If you would like to read my responses on her blog, click the link below...
Friends meet Melissa :-)...
Hometown: Madison, NJ (just outside of NYC)
Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees: B.A. Political Science, Tulane University (ROLL WAVE!), New Orleans, Louisiana. In a year I get to add an M.S.Ed or M.Ed – Yay!
I’m passionate about: Students and what makes them tick. When you can find the very precise little things that motivate a student, you have the keys to the kingdom.
Why Malta? I lived in/backpacked through Italy for a few months in high school and wanted to return to an area of Europe that would be similar enough to Italy so that I would feel comfortable, but that was unique enough to provide me with a challenging experience. I am almost fluent in Italian and I thought that might help me here but, alas, no such luck.
Who I teach: 5th form boys (ages 15-16) and a few classes of 2nd form boys (ages 11-12) as well as some university students
Favorite spot in Malta: The beach just across the street from our flat. Sometimes I go there on my way home just to stop and think a little bit. I will never take the fresh smell of the sea air for granted.
Favorite Malta memory so far: The day Kelly and I moved into our flat was amazing. We were so miserable and homesick until we heard that we “won” the bid. The second the landlord closed the door and left after giving us our keys, we jumped up and down and cried. That really was the first day of the rest of our lives in Malta. It put everything in perspective. We realized, “Ok, this might actually be fun.”
Favorite weekend trip so far: It’s a close tie between Sweden and France. Sweden was just so different from anything I had ever experienced. And the guys were nice AND good-looking which, let me tell you, gives Sweden serious points since Malta is apparently where chivalry went to die.
Funniest Fulbright memory so far: There are SO many. Kelly and I crack each other up. One time, Kelly and I were at a concert and this man jumped from the highest step on a set of stairs down to the floor where we were standing while waving his arms kind of like he was trying to fly. Kelly and I found this completely hysterical and still imitate his “take off” every now and then. See, it’s the little things.
I am still looking forward to: I really want to visit Gozo, (Malta’s sister island) because I hear it is gorgeous. I am also looking forward to my parents’ visit in a few weeks and me and Kelly’s Scotland excursion wherein I get to meet up with an old high school friend as well. So much coming up!
Favorite Maltese dessert: HONEY RINGS. ENOUGH SAID. And almond cookies – specifically the one Air Malta served us on Thursday. Thanks y’all, those were delicious.
Fulbright Confession: When I first got here I was so unsure of whether or not I could really do this that I used to contemplate quitting. So, I would sit in bed and think of excuses I would tell my friends if I went home. I got pretty creative with ones like, “I was allergic to the water,” (which is oddly kind of true), and the ever honest, “I just couldn’t do it.”
If I were a song, I would be: It honestly depends on the day. A student of mine this summer asked me this question and I said New Strings by Miranda Lambert by sometimes I feel like maybe I’ve evolved since then. Now I’m a little more like “Below My Feet” by Mumford and Sons:
When all I knew was steeped in blackened hopes
Well I was lost
Keep the earth below my feet
From my sweat, my blood runs weak
Let me learn from where I have been
Keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn
Keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn
If my experience thus far were a song, it would be: Lost by Coldplay and Jay-Z
Just because I’m losing
Doesn’t mean I’m lost
Doesn’t mean I’ll stop
Doesn’t mean I'm across
Just because I’m hurting
Doesn’t mean I’m hurt
Doesn’t mean I don’t get what I deserved
No better and no worse
I just got lost
Every river that I tried to cross
Every door I ever tried was locked
Oh and I’m just waiting ‘til the shine wears off
You might be a big fish In a little pond
Doesn’t mean you’ve won
‘Cause a long may come
A bigger one
(In case it isn’t blatantly obvious, this experience has been all about finding myself and figuring out my place in the universe).
The thing I miss most about home is: My family and friends. I miss being able to see them and hug them and even be annoyed by them…in person.
The thing I will do first when I am home is: Eat a hamburger and then pack my bags right back up again.
After I leave, I want to: Go to graduate school and start building a more permanent life for myself.
This experience has taught me: I am stronger than I think I am but I have so much to learn. I want to be a student of the world forever.