I still can remember when I moved to London Town with my small back pack and four hundred pounds in my pocket. Everything was so big yet readily available. I was struggling with language but I orientated quickly. Immediately I turned to looking for a job and with a bit of help, I found one within a week or two- I can’t remember now. But then I was 19, full of life and fearless. I could sleep on the floor of the Royal Horticultural Hall near Victoria station, after a brief encounter with the security guard.
Arriving to Malta at the age of 31 is a different story. I take shortcuts because I have thousands in my pocket. It’s much easier to find a job due to experience and qualifications. I now have a very decent command of English. I am comfortable and inflexible. This in turn means that rather than going and getting what I want, I would spend money to get it.
So discovering the island has been a slow process. I came here for holiday ten months ago and did the most obvious sightseeing, what’s more to see here? But on Sunday my boyfriend and I decided that we would be tourists for the day and go for a round trip of Malta and Comino. For October, it was still hot, so much so that I got sunburnt. But I saw what everyone comes to see, the famous Blue Lagoon. Minus hundreds of people, it really would be an amazing place.
All in all we had a great day. If you follow in my footsteps, just do not believe the ticket sellers that there is an open bar and amazing buffet on offer – bar means shitty beer and even shittier wine, and the buffet comprises of a few cold appetisers.
Discovery number two is that my company is basically a tyranny. We can’t move a finger if not allowed to. Forget LinkedIn posts. Forget blogging. So I am going incognito, even though I don’t really talk about work here. I am kind of grateful for six months notice period now, as I am not sure this is what I want from my employer?
Another discovery was this cute tiny gecko that my boyfriend caught. I am not sure why but we always get super excited by animals in our flat. Perhaps something to do with the fact that we are not allowed to keep animals in the flat. We released him in our flat and once in a while get a glimpse of him.
Another of the many observations was the Notte Bianca – Festival of Malta on Saturday night. As we had lots to do that day, we arrived to Valletta late – grave mistake. There were thousands of people on this tiny stretch of land that were about to turn into a stampede (at least in my mind) and I wanted to abort the operation ASAP. Needless to say, we stayed to meet some people and even at midnight the place was packed.
However, the biggest small discovery happened yesterday. I went to the only supermarket around that I like ( understand – not too much out of my 1/2 hr walk journey home) and embarked on some shopping. Although they have some decent stuff, it has been frustrating how little they had. I always circled the shop a few times to make sure I did not miss anything.
But something strange happened yesterday. As I was looking for something to cook, I noticed open doors and someone walking up with a basket. I gave it little attention as I embarked on my third circle round what I knew of the place. But curiosity had the better of me and I took the lift down.
Oh my gosh
The floor was about three times as big and had everything I could think of.
I spent there a long time.
Arms then I took the lift again to the opposite side of the ground floor. And the same thing happened, I found a floor just as big.
I have been coming there for almost two months.
Walking around for work really helped in making me explore, however, there is nothing on my way home to see. I always see a cat that sits on a particular window in the morning and a different one in the evening. I do not dare to touch them as I know it’s half stray.
I am aware of that lady that is scrubbing the pavement every morning so I narrowly avoid being splashed by a bucket of water.
I am aware of the black guys who always utter ‘hello beautiful’ as I pass them in the morning (spoiler: I am not beautiful)
I am aware of all the crossings and dead end roads on my way. Lesson learned the hard way.
I am aware of the folks sitting by the pavement in the evening and chatting across the street from each other or in a little garden in Santa Venera.
This familiarity is in stark contrast with London and I love it, even if things are not perfect.
Because this is Malta.