Maltese Traditions – Il-Quccija

Malta is a small island, and yet its multi-cultural history cannot be denied, since throughout the years it was conquered and influenced by so many civilizations. The Normans, the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Turks, the Aragonese (Spanish), the French, and the English, all left their footprints in Maltese culture and traditions, and this mix makes up the unique Maltese habits and customs we know at present.

Il-Quċċija, which could be roughly translated as ‘the choosing’ or ‘the choice’ is one of the ancient old traditions dating back to the 18th century, which is still predominantly popular today. A year after a baby is born, its parents organize a party and invite all the family members and close friends for the gathering. After having eaten traditional Maltese party food, drunk a drink or two and chatted to their heart’s content, the parents prepare a table, basket, or section of the room for the Quċċija. The aim of the Quċċija is to determine or try to prophesy which profession or career the child would have later on in life, depending on which object he or she would pick up from all those offered in the pile.

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This entails collecting and setting out many different items, all reflecting or relating to a particular profession, career or aspect of life. For example, a calculator denotes that the child will become a mathematician, a rosary that he would become a priest, a pen that he would be a writer and a book that he would be learned and wise.

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(photo: Clare Galea-Warrington – https://cgwarr.wordpress.com)

In the past, different items would be set forth for the child to pick up, depending on his or her gender. If the child was a girl, most often the parents prepared a dish or table containing a pair of scissors, meaning that the girl would become a seamstress, cooking items, a ribbon, which if picked, would mean that the girl would be a beauty, corn which denoted fertility, or an egg which used to signify that the girl would have a big and prosperous home. If the child was a boy, the items would reflect totally different professions. A stethoscope would definitely be one of the items, in the hope that the boy would grow up to be a doctor, if he grabbed an inkstand it would mean that he was going to sit for the bar and become either a lawyer or a magistrate, while if he touched a geometry instrument it would mean that he would become an architect or engineer.

Today, the tradition has changed to reflect the society we are currently living in. Careers and professions are no longer subject to one’s gender, therefore usually the same items are offered to the child at the ceremony, be they male or female. The items themselves too have evolved, in reflection of today’s technological aspect. A baby might therefore grab a computer mouse, pointing at a career in I.T, or a credit card, pointing either towards a banking career or at the promise of future wealth.

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(photo: Clare Galea-Warrington – https://cgwarr.wordpress.com)

In the end, there is really no strict list of items which must be presented, and parents tend to let the baby crawl around everyday things which are to be normally found around the household. The object the child touches first, tradition holds, will be a dominant aspect in his or her life.

This small ceremony, apart from being held in the Maltese islands, is also believed to be something of a custom in some remote parts of Sicily, Italy, and Greece.

This article was published on LivingInMalta.com – to read the whole article please go here

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What does the ‘ROUGH’ in ‘ROUGH SEX’ mean?

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It’s indisputable that after the introduction of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise; the semi-erotic soft porn love story between a sexually ignorant student and a pervy good-looking millionaire with latent mummy-issues, the interest in rough kinky sex rose to new heights. Many husbands and partners were faced with women who, after reading the eponymous trilogy of books or watching the movie, welcomed them home with leather lingerie, candy whips and furry manacles. Honestly, I don’t think they complained.

But apart from using bondage as a hopeful plot to revive a sexually-flagging marriage, or as a way of adding new spice to the relationship, what exactly constitutes rough sex?

Want to read more? My article was published on the online mag – EVE.COM – here’s the direct link  – http://www.eve.com.mt/2016/07/02/what-does-rough-in-rough-sex-mean/  

Have my Friends Forgotten Me?

Lately, it feels as if I have forgotten how to talk to people.

2015 was an enormously hectic and stressful year (though joyful too). I focused most of my time on my relationship with my boyfriend, on buying property and then later on refurbishing and moving into said property.

Now, in 2016, I suddenly realize that while my life was evolving and going forward in leaps and bounds, in a certain way, I also lost another part of it – the social part.

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As happens to many people when in a stable relationship, slowly but inexorably, most of my friends seem to have faded away from my life, becoming mere shady beings in the corner of my memory. I admit, yes, there were many invitations I turned down. Many girls nights out which I couldn’t go to. Many rain checks on my part. Many tired evenings when I simply did not have the will or the energy to dress up, put on make up and heels, and go dancing and drinking for some 5 or 6 hours. Which is the reason, perhaps, why so many people slowly disappeared from my life.

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These were mostly the fun-buddies – those many friends and acquaintances you have fun with during weekends. The drinking-buddies, dance-partners, funny friends I got drunk with in the small hours of the morning after having written fire and thunder all over the dance-floor.

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I missed out on all of this in 2015, simply because my energy, my time and my money were invested into something else. Which is why, at this moment in time, when I am finally taking a deep breath and looking around me, I am realizing that I am (almost) alone friends-wise.

Not all my friends have disappeared, but those with whom I am daily (or weekly) in contact, are mainly those who are in my same situation in life – that is, couples, people who are shacking up and buying a house together, or young parents.

Is this good, or is this bad? I miss those fun times, however at this point I think that to a certain extent they will never come again.
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Why? Because I’d rather not spend 50 euros (to say the least) on alcohol each evening and invest that money on my house, or save it up for travelling instead. Also because, I freely admit, many of these ‘friends’ I used to have so many good times with were either opportunists, hypocrites, people who wanted to get in my pants, or simply people who were there when everything was nice and happy, but disappeared whenever there was a problem – which I can well do without.

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So, part of me wants to go back and find those ‘friends’ I used to have. Go back to drinking and carousing with no limits. And another part of me wants to just go forward and find new friends who, instead of wasting money getting drunk and partying, would be content to enjoy my company during a DVD night or a picnic, and then later on, have enough money saved up to go on an extended holiday to Scotland or Hong Kong.

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What do you think? Am I getting old before my time, or is this just common sense?

Hell Girl – Anime Review

To be honest, I just started watching this anime yesterday so I cannot REALLY write a review as of yet, so this is more of a portrayal of what the anime has conveyed to me as such up to now, when I have only seen the first three episodes.

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First of all, the graphics are lovely. The characters are well drawn and the background scenes are very detailed. The anime is set mostly ‘in real life’, that is, in a city in Japan, however parts of it also take place in a surreal place – somewhere between heaven, hell and purgatory, somewhere in dreams perhaps, where the tormented spirit of the ‘Hell Girl’, Ai Enma, resides, with her three companions and servants. It is quite a dark anime, which may be considered to be gothic and/or horror too.

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Ai Enma, also known as Jigoku Shōjo, is a mysterious figure. Sometimes we are treated with short images of her past, when she was killed. We know someone who loved betrayed her, that she is angry about it and has looked for revenge for 400 years ever since, all the while being a ‘Hell Girl’, that is a powerful spirit who grants those who want revenge, the death of the people they name. Ai Enma offers a covenant – those who want her to rid them of someone, who is shipped to hell, are given a black poppet or doll, with a red string. If they decide to accept the pact, they untie the red string, on the condition that once they die, they too will go straight to hell, as payment for the debt owed to Ai. The ‘fun thing’ is the way they make their request in the first place – Hell has ‘gone modern’ in this case, since all they have to do is send an email request at midnight, and the Hell Girl promptly sends them a text message on their mobile to confirm the receipt.

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Very VERY interesting plot line. Each episode portrays a different story – a different client, and why they choose to sell their soul, in order to get rid of a particular person who is doing them, or a loved one, harm. Some of the scenes are fairly strong and psychological, in fact this is not an anime for children, but is marked 17+

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The anime is not short – having three seasons of around 23 episodes each. I have also discovered that there is a live action series, comprising of 23 episodes of half an hour each, which I definitely mean to get as well.

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All in all, I am really looking forward to continuing this series. Aaaaaaaa Anime <3!!!

I am not a COOL GIRL

“Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.” – Gillian Flynn

This is one of my favourite passages from ‘Gone Girl’ and one of the most revealing ones. Here again, is a case where those who have watched the movie but not read the book, will not understand at all. In the movie, we view the main character as a social psychopath because she goes ‘too far’ when exacting vengeance on her cheating husband, without knowing WHY. The novel explains it all. Especially to those girls, who like me, were never, never will be, and DO NOT WANT TO BE COOL.

In ‘Gone Girl’ Amy, from the very first date, tries to be the ‘cool girl’ – that kind of laid-back, hot-without-effort girl every guy wants to date. A poster child. A myth. She represses her feelings, represses herself every time there is something her husband does which she does not like or approve of, is always positive, even when she feels a mess, keeps her insecurities and internal turmoil locked away, and in reality tries to change and twist her character in order to please her partner. The problem is that she not only ends up unhappy and depressed, but that her partner doesn’t even ever know who she really is.

Well, I am not ‘cool girl’. Most definitely not. If you do something I don’t like, I will tell you. If I am pissed, I will tell you. I am weird, I am an introvert, I prefer books to most humans, and I am proud of that too. I am quirky and have strange habits you will never understand (though I appreciate you remembering them and making an effort to try). I am opinionated, loud, sulky, suffer from mood-swings. Sometimes I may go days without really wanting to talk about an issue, then out it will come in one big bang. Other times, I will chew off your ear for not using correct grammar, forget I have already told you something a thousand times, go on and on about the book I’m reading, give an impromptu lesson about some unpopular historical period, or just jump and hug you at inappropriate moments.

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No, I am not cool – but here’s the thing – I am honest. I am true. And I am yours and yours only. What you see is what you get. I am scuffled, scarred, marked. I have been broken, and patched myself back togather more than once. I have been hurt, and sometimes it shows. This is what makes my love and feelings even stronger – no I could not love just anyone. I find it very hard to trust and show someone what I am really like, especially when I’m at my most vulnerable. But I have no problem with appearing weak, naked, pale and limp with you. You are the one who sees me at my best, holds me at my worst, and enjoys all the time in between.

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No, I will never be cool. I do not even want to be cool. I am myself, that is who you love, and that is the reality. I do not put on masks with you, though I might when out ‘in real life’, especially since I do not condone or agree with most of the stupid populace out there. I am an intellectual elitist who realized early on in life that she cannot stomach most people, since most people are obtuse and stupid, and that is fine. I am someone who likes debate, is loud when talking about things close to her heart, passionate, hard-headed, yet open-minded and tolerant.

You know me. The real me. No – no ‘cool girl’ trying to be what others desire her to be here. Just me, holding your hand and kissing your shoulder while you sleep, knowing that you won’t even feel me, but doing it anyway, because I cannot be near you and not kiss you. Just me, playing with your curls and loving your clean smell right after you shower. Just me, getting lost in thoughts and dreams, jotting them down at 4am and then loosing the paper. Just me, re-arranging smarties by colour and drawing matching tattoos on napkins. Just me, putting my little treasures somewhere ‘for safe-keeping’ and then forgetting everything about them, and ‘re-discovering’ them months later. Just me, talking to cats in the street, and arguing with the T.V. Just me, re-arranging my socks, singing to anime songs, tipsy on Sangria waiting for you to come home.

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I do not know what brought this on, especially since I was so angry all of last night and this morning. Don’t ask why. Believe me, you don’t wanna know ;p

Why does a Penis get floppy during Sex?

Yesterday I was watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy with my bf (yes, I like Grey’s Anatomy – shoot me ;p), and one of the characters started dating an ex model, whom he liked a lot. This guy was known for being a bit of a Casanova, as well as for his sexual prowess, however when he came to do the deed with this girl – he flopped. Literally.

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The issue apparently was emotion-related. The guy was so used to having one-night stands and sport-sex, that when he tried doing it with someone whom he honestly cared about, he just couldn’t.

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And this got me thinking. Usually, most people tend to function better sexually when they do the act with someone they are in love with or at least feel SOMETHING about. That is the usual idea. On the other hand, this does not mean we never have good sex with people who are just random or whose main attraction is physical, and not emotional. I’m not saying that, however mostly we all agree that when there is emotional depth involved as well, the experience is better on many levels.

The guy in the series was aware of this… too much so in fact. He could take emotionless sexual intercourse, what he could not take was having feelings for someone else. The feelings coupled with the sexual attraction were just too much, and he was scared off. We might think of this situation as a fluke, but it really isn’t.

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Think about it – how many people do you know who are afraid of committing themselves emotionally? One night stands are easy. You meet someone in a bar, you hook up, you make out, you get sweaty and excited for a couple of hours, and then it’s over. The other person goes their own way, and you are free to continue your life as you usually do. Nothing has changed. You had an itch, and scratched it. That’s all.

When emotions are involved, it’s an entire kettle of fish. You know you could get hurt. You know that if that person rejects you, your disappointment will probably affect your self-esteem. You are investing time, moods, and feelings over someone who, no matter how you look at it, is a stranger, and are giving him/her power over you.

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That is what it actually boils down to. When you feel something for someone, you give them power over you. Sex is just sex. Feelings are something else.

Which is why, I guess, the guy from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ couldn’t get his dick up. Fear is a great lust deterrent. However without fear, without the threat of loosing something precious to us, without putting our heart and emotions on the line – would life be worth living?

I’m not saying that each time your partner’s penis is flaccid and can’t make it, that means he’s afraid of what he feels for you. He could be tired, sick, or plain not in the mood. However when you go out with someone new, and you are about to do it for the first time, if he can’t get it up… that’s something else.

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La Disparue

The girl without a face sat in a chair.
The walls, sporting streaks the color of dried blood, leered at her, but she could not see them.
The floor pushed itself up against the soles of her rough-shod feet, but she did not care.
The noise outside was deafening in its lusciously torrid invasion, but she could not hear it.

Colorless, she waited for the Imprinting.
She knew it would happen, because she felt it. She had always known. Inside, where it was dark, and moist, and silent.

The Imprinting would come suddenly and without warning. It would arise from all sides at once. Strangely cruel in its violent obscenity. Change everything forever. Make her forget. The Imprinting would give her a voice – one she could not choose. It would make her see things which were not really there. It would let her hear undiluted sounds of plundered senses and raped thoughts. It would come on its own, no one would force it. It was inevitable.

Blank, she shifted on the hard seat, waiting… and waiting again.

The Imprinting was free; it only cost her wings.

She couldn’t use them inside anyways. She had never gone out of the room.

If it was even a room.

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Wanted – GAY MALE BEST FRIEND! Apply here!!

I wish I had a gay-guy best friend!

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Ok, this might sound kinda weird with labeling-overtones, but really, let me explain what I mean.

Yesterday, one of my colleagues, a very extrovert, bouncy, happy-go-lucky and vociferously gay young man, who is also a local media personality, being a singer and an amateur ‘magician’, told me I have ‘nice breasts’. Now, seriously, apart from boyfriends/dates/interested males who wanted sexual favors or other stuff from me, and who appreciated my boobs, but definitely did not use the word ‘nice’ NO FEMALE friend would ever compliment another female on her boobs. Except if she was asked at point blank of course, when she would probably say ‘You have a nice figure’, but not ‘You have nice boobs’.

See, female friends are complicated that way! They try to be friendly and helpful, without being bitchy or pushy, they try to give advice without seeming to, and give compliments while trying at least to appear ‘neutral’, that is to show that the compliment is being given because they really believe it, and not because they like you and are therefore trying to be nice – which is actually most often the case anyways. Female friends walk a thin line, being always aware that the smallest gesture or comment could be classified by the other female as a pointer to envy.

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On the other hand, I have yet to encounter a male, ‘friend’ or otherwise, who is totally honest when he comments about a girl physically. A male would either mutter, flutter and then finally say it’s ‘ok’, lather on lavish compliments in order to get something out of you, twist the question into a joke, or escape the quandary altogether by telling you to ask someone else, since he:
a) is too in love with you to be objective
b) does not know about fashion or ‘things like that’
c) looks at you blankly and ask you what’s different from last time

*SIGH*

A gay male friend on the other hand, would not only be blatantly (and sometimes cruelly) honest, but would tell you why in great detail, while giving you tips on how to improve the situation. He would not jump to conclusions, try to get out of the issue, or be afraid of ‘hurting your feelings’. He would not even think that you might think he’s envious (as most female friends do) or that you are asking merely for him to be nice. Basically, he’d have the honesty of a guy, but the interest in the subject a girl usually has.

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Rant apart – unfortunately I have never been so blessed as to have a gay male bestie (or GMBFF). I had a couple of gay male friends, or acquaintances, and dated a couple of guys who were bi, but it’s not the same thing. A BEST FRIEND has the impetus and knows you well enough to actually be honest and intimate with you, in a way that an acquaintance, obviously, cannot.

Am I just being too optimistic in my estimate or what? 

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Searching for Knights

Pennons float, then snap in the conquering winds.
Shiny helmets flash in the meandering sun
Dappled horses sweat and paw at the ground
Strong hands grip somber cruel lances

The dust flies, the blood rises
steel meets flesh in a bath of cries and screams
Killer or killed, victim or destroyer
One and all – monsters and gods

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Yesterday I started my research for my latest writing commission (I had written about it here – https://ddmoonsong.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/new-freelancing-job-writing-about-medieval-malta/). Since part of what I was asked for was a rendition of the history of the Order of Saint John in Malta, I started reading a lot about it, and it brought it all back to life. Blessed be my unbound imagination.

Although I had learnt a bit about the Order of Saint John in my history class at school when I was quite young, most of it seems to have slithered past me since those years. Reading in detail about it, with the mind of an adult instead of a child, put everything in a different perspective. I remembered certain things which at the time, did not seem important to a child’s mind, but which now have different connotations. I read and remembered that they are the oldest Order of Knights still in existence, that they were rivals with the Order of the Knights Templars, and that while they were in Malta, since the Church had been stopping a large percentage of their income, they turned into smugglers and corsairs, that is pirates who raided Turkish towns upon the coast of North Africa, and then sold the plunder they took.

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What does that do to the concept of the ‘Knight in Shining armor’? Knights who fought for their honour, became nothing more than pirates when they lacked money. Not so heroic is it? Most girls dream of the perfect hero to come and sweep them off their feet, only to encounter the harsh reality – that no man is perfect, and that when one is in love, they have to put up with compromises if they want their relationship to work.

That, I guess, is called growing up.

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