The Maltese way

Before coming to Malta, I have to be honest and confess that I knew nothing about the country! The first time I’ve heard about it was in the Eurovision when Malta appears in the live voting round to give their points.

When my boyfriend told me about the possibility of coming to Malta I then started to search about the country and everything was sounding appealing to me. What not to like? Nice weather all year round, 3 thousand hours of sunshine a year (!), short winters, it’s in the middle of the Mediterranean, cost of living is cheap. According to many researches, Malta is in the top 10 countries with the best climate in the world. I can definitely live with that!

After living 10 years in rainy Ireland, I must admit that the possibility of living under the sun again was very, very much desired! I was born and raised in Brazil, more specifically in Mato Grosso State which temperatures reach 40 degrees Celsius pretty much every day, for at least 9 months of the year. Before moving to Ireland I was used to spend the days outdoors, sleep and live with the aircon on, wear flipflops/sandals everyday, have more summer clothes than winter clothes and overall feel more energized because of the sunshine. Yes, the thought of having this again excited me. Very much!

So here I am. In the small island of Malta! When I got the green light I packed my bags and dog, got ride of things I had for 10 years, quit a job I liked very much, said goodbyes to friends I love and were family to me, bought my ticket and boarded the plane! As simple as that!

As I wrote in my previous post, G was waiting for me in the penthouse we rented! Yes, in Malta we can afford a penthouse, with a terrace. All looked great and all until we started to settle in. The crakes slowly started to show up and what looked amazing turned into not so amazing.

There were wholes in pretty much all windows so the humidity was consistently coming in which turned into mould spreading all over the apartment’s walls. One thing that I didn’t know about Malta is that is a hell of a humid country! With all the sun shine you would think that mould is not a problem but it is! In January I was introduced to this amazing little appliance called dehumidifier and we became best friends for life! I used to turn it on at 7pm and by 6am the 11 litters container was full! Winter was tough!

Apart from the humidity, Maltese constructions don’t have insolation so as you can imagine, it gets pretty cold indoors during winter time. This plus the humidity, winter can be a bit of a pain but luckily winter is very short (January and February really) and a dehumidifier is a must have!

The beauty of living in a new country is to learn something new about it every day. It’s discover the good and bad, be exposed to new experiences and be reminded that we should never take things for granted. I had forgotten this. I was way too comfortable in Ireland and couldn’t see things in a different perspective anymore. It’s amazing though how much Malta reminds me of Brazil! Not just because of the weather and beaches but in some little annoying things that I had completely forgotten about it as they were not part of Ireland.

Maltese people love to use their car horn! It’s used for anything and everything. When coming to a junction for example, the simple rule of respecting the traffic sign of who has the preference to cross is immediately disregarded by just horning to let the other car know that someone is coming. In general, everything related to traffic is bad over here! For such a small country is seems that there are more cars on the streets than people. Traffic can be very bad during rush hours and this is also because of how people deal with it. It’s very common to see someone parking in the middle of the road to run to get something in the shop, or someone stopping in the middle of the road to have a chat with someone. So all of this plus the disregard of traffic signs and you get the picture. Horns, horns, horns all.the.time.

The thing that Malta seems to lack, really, is a proper system or structure or both. Everything seems to be figured as they go and very often you will hear or be told “that this is the Maltese way”. After a while you kind of get used (or have to) to things being slower as they should or disorganized and before you know it you will also be saying “it’s the Maltese way”.

Also, be ready (women) to be harassed in the streets by disgusting man! I actually completely forgot how that felt, thank God! Being raised in Brazil I was constantly hearing “compliments” (it’s not!) from men in the streets, or being looked at in a invasive way, having car horns beeped at me when a man drives by and things like that. I don’t know why this kind of unacceptable behaviour is so common in countries with hot weather. Do not even think about saying that is because women wear less clothes! The way a woman dress will never, ever, justify or define this absolutely repulsive behaviour. The problem lies and always will in the man who commits such atrocity!

To be honest, this (harassment) is a topic that I do want to address but in another post. But getting back to what I was talking about, unfortunately Malta is part of one of the countries that find that they have the right to “compliment” women as they are minding their own business in public. Coming from Ireland, where I can say with conviction that in the past 10 years I cannot recall once being harassed on the streets, it was a shock to come back to this type of culture. Again, I was raised in Brazil so I was born knowing how to deal with this and bounce back. Being “out of the game” for 10 years, I was completely unprepared this time around.

I could go on and on and on about the little things that I am not such a fan of in Malta but I rather focus on the good things… and there are plenty of them! Yes, the weather will always be number one in the list. It will be until I get this out of my system… cut me some slack, I lived in Ireland for the past 10 years! But apart from this is so amazing to be living in a place that is affordable! You can actually live a pretty decent life in a mid range salary and just to know that 60% of my salary is not going towards rent is the most incredible thing! Whoever lives in Dublin knows exactly what I am talking about! Here you can rent an apartment in a good location for around €800 or €1,000 a month. You can even find cheaper depending of the location and condition of the apartment. It can go as cheap as €500 a month!

I love that Malta has a very chilled out and relaxing vibe! Apart from people beeping the car horns all the time, the life style here is pretty laid back. Malta is surrounded by stunning historic buildings and nature so it’s hard to feel stressed out. I LOVE how we can find so many bars that do great cocktails and it doesn’t cost you an arm like in Dublin. Happy hours (2 cocktails for the price of one) are spread all over Malta and it could be hard to pick one spot so we keep trying them out. And of course, how not to love the holiday feeling during the weekends?

Overall, I am very happy with the change we made. Coming to Malta was refreshing and I am sure this country will do me good. Just like Ireland did as well. I am already planting my seeds and little by little collecting rewarding things. Malta already played a huge part in my turning point in life and for that, I am thankful for. I’ve been living a way healthier life style and was able to connected to myself once again.

I look forward to the future here and cannot wait to experience everything life will throw at me. Mela!*


* Maltese people say “mela” in just about every sentence. Used to mean various different things such as “of course”, “ok”, and “alright”; or just a filler in a sentence instead of “umm”. (Urban Dictionary)