone in your life has up till this point been telling you how insanely important these exams are, and how they will define your life.
You’re way too cool to stay with your parents anymore. It’s time to be yourself, find yourself and… experiment.
Around this time, you’ll be getting a taste of alcohol, going out, having your first relationships, and – as corny as it sounds – defining your personalities.
Walking into your first interview with an oversized shirt, ill-fitting trousers, and shoes which have definitely seen better days.
It’s time you realise the importance and value of money. No more asking mamma and papa for pocket money, it’s time you go make some for yourself.
You got to learn the beautiful inner workings of businesses, and (allegedly) start to mature.
Sixth Form + A Levels
Wearing your clothes and being paid to study? This is more like it.
Developing on a personal level, and making more and more friends is about to be given a whole new meaning. For many Maltese people, Sixth Form quickly becomes the most cherished two years of their lives, perfectly bridging the gap between childhood and (young) adulthood.
If only your parents would stop treating you like a child, and expecting you to act like an adult. Good luck for those A levels boys and girls!
OFF WITH THE LADS / LASSES
Probably a time where most of us get off the island and take our first holidays without the parents.
You’ve just turned 18 and want to visit new places, meet new places and people, and test new culture. You get to save up all summer working jobs you hate, but it’s worth it to get on that plane and feeling proper independence for the first time. What a rush.
Although who are we kidding; you’re going to be missing Malta and counting down the hours till you’re back in the spoiling arms of your parents soon enough.
Aaaaand back to reality.
Much like most of your life up to now, here’s more time for learning, studying, exams and stress. All in all it’s not so bad, and you’ll eventually look back at your time in university fondly.
You’ll also get to take that graduation picture that just might bring a tear into your mother’s eye.
This is it.
You’re at the prime of life. Studying, exams and qualifications behind you. It’s finally time to… buckle down and get a taste of a proper full time job you’re likely to do for at least a couple of years.
Don’t worry; it’s not all that bad. And hey; you’ll soon enough have even more money to spoil yourself!
Bye mum and dad, we’re out of here. Finally.
This might happen in people’s late teens or early 20s around the world, but you might be well into your 30s if you’re going through this in Malta.
You’ve saved up a couple of Euros. You’re ready to leave your mother cooking behind, take that crippling loan and move out.
Find your new nest to move in to, and at the dead of night cry in the mirror and realise just how good you had it with dear mother.
A day you’ll never forget.
Bind yourself to the person you love in the eyes of God, the state, both, or neither.
You’ve survived the leap into becoming an adult and found a person to hopefully spend the rest of your life with. Good luck, and here’s hoping you’ve matured enough by now!