Friday, September 1, 2006

Only in Malta

My first week here has been very interesting to say the least. I have firstly come across and resolved many internal conflicts which I hope will provide some amusement for you all given they provided only frustration for me.

I will never complain about the heat in Australia again....
I am sure that the pain of News Years Day 2006 still resides at front of mind for many but may I say that I for one will never complain about the Aussie heat again. The heat here in Malta is unbearable. Although most places are built for the heat with concrete buildings and tiled floors, due to both the expense and the demand on resources not everywhere has air conditioning. I didn’t realize how great it was to be able to escape into a shopping centre when the heat hits in Australia, here in Malta unless you know someone with air con or you sit in the cinema from 8 in the morning until midnight you have no chance of cooling down. My apartment is fantastic except that it is on the top floor and only has fans. This means that I am basically living in an oven. It is so hot that I haven’t even turned the hot water system on. I am having hotter cold showers than some hot showers that I've had before! The other thing I will always appreciate about the Australian summer is the southerlies. Here when there is a breeze it is still hot as it is coming off the African desert and there is never a chance of a thunderstorm but I have been told that if it does actually rain the water will be really dirty given that there is so much desert sand in the air!! Mela (I am picking up Maltese) the heat will only be so excruciating for another month or so then hopefully cool down a little.

I am staying in Malta for three months for a few reasons....
Firstly, I wanted to learn Maltese so that when I return home I can speak to my grandparents in Maltese. It is also an amazing place and I really wanted to understand the people and the culture more. Actually living here is so different from visiting. The Maltese people are incredibly friendly and hospitable but also very straightforward. This is taking a lot of getting used to. Where a comment would be considered slightly or largely offensive in Australia it is simply the way people talk to each other here. For example in the last week I have been told that I look pregnant (no comments thanks Chappo), that I am stupid for not eating enough and that I have wasted my phone credit. I find myself constantly having to swallow my words and remember that I shouldn't be taking offense to anything. I've also based myself here in Malta as it is a completely different life experience to if I had have stayed in the UK. The way of life is very different (check out for a hilarious insight into the country & its people) as well as the attitudes and obviously language. I am still getting used to the more nocturnal way of living but can understand it a lot better now that I have experienced the heat.

Staying in Malta for 3 months has meant that I can get a job....
Please brace yourselves because you may laugh so hard that you will fall of your chairs, wet yourself or hyperventilate (not necessarily in that order). I am glad to say that my CV will now be enriched with the skills and responsibilities acquired through working at a hot dog shop. Yes, I am the newest employee at a 24 hour take away store in Paceville specializing in hot diggity dogs (this works best if you put on an American sideshow alley accent). Basically I work from 11pm to 6am making around 5000 hotdogs (or thereabouts) for realms of drunken people who come in and make noises and signs which indicate they need food. Given that I'm only really doing this to improve my Maltese and make a bit of extra cash while traveling I shouldn’t really care but I am finding it very difficult to be criticized for my hot dog making skills. I am also now well versed in refusing marriage proposals from inebriated Sicilians as well as explaining Australian insults such as dick-head to the fiery tempered Bulgarian that I work with – try explaining this, it is not easy…..

During my first few weeks in Malta I also managed to contract PTS – post travel stress (I'm sure there is a technical term for this or even a real founded disease similar)….
As much as I had wanted to unpack my bag and settle down, as soon as I did I wanted to be back on the road again! It was so strange not to be meeting new people everyday and having to learn a new transport system, language, customs etc for living as opposed to traveling/sightseeing. Finding a cheap flight to Florence I decided to jump on a plane and meet up with Matt for 10 days traveling from Italy through France and onto Spain…..

Love you all xxxx

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