Now I have spent one and half months in Malta, so I might say that I have settled in already. I have also started to realise, what is it about this island, that pulls people here from all the corners of Europe. At the first glimpse, one might think that there is nothing special about this place. People might be friendlier in Greece, food might be tastier in Italy, and definitely salaries would be better in my home country, Finland. You cannot drink the tap water, rents are high and there are not many sandy beaches. Why would anyone find this place magical? Still there is something about this island that attracts and fascinates me. And I am not the only one. There have been several occasions, when I have started discussing with other expats about the magic of Malta.
First of all, live here is very simple. You wake up in the morning, go for a walk or take a dip in the sea and then you head off to work. After work, it is time for gym or going out with your friends. That’s it. Then you repeat that with bigger or smaller variations. There is no stress, not a single reason to worry about anything. The sun is shining every day, the sea is as turquoise as ever and all the other building blocks of your life are fine. There are not many external stimuli, there is no pressure to be anything fancier than the person you are, the is no need to work long hours. All this safety and routines actually free huge amount of brain capacity and time, that you would otherwise spend on decision making and worrying. There is a strong feeling of peace and tranquility in Malta, and that reaches all the way to your inner core and mind. Here you have time to let your thoughts to wander, and shift your focus from the outside world to your inner one. And when your mind is rested, it becomes curious, questioning, complete and powerful. Happy.
In Malta, you also learn openness and tolerance. Since the beginning of times, Malta has been a place that attracts people from different parts of the world. The history of this nation is quite interesting – thanks to Malta’s location between Europe and Africa. First, it was the Phoenicians who sailed here thousands of years ago. You can still see some of the symbols they used painted on the colourful fishing boats. St Paul had a shipwreck outside the coast of Malta, and he introduced Christianity to the local people. Nowadays, the majority of the Maltese are Catholic, and still today, people actively celebrate different Catholic festivals, or festas, how locals call them. The Arabs left their mark on the language and cuisine. Furthermore, you cannot spend much time in Malta without hearing about the importance of St John’s Knights, who were local nobility, as well as monks and soldiers. If you go to Valletta and to Three Cities, you can see their heritage everywhere. Later Malta became a part of the British empire. English became the other official language, traffic became left-sided, and traditional English pubs started popping up everywhere. Unfortunately, Malta’s strategic location in the II World War made the island a target to heavy bombing – something that also left its mark on the island. All this colourful history has affected the way Malta is today.
Even though the Mediterranean is no longer the centre of the Europe, Malta has remained as a place that attracts people from different corners of the world. Today, Malta has become the centre of language courses, online casinos and companies that offer money transfer services. Some parts of the island are full of young working Europeans that share the passion to see different lifestyles, open mindedness, internationalism, care-free attitude and willingness to learn about different cultures. I also live in this bubble, and like I enjoyed multiculturalism in Australia, I enjoy this opportunity to observe interesting habits, learn new words, taste new dishes and absorb new influences. This environment is very enriching.
Malta is also some kind of a stepping stone or a gate into a new stage in your life. Many people who have moved here, have left their home country, because there hasn’t been anything to make them stay. Maybe they have recently graduated, left their job or broken up with their boyfriend or girlfriend, and they are searching for a new direction. It is often just a matter of luck or chance that they end up choosing to come to Malta. When they end up here, they often realise what this place does to your soul. This is like a safe and peaceful haven, where you can rest for a while and continue your journey, when you are ready. Here you have the time to listen to your inner voice, or even learn to know who you are, and when the time is right, continue somewhere else, hopefully stronger than ever. This might happen to me one day.
But not yet, though. I plan to enjoy my time in Malta and the magic that this place obviously holds.