You’ve been waiting your whole life to get off this rock and move abroad. To get away from your frustrating family, nosy neighbours, atrocious air quality, and terrible transport. The first couple of months are exhilarating, and you’re doing things you’ve always dreamt of. Then suddenly, two to three months in, you get this sudden realisation that you miss your roots. Malta begins calling, and like a lost lover, you reminisce about the things you had together before it all ended. Here are 10 characteristics of Malta that you’ll never take for granted again once you’ve left the rocky shores of this quaint little island:
1. The Sun Damn. I should get flogged for all the times I’ve complained about the Maltese climate. Seeing pictures of people sunbathing in January is a truly heart-breaking image to witness. It’s like seeing your ex moving on with someone else, whilst you’re getting soaked under a grey gloomy sky.
2. The Language There’s nothing more beautiful than arguing with someone over an irrelevant topic in the ferocious language of Maltese. You miss the sound of the language, your Maltese catchphrases, and the melody the words possess. Sometimes you get a brief flutter in your belly when you hear something that sounds like Maltese. Also, swearing in English just doesn’t feel as satisfying and relieving…
3. The People The people are a reflection of the language too. What you see is what you get. That mentality is partly linked to our Mediterranean connections, but you’ll certainly miss the honesty, rawness, and no time-wasting social interactions. 4. The Driving Call me crazy, but there’s always something strange that you miss about someone. In this case, it’s the driving. You miss having thoughts such as, “I wonder which swear word the driver behind me is going to use once I stall the car for the third time?”. Or even better, “hmmm, is this car going straight, right, or going to hit me if I cross now?” The organised chaos that is Maltese driving is surely something to be appreciated once you go to a country that follows road rules.
5. The Sea The classic sea. If Malta was your ex, the sea would be that jumper you still have of them. You smell a whiff of the sea, and you’ll instantly flashback like Anton Ego in Ratatouille, after tasting the dish that whipped him back to his childhood. You hate that you miss it so much, but at the same time you want to be held closely by it whilst you float away from all your troubles.
6. The Food (obviously) Has it ever happened that after you're eating instant-noodles for the third time in one day, you begin to miss your parents’ cooking? No? Ok, just me then. Be it delicious pasta, the famous Sunday roast or the cliché pastizzi. Something about Malta and its food transcends the primate need to eat something and turn it into Joules of energy to be burnt. Maltese civilisation has turned food into an art form. Making a whole day out of cooking lunch or dinner is a spectacular event in any Maltese household. We love it, we brag about it, and we compete against each other. Food brings us together. It’s a plain and simple fact.
7. The Village Feast Even if you’re not an avid fan of Maltese feasts, you will always bring them up in conversations with a foreigner. The colourful fireworks that everyone enjoys, the smoky fireworks that everyone hates, the band, the statue, the stands, the food, and the colours. It’s like Valentine’s Day; when you’ve been seeing someone for a while you take it for granted, but when you’re single you just can’t stop noticing how everyone is celebrating it. 8. The Nightlife The cheap drinks. The close proximity of places. The task of organising a taxi home. The fact that you don’t need to make plans, but just show up and find everyone there. Nightlife in Malta compares to no other. From your early days of going to Paceville, to searching for a new obscure bar just because your clubbing days are over, Malta has it all. A little bit of Ibiza, mixed with Miami, and a sprinkle of Madrid. I’m sure that it is something we’ve all taken for granted during these strange times.
9. Gozo The sister island, like the sibling that is less popular but clearly more talented. Gozo is ready to take you in for a relaxing weekend break, a chaotic carnival in Nadur, and a summer farmhouse with friends. It arguably trumps whatever Malta has to offer. Mdina? Has it with the newly refurbished Vittoria. Ħaġar Qim? Please, Ġgantija is reportedly the oldest freestanding monument in the world. What about Marsaxlokk, the fishing village? Been there, done that with Marsalforn. Come on, Golden Bay? Meh…beach with red sand in Ramla l-Ħamra. Alright, a baroque theatre in Valletta! Lame, Astra and Aurora seat the largest number of audiences in the islands. 10. Valletta Walking through the busy Republic street of Valletta is quite a unique experience. It holds so many special memories for everyone. Memories such as walking through the city gate for the first time, going on first dates by the seaside, playing tag at Upper Barrakka Gardens as children, and wandering aimlessly around the streets. Valletta is truly the heart of this life-long lasting affair between yourself and Malta.
Make sure that you take this time to appreciate what you have in life. Stop, relax, and take it all in; because you never know you love something until it’s been taken away from you. (Or in this case, you’ve kind of taken it away from yourself, because you would have left the country on your own accord).
Check out this work by vicsketchesstuff, who perfectly encapsulates all of this - https://www.instagram.com/p/B7RFGFSnWLf/
Aidan Aquilina Studio 18 Member