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Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean Sea’

I know.  It’s been forever.  Even though there is lots to catch up on, this post is going to be short and sweet.  I’m thinking that if I keep the posts shorter, I will post more often. If I start writing about all the reasons why I haven’t written, I may develop another case of unimaginative writer’s block and that would be a bad thing.

Below I am listing the top five things that happened since I’ve last written.

1.  I spent the month of August in Minnesota.  It was a great trip and even though it was the longest vacation I’ve ever been able to take, it also went so fast.  I didn’t get to see all the friends that I wanted to, but I had nearly a week of fun, relaxing time with my son and my grandson at the cabin in northern Minnesota. And the shopping was a dream. I came home to Malta with five new pairs of shoes and three pairs that I had in storage. Just writing about the shopping in the States is giving me sweet visions of the Mall of America. Nothing in Malta compares. 

2.  Homie spent 90 days out of Malta to satisfy his residential visa requirements.  For nearly seven weeks I was living in Malta on my own.  It was hard.  Even though our good friends were there for me, giving me a ride for the big shopping trips and events that were too far to take the bus by myself,  I realized how dependant I had let myself become on Homie. He ran all the errands, did most of the cleaning and nearly all of the shopping.  In my defense I was working full-time, but I still took for granted all that he was doing.  Talk about role-reversal! We will find out very soon if his application for his spousal residence permit has been approved, keep your fingers crossed for us!  I never want to be separated that long again!  It was very hard, on both of us.

3.  I was in a terrible car accident.  Homie wasn’t in America two full days and I was involved in a head-on collision while out with some friends.  A drunk Italian driving a Smart car hit us head on at about 40 KPH.  We were in a small Mazda and I was in the back seat with out my seat belt buckled.  Had the Italian been driving anything bigger, I really don’t think I’d be typing this right now.  I was pretty banged up, missed nearly a week of work and experienced being in an emergency room, in a foreign country all by myself.  It was very difficult.  Luckily all three of us are okay and mended, but the Italian driver?  He walked away, no ticket, no remorse and not a penny of compensation (car insurance would not pay).  My friend’s car was totaled and there was absolutely nothing she could do about it.  She can hire an attorney at her own expense, but it will take years before the case is heard and the Italian has already left Malta.  But now, I always, and I mean always, buckle up in the back seat.

4.  I celebrated my 50th birthday twice.  Depending on who you are, milestone birthdays can be traumatic, and my 50th could have been for me had I not had amazing friends to celebrate with on both sides of the globe.  You may remember a past post about my good friend Inga, the fun and crazy girl I hang out with in Malta – she rented a huge cabin cruiser, complete with a Captain and took me and Valerie (the third member of our posse) out on the Mediterranean for the entire day!  It was the best birthday a girl could ask for!  So. Much. Fun.

I am amazingly lucky because I am still the best of friends with my high school peeps, for nearly 35 years now, and we threw a large party in Minnesota as we all turned 50 this year.  Everyone showed up, and most of the parents were there as well, along with kids and other friends I hadn’t seen in a very long time. When we all get together like that its as if we are 15 again and we were up almost all night rockin’ out to tunes from the 70’s and 80’s and reminiscing about our crazy youth!  It was a great time!

5.  I am finally writing again.  I’ve been in a major slump.  Part of it is feeling uninspired and part of it was never being able to find a block of time where I could just sit and write without constant interruptions.  I really thought I would be able to get a lot of work done with the book while Homie was in America, but it never seemed to work out.  There is always so much to do in the summer time!  But I’m back in the saddle and my goal is to have the first draft of the manuscript done by the end of January.  I’m finally excited about the book and the direction that I’ve decided to take.  I’m energized to write again and I have a feeling it’s going to be a good read!

Until next time my faithful readers, and I PROMISE – I won’t wait six months before the next update!

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Baseball
When we decided to move to Malta one of the drawbacks was the fact that we were going to miss out on seeing the Minnesota Twins play this season in the brand new outdoor stadium.  It wasn’t a deal breaker, but none-the-less, it was a bummer.  So when we were able to get the game in tonight, we were both happy to be there, if only by way of our computer screen and a shaky connection to Sopcast.  With a little bit of patience and some real determination, we finally connected in the bottom of the fourth inning.  What a beautiful diamond in the city, looking all green and new!  The Twins won, Kubel hit the first homerun in the new digs and we found ourselves craving a good old-fashioned American hotdog.  The only thing that may have made the experience a bit more realistic would be hearing the wail of Wally the Beerman!  It was a great game and the stadium looks amazing.  Outdoor baseball is back in Minnesota, and it is about time! 

Prostitutes 
When we first moved into the flat, our landlord kindly took Homie down and around the block to show him where the grocer, DVD store and Step-In (a little store kind of like Tom Thumb…) were located.  Then he pointed way down the block, near the bus stop and looked at Homie and seriously stated, “Be careful down there.  That’s where all the hookers are.”  We of course immediately started to wonder what kind of neighborhood we got ourselves caught up in.  Here we are five months later and we actually do live in a nice little neighborhood (if not for the continuous traffic…) complete with a kick-ass DVD store and a reasonable grocer right around the corner.  It takes five minutes to walk down to our little bus stop that takes us to Rasta Bar, and on the way,  nearly right across the street, sit the ladies of the night.

When we first moved in we were anxious to walk around and check out our surroundings.  As we first encountered the ladies, either sitting by the open window or standing in the doorway, our nostrils were assaulted with the fumes of heavy perfume and Aqua Net.  It doesn’t matter what time it is, whenever we have ventured past, they are all done up and open for business.    When I was able to catch their eye, I’d make sure to smile and say hello.  By the surprised look on their faces I realized that they were not expecting any Minnesota nice, but hey, that’s just me.   They don’t really bother anyone, except maybe someone’s wife, and it seems as though they are not hassled by the Puliza, as we have never seen or heard any trouble, even when we are dropped home by the Wembley cab service after hanging at the Rasta bar til 4 a.m.    Last night Homie walks in at 1 a.m. after a night in the kitchen chopping garlic and declares, “Well, I’ve done something tonight that I’ve never done before in my life.”  I said, “What could that possibly be?”  And he informed me with a huge smile on his face, “I directed some Russian guy to where the hookers are.”  I laughed and said, “Maybe you should consider pimping, there’s some money in that.”  And then we watched South Park.

Dingli Cliffs
Last weekend we were day trippin’ at the Dingli Cliffs.  I had been wanting to go for some time and we ended up having perfect weather as we headed out, on Homie’s only day off for the week.  We took the bus to Valletta and after consulting the trusty 2009 bus schedule we saw that Bus #81 would take us straight to one of the biggest tourist destinations on the island, the Dingli (din-glee) Cliffs.  The bus ride was the longest so far, about 30 minutes, and as we wound our way through the tiny villages and towns,  our new countryside started to get a bit greener.  Homie and I looked at each other like we were ten again and on the way to Disneyland, and I think it was completely due to the fact that we were now seeing grass, trees and colorful wild flowers.  Not a lot of color where we have been spending the majority of our time…

Just when we started to wonder how much further, the bus stopped with a screech and the driver shouts, “Dingli Cliffs!”  Everyone shuffles up and out of the bus and we find ourselves in the tiny little town of Dingli.  I do not see anything except a round-about and more cement.  Suddenly Homie exclaims, “Look at that sign!”  I look to where he is pointing (there is a picture of this in the photos…) and on the building in front of us is a little sign with an arrow that says, “Dingli Cliff”.  So we start to hoof it down the road, following our fellow passengers, wondering where the heck we are going.  We walk for about a half mile, with buildings on either side of us and all of a sudden we the buildings are behind us and we are confronted with the most beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea yet.  The road that skirts the cliffs is over a thousand feet above the sea, and is easily the most panoramic view we have witnessed so far on this tiny little island.  At the end of the road sits Bobbyland, the only restaurant in sight, so we stroll in for a few Cisks and split a dinner of Steak Diane (still can’t do the rabitt which Bobbyland is famous for…) which was delicious. 

Afterwards, we thought we’d have a bit of a hike, but the terrain was so rocky, with no defined paths, complete with rusty gates in the middle of nowhere to prevent you from any further descent.  We meander back down the winding road to the bus stop, noticing a decorative cemetary on the way.  I snap a few pictures just as we saw the bus turning in the roundabout.  A great day exploring another part of the island and as the older bus jostled its way toward Valletta,  I am once again amazed that this Minnesota girl is living and loving life in Malta.

~Peace~

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No matter where you call home, as soon as the weather starts to get warm and sunny, all you want to do or be is outside in it.  No matter your age or your shoe size, lifting your face to feel the warm sunshine can be exhilarating and inspiring.  The sun has been shining for the last couple of days and at a sweet 68° , this has been the warmest of days so far.  Maybe not so much for the Maltese as we still continue to see the locals bundled up in their winter gear, never forgetting the fashionable scarf.

When we first started making friends with some of the locals they were quick to tell us that the island takes on a much different personality in the summer season.  They didn’t waste anytime boasting about the unbearable heat in the same way we love to amaze over a Minnesota winter.  More than one person would say, “When it gets hot, (then the shrug…) just jump into the sea!”  It would be during this interlude that I would envision people walking down the street, sweating in their suits and skirts, kicking off their shoes and jumping headfirst into the salty surf of the Mediterranean.  I wasn’t that far off.

Homie and I have found our spot by the sea.  It is about a 10 minute walk down to the promenade by the marina where some of the biggest boats I have ever been close enough to touch are anchored.  Right around the bend there are steps leading down to the enormous flat rocks that are covered during high tide, but serves as your beach-by-rock during low tide.  It is here and all over the island that the locals and tourists alike spread their towels, munch on baguettes and jump into the sea at will, to cool off and enjoy nature’s abundance. 

We found a spot along a 50 to 60 meter stretch that has instant access into the water.  You will not see any “Do Not Swim – No Lifeguard Present” signs posted.  No “Beware of Jellyfish” postings either.    We spread our towels and I start to meditate by taking in the sights in front of me, while Homie skips off to explore like he’s ten again.  He spots a broken fishing rod in the water and wrestles with the thought of jumping in to get it.  It is the end of February and the water temperature is about 52-54°, so jumping in is not appealing to me in the slightest.  In fact I can safely say that I hadn’t even considered it.  Homie on the other hand is now taking off his shirt for a dive and I am ready with the camera to document it.  He jumps in and pops back up with a hoot and holler that the folks over in Valletta could hear.  He decides at this point that the broken fishing rod, (at least that is what we think it is…) is not worth the effort and he climbs out as though piranha are after him.  We stay for a couple of hours and just as we start to consider leaving, a man in his mid 50’s sets his little bundle of clothes near us and we wonder where he came from as he jumps in.  His friend joins him ten minutes later and they have a nice swim.  They politely inquire as to the time and I tell them.  One man gets out and dresses quickly and is on his way. 

The other man, John, who left his bundle of clothing near us, retrieves his towel and he is so close to us, I have no choice but to say hello and a conversation ensues.  I’m trying to talk to him while politely keeping my eyes diverted, and he has no issues regarding the fact that he is in the process of dressing himself right in front of me, a perfect stranger.  He has come to the sea for a swim on his lunch hour.  As he is dressing I learn that he has been to America a few times.  Once to watch his cousin become a member of the clergy, which I could tell he was very proud to share.  He’s also been to Florida and California; and as a youth, spent a year in Georgia.  He has three kids and his wife’s brother has a drug problem.  He has lived on Malta almost all his life and he has no regrets.  To have regrets,  for any part of your life, is to not have God in your heart.  He told me all of this as he dried off (rather thoroughly) and changed into his clothing, (long pants, long-sleeved shirt, sweater, scarf and hat).  Then he folded his Tony the Tiger towel (I had to comment on this which drew a delightful laugh) with his wet swimming trunks, said it was nice meeting us and cheerfully returned to work. 

The next day we were again at the same spot when three boys and two pug dogs showed up.  They were after the broken fishing rod.  I had a delightful conversation with Nathan who is ten and learned to speak english by watching American cartoons.  His brother, the brave swimmer of the three,  was going back and forth over whether or not the jump into the sea was worth helping out his friend (who was fully clothed by the way, with long pants and a long-sleeved shirt) who wanted that broken fishing rod with a passion most children reserve for the newest Playstation game.  When Nathan’s brother saw us he asked if we had goggles and Homie happened to have his.  They tried and tried and couldn’t get it out.  They saw a man swimming in the distance.  They started shouting for him to come and help.  The man ignored them.  I told them that the man’s bundle of clothes were near and he would be in soon.  They waited patiently for him.  No sooner did the man paddle up, the trio were on him begging for his assistance.  Nathan’s brother came running up to us for the use of the goggles one more time.  The man easily retrieved the broken fishing rod and after returning the goggles they were merrily on their way, dogs in tow. 

Just another beautiful day down at the sea, happy, happy, happy to be me!

~Peace~

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