In my last blog I talked about a Leap of Faith (my journey to Gozo). This may seem a crazy way of going about things, but I’m going to move backwards and forwards through time to explain how I got to where I am today, and about the CHANGES I’ve had to make. I always fancied being Doctor Who in his Tardis time machine, I’d love to own a Tardis, just think of all the interesting people you could meet from the past and even more interesting to find out what your future holds in store.
When I listen to other people’s advice they say it isn’t healthy to dwell on the past or to put too much faith in the future, even The Buddha said that. Well, I believe we should learn from our past so we don’t make the same mistakes in the future. And when it comes to making plans for our future, as a favorite singer of mine John Lennon once said: “Life’s what happens when you’re making other plans”. So whilst changes to our plan can and usually do happen, I still believe we all need an idea of what direction we want to go, even if we have to change course along the way.
Now as you will no doubt find out I’m a fan of The Beatles, they changed the music scene in an exponential way (I like that word exponential). Their music inspired my life “All you need is love” the list goes on. Paul McCartney helped me write a project for school, and both John and Paul came to my house twice! (That definitely has to be the subject of a separate future blog). So I’m in good company when people refer to me as a crazy brit, John Lennon was regarded by some crazy people such as Tricky Ricky also known as President Richard Nixon, he thought J.L was crazy when he put his life on the line and became a thorn in the presidents side. John Lennon was shot by another crazy American during his “Peace campaign” (conspiracy theories abound here). I learned stuff from John, like sometimes we have to take risks in order to move on and change, “change is inevitable without it we die” a slogan I used when I did a proper job.
Lennon “Tattoo” My Tattoo My Tardis
I’ve taken the Crazy Brit moniker for my “literary” pursuits. By the way I’m also on also on YouTube@ crazybritvideos. In time I’ll make available some old videos from years ago (look out everyone all will be exposed) and there’ll be new ones as I make them. Unfortunately so far I haven’t worked out how to make a video of the future (but I’m working on it) believe me I may be a little crazy but I will get by “with a little help from my friends”. As a well-known guy from Apple quoted:
Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do……Steve Jobs
Well I know I’m not gonna change the world, but with a little luck I can help myself and maybe others, to change their outlook on life.
So how did I end up here in Gozo? Well in part thanks to my ex Texan wife (more about her later hmm maybe?). I arrived back in the UK not in a Tardis on a 747 with 2 suitcases and $5000 in my pocket in September 2014. WOW! What a shock, my ex not only offered to repack my suitcases as “she was so good at packing”, (and guess what, lots of my things were missing when I unpacked), surprise, surprise. But she also managed to persuade me (well in the end I had no option) to come back to the UK at the start of winter. I arrived from Texas where it was 100f into Manchester airport in freezing weather. I know everyone said the previous 10 years had been crazy for me, and quite possibly for the people around me! But this was hard for an old geezer.
So here I was financially and emotionally buggered. Crap, I wouldn’t treat a dog like that, but I love dogs (and I’ll tell you about my girls Tasha and Munchie in a future post).
But I digress…. My family (thank god and my mum and dad for them), found me a small cottage in a place called Buckley in Flintshire, Wales. Talk about going back in time, I bought my first house here over 40 years ago, and now I was renting a tiny place within walking distance of the house I used to own, but now couldn’t afford to buy. I was cold isolated and depression set in, or the black dog as Winston Churchill used to call it. My psychiatrist said “anyone would be depressed after what you’ve been through and you are definitely not Bipolar” (I may tell that story in another post). I barely survived for over a year, I had no focus, I felt like I was a burden to everyone in my family, crap I’d never felt so low. My psychiatrist, Doctor Nirvani, now there’s a name for someone like me who describes himself as a Christian Buddhist (perhaps I’ll write a blog on that someday). But to continue, Doctor Nirvani was excellent, he cared, he listened and he treated me better than any of those “quacks” over in Texas who just dished out lots of meds and taking the money. There ought to be a law against that, street drug dealers end up in prison. But just because they have a certificate that allows them to give them out these quacks end up in mansions (that really does need to be the subject of yet another blog).
Doctor Nirvani convinced me that I really needed to get out and mix, well a lot of people had said that, so one day I did it, I’ve gotta say in the condition I was in it took a lot of courage, I really didn’t want to do it, but I did. I joined a group on an internet site called Meetup. Now for anyone who’s on their own and wanting to join a group of like-minded people without any agenda of dating or “hanky panky” (and it’ll be a long time IF and when I get to that stage) like someone once said “Trust is like virginity, once you lose it you never get it back” by this time I’d just about lost all trust in everything and everyone (including myself). However, someone else said “never say never”, who knows with time, anything can happen. Meetup was great for me and it brought back the old John, and that’s someone I hadn’t met in a very long time.
I eventually joined several Meetup groups including two here in Gozo even though I was still living in the UK, so I made friends before I even moved. That really did help me find my place here emotionally, making contact with people who appear so nice and welcoming, (I only hope it stays that way when they meet the crazy brit haha) Meetup helped give me the confidence I needed to make my change. I also joined expat.com and took part in their posts both giving and receiving advice. Expat really gave me the practical ins and outs of how to make the move to Gozo, and all from people who were either already here or considering moving. Health cover, financial planning, whether to bring a car, just about anything and everything is discussed online, all very confidential and under assumed names (mine is chalks not Crazy Brit).
We all should know that good preparation is key to the start of any new endeavor whether it’s painting a car or moving home, that’s something I learned when I did a real job. At one time I worked with a guy called Jon Kosmoski the founder of House of Kolor (and if you’re into custom cars click that link) Jon always said when you’re starting a job the most important stage is preparation. This time (unlike other times) I succeeded in making the change seamlessly because of my preparation.
Changing and getting out with friends really did save my life, I’ve invited everyone to visit me whenever they want to come, and for once I’ve got tons of room in my new place to put them up, no more inflatables on the floor (steady guy’s I’m talking mattresses’). The first good friend to come here is the attractive and clever LL, not Lois Lane, (although that would be a good match for a Superman, if only I was Superman and not crazy). Loopy Lou (as I call her) is a published author and really easy to talk with.
What on earth does she see in me? I know she’s not after my money, got none. My body? You’ve gotta be kidding.Perhaps it’s my extraordinary crazy charming wit Ha-ha! Well I’ll have to ask here when she arrives. LL writes serious stuff and is landing here in 4 weeks’ time. So now I have a real incentive to get my House in order.
Now after my ramblings lets get back to Gozo (are you still with me)? I’ve been busy shopping, exploring, moving furniture and of course writing, I’ve gotta say I’ve done a helluva lot and its only day 7. There are plenty of shops in Gozo from the upmarket Italian designer outlets, to local craft shops, today I ordered a handmade sign for my office/meditation room from Katrin Formosa in the nearby craft center, give her a call if you want something specially made to be ready when you arrive, tell her the Crazy Brit sent you and she’ll charge double (not really).
When it comes to grocery shopping well they have a Lidl on the island with their usual selection, you can be in a Lidl anywhere in the world and the selection is exactly the same. I prefer my local grocers and restaurants they offer good value and delicious food, besides I hope to get some of the local gossip for my blog when I eat or shop there. As far as being accepted and fitting in is concerned, Gozitan’s (natives of Gozo) are generally very friendly and helpful, and in my experience also trusting. I’ve been here 7 nights and my landlord Joe still hasn’t come for any rent, I offered it when he rang to see if I needed anything, after Betty gave me the keys, but he said no rush. See if you can do that anywhere else in the world, no contract signed and no money paid? Perhaps I just look honest, well honesty is the best policy when dealing with people or (writing blogs).
My next project now my internet is connected, is to produce a video of all of those out of the way places I’ve found. As I said in my last post I enjoy driving and getting lost, finding out of the way places, and there are some real gems here on Gozo, the GPS always gets me home when I turn it on, so I can relax and just do as the woman on the GPS tells me (nothing’s changed) but as Gozo is so tiny anyway it’s hard to get lost.
Some out of the way places (you need to explore to find them)
When my video’s ready it’ll be on YouTube just look for crazybritvideos. But don’t look yet it may make you cry, Ahhhh
It’s getting late and I think it’s time for another favorite pastime of mine (vino time), Hey the first word I learned here on Gozo was għada which is Maltese for tomorrow, (if you need something done now it’s always: sorry it will be tomorrow) but that’s all about the pace of life here, so very different to the UK or the US, I’ll be back tomorrow Cheers!
Hello again so now its day 6. Since I last wrote, I made myself a very healthy meal using my version of a “Mediterranean Diet” and followed it with a few glasses of local Gozo wine. Hey the wine is quite inexpensive here and good quality, but watch out for the kick of the local stuff, 1 glass and I was anybody’s (well not quite). Gozo being a devout Catholic country, and with my initials being J.C I have to watch my behavior and not stagger around the village drunk. But my conscience is clear, as I say I drink what Jesus drank (and the local’s haven’t objected yet) even the Crazy Brit needs a release now and then. Wine and olive oil, what a great way to keep healthy (or struggle to get healthy in my case).
Restaurants abound on Gozo and they all offer their own unique atmosphere, you can always check out Trip advisor, it’s a great resource for people on quick a visit and who don’t have the time to shop around and experiment. I’ve posted on Trip advisor myself it gives me a warm feeling giving advice.
Talking of advice, if you listen to some famous writers, you learn that writing really has to be disciplined. You have to be methodical, so I now get up bright and early each morning, just as the sun starts flooding into my office (well it used to be my 3rd bedroom) but yesterday I converted it into my office/meditation room, and it still has a bed for when visitors arrive. But now if I start to suffer from writers block, I can turn out the lights, close the curtains and meditate. When it comes to meditation I can learn all the techniques available, as just around the corner from me is the Lotus Tal-Qalb a nonprofit group of spiritually aware people, with regular guest speakers, therapists and teachers in many disciplines such as Yoga, Meditation, the Law of Attraction, massage, lots of my kind of “stuff”. My first session is in a few days’ time, who knows where that will take me.
By now surely anyone who’s got Google (if I said I had Google on Gozo the locals would think I was infected with something) you should have found my village (oh but I hope not) if you still can’t find it and you really want to find it, try meditation, if that fails send me a message, if you ask me nicely, maybe I’ll tell you “The Secret”.
So have I reached Nirvana? Have I found my Shangri-La? Will I continue to feel at peace in my new home? Who knows! I don’t have a crystal ball (I just walk funny). But I’ll continue to be inspired and guided by The Buddha and that well known poet, Rudyard Kipling and in particular his poem IF which became my mantra for life after my dad used to tell me it at least once a week (thanks dad a lot of good that did me ha). But this really is a way for any man to conduct his life.
IF by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowances for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream-and not make dreams your master;
If you can think-and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’ em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run’
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And-which is more-you’ll be a Man, my son.
Until next time “addiju” as they say in Maltese or “Goodbye” as we say in English.
John Chalkley aka The Crazy Brit