Saturday, June 9, 2007

June in Malta part 1

June 8, 2007
I am once again being tempted by rumors, and hope that my heart will not again be broken. I have been told that the documents that have been in Maltese government hands for more than 3 weeks (instead of the usual 1 day) have been released and we can schedule delivery of our ship freight. The date set right now is next Thursday, June 14, which gives me about 4 days to unpack everything before book club at our house and then my dad showing up 2 days later. Think I can do it?!?!

This week will really be like Christmas in July, between all the stuff Terry is bringing back from his trip home and now having access to my stuff again. Who knows, maybe I'll even be more parsimonious with my blog entries :-)

June 9, 2007
Today the hospital where I plan to have my baby had an open house for mothers-to-be so I went, having no idea at all what it would be about. Turns out it was lots of vendors of baby products and some seminars on topics like banking cord blood, postpartum depression, natural childbirth, etc. The schedule of seminars was totally wrong, so I didn't know when the ones I wanted to attend were, so after accidentally getting sucked into the cord blood one (we're not planning to pay to bank cord blood and certainly wouldn't be doing it at a facility in the UK if we did want to) I stayed away from the lecture room.

The very interesting thing is that they had a lovely assortment of warm hors d'oeuvres, mini sandwiches, etc. The sandwiches had either (1) gbejniet - Maltese goat's milk cheese, it MAY have been pasteurized but that is doubtful; (2) shrimp and smoked salmon, or (3) prosciutto. In the USA, every one of these sandwiches would have been verboten for pregnant women, and this was at an event specifically for pregnant women.

I walked away with bags of reading material and goodies such as samples of formula, diapers, baby massage creme ... mmmmm.... One thing I found very interesting is that for many of the vendors, they didn't have any real offices. Everyone gave me a card and said I could call or SMS for more information or to place orders. One vendor of formula said they deliver for free and will even deliver diapers. Now that is service! I did find it interesting that in a country where breast feeding is completely assumed - every hospital that has labor wards has lactation specialists, 24-hour hotlines, etc. - that there were so many formula vendors. And even the vendors acknowledged they assume we will all breast feed, but that when people return to work or want to have a break there is formula to fill the gap. I wonder if they don't pump and store breast milk - the way most breastfeeding women I know in the USA would do - because of the
apparently frequent power outages that would spoil any milk in the freezer. Something to think about.

I was also amazed this morning when I was walking Kirby in the Gardens (aka San Anton Gardens) and got yelled at by a lady in Maltese for allegedly not picking up my dog's poop. First, of course I picked it up. Second, it had happened long before she walked in so the person she thought she saw could not have been us. Third, and most importantly - NOBODY cleans up after their dogs here. At first I was greatly put out by her, then I decided I should appreciate that there is actually someone else here who wants the sidewalks and pathways to be clean.

June 11, 2007
When will I learn?!?!?!?!? Our ship freight can't be delivered in Thursday because ... are you ready for this ... IT IS NOT IN MALTA. We just pissed away 4 weeks of our lives waiting for MFA to finally give our docs back, and when we contact the shipping company to arrange the delivery, they realize they can't find our container. Oh wait, they left it in Italy.

I had been joking that they pushed the container overseas and are now stalling to avoid paying the insurance, but now I am not so sure that isn't what happened here. We'll hope to find out more today. Poor Terry, first day back after 3 weeks away and he has to run around dealing with admin crap that should have been dealt with weeks ago!

June 12, 2007
OK, our container is still in Italy (allegedly) and who knows when it will be put on a boat? Im'shalla, we will receive our container some time before March 2009, when we leave this post.

On to good news ... I am getting off the island! Although I have not felt the island fever everyone talks about, I have been desperately missing good red meat. Baby needs extra iron, so I think I am taking it harder than I would have otherwise - I didn't have these cravings when I was in India for the summer. When my dad comes to visit a week from tomorrow, he will be heading off to England before back to the USA, and through the good work of a good travel agent, I will be heading to England with him. As an extra bonus the flight home includes an 8 hour layover in London so I get to get out into the city a little, at least hit a museum and a restaurant. My wonderful husband then gets to pick me up at the airport at 1am. He's very good to me.

Other good news - baby kicked for Terry tonight. He got to feel a few good ones - it was the first time he'd felt it (the other night when I think baby had the hiccups at 5:15am I didn't think he wanted to be awakened, so I let him sleep through that one) I have heard the baby's sleep and wake schedule in utero is the same one they will have once they come out, so I have been trying to keep general track of when baby's active.

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