So I have officially hit the one month mark here in Malta. It was a weird play on time as there were days that I felt I had been here longer than I actually had been but then when the month mark hit, I felt like OH HECK, IT'S ALREADY BEEN A MONTH! Well having hit the mark, I thought it best to recap. This is what I have learned thus far in my time in Malta:
- God knew what he was doing when Fulbright decided to award me and my roomie Melissa, a grant here. Would in no way have made it without her here!
- For all the advancements made in Malta, they still have a ways to go in certain areas.
- They have AMAZING food...traditional Maltese pastizzi's are a new favorite food!
- The Arriva bus system is the most frustrating form of transportation in existence, it makes NYC look like they have the greatest transportation system in the world (and we know how far from the truth that is).
- The Arriva bus drivers are equally frustrating, rude and annoying in a tv character sort of way (think Soup Nazi from Seinfeld and that pretty much sums up the idea of them).
- Malta struggles in the fashion department, especially men's fashion...The fact that most men rock a stretchy, skinny denim look is both unattractive and down-right disturbing! NO stretchy, skinny denim is not a good look for a man, and I mean NO MAN...EVER!
- The University is this weird place where you feel you have entered a time-warp of sorts, almost like a Twilight Zone episode, however, what I thought would be a less favorable part of my Fulbright assignment looks like it will be the more favorable part as I have some pretty awesome students---go figure! YAY ME!
- The lack of good coffee (and in turn, a proper caffeine kick as mostly all is instant) or truly carbonated soda make runs to Mc Donald's for a medium or large coke an actual event of the night (no lie).
- The Maltese are for the most part very friendly people, however, they are sometimes not as nice as they make themselves out to be but then again what NYers really are right so who am I to judge, again just an observation.
Now for all "negatives" noted above and for all of the frustrations Melissa and I have had to endure this past month (oh and believe me when I tell you that they continue) there have been some incredible bright spots... what might they be you ask?
Well here are some:
- Being invited to an Embassy sponsored concert of Daniel Martin Moore (I highly recommend a listen, he was great!) and having an opportunity to hang out with the Ambassador, made for a pretty amazing night.
- Being invited to the Press Attache's house for drinks made for yet another pretty amazing night.
- Random leisure walks around Mdina on a late Sunday morning and witnessing a wedding in progress was, simply put, very special.
- Random night walks during the week along the Promenade on a balmy night as we go for bubble tea or gelato just because is something you can never beat.
- And of course the festivals...OH THE FESTIVALS...Notte Bianca in Valletta was fantastic but Birgu festival simply stole my heart (there will be a separate blog on this festival later). It was simple, but absolutely mind-blowing and beautiful and of course having the night capped with us having to take 3 dghasjas (die-sa) (water taxi gondola-ish boat) just to get to Valletta made the night even more special:-).
These are the moments that we will look back on (remember the good, bad and indifferent?) that will help to remind us that this is a journey on finding ways to adjust to a completely new way of life but at the same time, to remind us not to forget to enjoy what this new life has to offer and I think Malta and I are finding a pretty good common ground. Can't wait to see what the next month will bring!
Until next time:-)