Sunday, March 24, 2013

“Why Malta, Miss?"

I wasn't sure if I was going to do a 6 month recap/blog entry but after doing my lesson on New York a couple of weeks ago, my students have continued questioning me about why I came to Malta.  Honestly, it has really made me reflect on the last 6 months.

I can't help but think about where and who I was when I first arrived and the person I am now.  Gone is the unsure girl that arrived in Malta in September, who second guessed her decision to move 5700 miles away.  Here now is a girl not yet ready to end the adventure that has been her life in Malta for the last 6 months: breaking cultural barriers with her students in her secondary school, struggling to create a viable university course syllabus with her roommate and co-lecturer, traveling, developing friendships, volunteering, experiencing, living and breathing in this beautiful, simple and calm life that this tiny 17 mile island has afforded me, all the while blogging to tell about it.

Yet, I can't help but continue to think about my student's question...“why Malta, Miss?"...6 months ago the easy answer would have been that for a Fulbright fellowship, it had no language requirement.  Today, it's a much more complicated answer.  I am here for the experience of something new, opposite of the norm that has been my life, to test my own limits, and finally “spread my wings", as they say.   I can end this blog today and say mission accomplished.  Done.  We can all go home. But I still have 10 weeks.  

10 weeks to take in the beautiful sunshine and warm weather that has been making a slow but steady return. 10 weeks to smell the salty air and stare into the ocean just outside my balcony.  10 weeks to do all I have not yet done and to repeat as many times as I can the things I love doing like lunch on the beach, walks along the promenade, people watching while enjoying a great meal at my favorite restaurant, and photographing it all along the way.  10 weeks to prepare for my return home where family, friends and my dogs, oh my dogs how I miss them, await. 10 weeks to eye roll the Arriva bus drivers just because they remind me of what I wish not to remember about New York.  10 weeks to enjoy loud staff room conversations and teachers constantly apologizing for speaking in Maltese then translating in English, only to then jump back to speaking Maltese-HA!  10 weeks to enjoy Sunday morning runs to the market for fresh, hot “bagel" bread,  seeing “Captain Jack" as I call the man who sits outside of the pub on the corner and wears a Captain's hat, Army Wives marathons, making fun of the “Bangkok style" neighborhood that is Paceville, Pumpkin pizza at Piccolo Padres, Chicken and pumpkin Ftira at Gululus, Falafel and Sweet potato pomegranate salad at Mint, hikes along some of the most picturesque land and seascapes, boat rides, wine bars, Gozo, Comino, and of course, gelato! Lastly, 10 weeks to give Malta a proper but heartbreaking goodbye and thank you:-(.

The upside is I get to share this special place, yet again, with some very special people who are visiting in May.  I get to play tour guide of a place that has become home to me in it's own way.  In talking with my sister today about Malta, she kinda nailed it when she said “Malta touched my heart and that doesn't usually happen to me, but it really did, it really is a special place".  I think that's what I've been trying to say all along.

So to my student's who will continue to ask “why Malta, Miss?"...after all I've written in these last 6 months, I think my response to them will be why the heck not!

Until next time,



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