Someone Once Told Me

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2199“Five years ago, in 2008, I’d just moved to Malta from England,” Paddy says in his audio clip. “I’d just finished university and I’d come here on a 10 week internship at the Times of Malta, its biggest newspaper.

”What I knew about Malta was that there was a British connection with the war, I knew where it was, I had a friend from school who was half-Maltese but I’d never been here and had no family or friends here. I didn’t really know exactly what to expect when I got here.

”I went to the office on the first day and I was the only non-Maltese person in the whole office. I didn’t have a lot of newspaper experience, only the Leeds student newspaper. Because of the circumstances I was a little bit scared and apprehensive. But I was willing and trying to impress and do as much as I could.

“At one point I went over to the editor, who’s a really nice guy – and I’m not just saying that – Herman Grech, and I said something in my quite strong regional North West of England accent. He looked at me blank and told me this, in flawless English, in a Maltese accent but very well spoken.

”It threw me completely, he was joking obviously but from that moment on I was really conscious that if I’m going to work here, I really need to be able to be understood. So it was a funny moment but it was also a bit of an eye opener, to realise that it’s a bilingual country but if someone who spoke English as well as he did couldn’t understand me, what chance would people who don’t speak English that well have?

”I still have that problem slightly, especially if I’m a little bit frazzled at work and especially on the phone sometimes, but I think I’ve got better now. I’ve adapted my speech to have a bit more of a Maltese rhythm sometimes.

”That stuck with me today because I knew I was meeting a Maltese English person, and I thought when I was leaving the office that was the first thing that I thought of. So that’s why I chose this phrase.” Taken in Strait Street, Valletta, Malta on the SOTM World Tour.

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