The exchange has come to an end now, I am writing this at the Frankfurt Airport in Germany. Waiting for my connecting flight – almost three hours to go.
The last night home before my flight to Malta I remember being scared. Thinking ”Oh my god oh my god I can’t do this.” But I did, and I am beyond happy that I did. Granted not everything was a total succes, but what’s life without its up and downs?
To save you from a boring (too long) post, I’ll gather my biggest successes and failures from the past four weeks to two lists:
What went well
Getting along with my boss
Meeting a maltese friend (three times)
Improving my english skills
Figuring out what makes me happy and what doesn’t
Discovering new interests (reflexology, sound therapy, theta healing, aromatherapy)
And not so well
Getting lost on the first day
Struggling with verbal communication
Getting homesick and frustrated
Trying to buy a gym membership (ended up paying a lot, and it was a mess)
Bought a sim (I didn’t really need)
Four weeks felt at the same time like an eternity and like only a couple of days. Saw some amazing places (and not so amazing places), met old friends and new friends. Did a lot in a short amount of time and also spent four days at home sick watching netflix. Sticked to my habits with food and gym, and also enjoyed a little (or a lot) of chocolate and wines.
And it was an experience I’l cherish for the rest of my life.
From my instagram @riikkayas you can find lots of pictures from all of these wonderful places! Even thought its tiny size Malta has a lot to offer. And I feel like I could easily spend another four weeks here just exploring. But here is a list of the places I did visit during the past few weeks.
San Gwann (my apartment is here)
L-Imsida (Beauty Rituals)
Valletta (the Capital)
St. Julian’s (San Giljan)
Sliema (Tas-Sliema, The Point Shoppin Mall)
St Paul’s Bay (Salini Resort)
I tried to download a lot more pictures, but for some reason it did’n work. But go check out my instagram if you want to see more! I have posts and ’Malta’ highlights.
On tuesday, 19th of March I went to Valletta again. This time with a local friend whom I met last year during a different exchange. We took a ferry tour to the three cities and back, saw the views from Barakka Gardens, and ate some amazing gelato from Amorino’s!
It was nice to walk around with a local, and hear about the history of Malta and especially Valetta. We spend a lot of time talking and comparing our cultures, from politics to food, traffic and architecture.
Comparing also led us to think about the size difference between Malta and Finland. For me Finland feels small sometimes, compared to the rest of the world. But the distance here from shore to shore (vertically) is approximately 15km. One sixth of the distance from my house to my parents house!
A lot of places in a short time. On sunday I went to Tas-Sliema to the One Point mall for some shopping. But there were also amazing views to Valletta I didn’t know about. Later I catched a ferry to Valletta and walked around a bit before heading back home. Perfect ”lazy” sunday.
Today (monday 18th March) I decided to go for a loooong walk. First I took a bus to Pembroke and from there I walked 12km through Naxxar to Bugibba. First part of the trip I walked a long the shore. After that I got a bit lost trying to walk up a hill in Maghtab for some great views. Instead I ended up on some weird landfill and farm area (which I’m pretty sure I didn’t have the rights to be in oops).
Blindly following the map, not always the best option. Ended up with like 4 extra kilometres and with tired feet, but got back to sivilisation in Bugibba, St Paul’s Bay. Great wheather, great views, (and great pizza). So no regrets. But next time I will stay on the route I plan.
Never ending views of the Mediterranean, the prettiest sunset, and nature. How could you not be happy here?
Today had a welcome meeting in the Easy Job Bridge office and met Lara, an internship coordinator. She took me to Beauty Rituals to meet Graziella, the owner. After those quick meetings I had the rest of the day off to explore!
I had the biggest smile on my face when I walked down to the shore, ”the end of Valletta”. The view was so beautiful I couldn’t believe I am actually here. So today my mood has been great. I’m not even really nervous, just excited. The wheather was also a lot nicer today, about +17 and sunny. I had lunch, walked around, and enjoyed the sun for a while in the park.
Today I learned to appreciate the architecture of Malta more. Down in Valletta the narrow long streets, with amazing views thanks to the hight differences, and the cutest little shops and restaurants made me smile. Feeling so fortunate to be here, and experience the culture. Even came accross several musicians (and they we’re amazing!)
At first I was a bit confused about the siesta, because from my internet research I got a picture that it’s really important to maltese people. But in reality only a handful of the shops close at 13:00 and open again at 16:00. Especially in tourist areas like Valletta most of them stay open during siesta.
A local clothing store was giving out free hangers! So I got to put my clothes neatly in to the closet yay. I also found Holland&Barrets and bought some soy milk, chia seeds and stuff I can’t get from local stores. The fresh fruit and vegetables I bough from a little farmers market.
Now I’m back in my apartment in San Gwann, going to make dinner and probably go for a walk. Tomorrow I start working at Beauty Rituals.
I arrived at my apartment around four pm, after travelling for 12h. I had a driver through Easy Job Bridge who picked me up from the Luqa Airport. The apartment is nicer than I had expected and has (working) air conditioning and wifi which is great! I have my own bedroom but kitchen and bathroom is shared. For now there’s only me and Kora here, who is really nice and helped me out with the wifi, air conditioning and buses.
Here’s some picture from the apartment
After looking around and unpacking I headed out to explore the neighborhood a bit. Without a map or sense of direction I headed to the wrong direction straight away oops. Then I just turned around and finally found some shops, café’s etc. Google maps helped me out a bit and I found a place where to buy a sim card. This is not necessary! But I brought an extra phone with me and bought a local sim with internet. So I don’t have to worry about getting lost or getting in touch with family when I’m out in the city.
At first the architecture seems a bit weird to be honest. Everything is brick or cement and different shades of brown. But when you stop and look more closely it’s actually incredibly beautiful. The details are amazing and the views are breathtaking.
Around six pm I was starving and headed to literally the first place I saw that served proper food. Coffee, bottle of water and a ”small” dish of salmon, prawns and noodles cost 8,20e. It was clear to the owners that I was a tourist, but nonetheless they we’re really kind and helpful.
After dinner I headed to Lidl (yay!) to buy some groceries. When I got there I realized it was about to close in 10 minutes, so I just grabbed some food (coffee, tea, bread, apples, oats, cucumber) and hygiene products. They didn’t have any baskets which was weird. People just carried their groceries around in cardboard boxes. And the register was so small you had to pack up immediately or people would have to wait. I’m good for now, but will probably head pack tomorrow to buy some more food. I’m planning on cooking a lot, so I don’t spend all my money eating out (even though it’s quite cheap)
On the way home I already got lost and panicked a bit because it was dark and I was alone, and had no clue where I was (the map wasn’t working properly) and I wasn’t sure where I was going. Some deep breaths and focusing on the map and I found my way home and met my flatmate Kora.
Now I’m ”home” drinking some tea and gonna take a shower and watch some netflix. Tomorrow morning I am heading to the Easy Job Bridge office and get some information on what’s about to come.