2199Five years ago, in 2008, Id just moved to Malta from England, Paddy says in his audio clip. Id just finished university and Id 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 Id never been here and had no family or friends here. I didnt 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 didnt 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, whos a really nice guy and Im 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 Im 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 its a bilingual country but if someone who spoke English as well as he did couldnt understand me, what chance would people who dont speak English that well have?
I still have that problem slightly, especially if Im a little bit frazzled at work and especially on the phone sometimes, but I think Ive got better now. Ive 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 thats why I chose this phrase. Taken in Strait Street, Valletta, Malta on the SOTM World Tour.