The Scamp in Malta

I’ve been trying to get to the island of Malta for five years. I first got it in my head that I wanted to be there when I was in San Diego and having a hard time getting into PhD programmes. There was a Fullbright opportunity to live there for a year and teach English at the university. I had the application filled out, but the two references that I needed stopped me from finishing the application. From then on, I wanted the chance to visit, and had it in my mind that I would love to be there. Every time I thought about travelling, it was Malta that I wanted to go to.

The last few months here have been a challenge. I haven’t been happy, and I’m self aware enough to know that I should be doing some more to help get myself happy. I’ve been moaning on for the last two months that I need some time away, and at the beginning of the month I had finally had enough and booked a five day trip to the island. For those who are geographically challenged like myself, Malta is made up of three islands in the south of Europe. It is situated between Sicily and Northern Africa. It has about 450,000 people, and has three things I love: water, sunshine, and sunshine that can be enjoyed in the water.

Being that Malta is so close to Italy, I made the assumption that the people there spoke English and Maltese, and that Maltese was similar to Italian. I learned while I was there that the Maltese language is based on Arabic, and actually has a lot of similarity to Hebrew. Once I learned that I tried to pay closer attention to people when they were speaking, but because there were so many tourists, it was sometimes hard to pick out the different languages.

My plan for the holiday was to lay on a beach and get as much colour back into my skin as I could. I had originally planned to go by myself, and part of me really wanted to go with the boy, but one of the best mates really needed a holiday, and since we get on like gangbusters, it was the perfect chance for the two of us to get away. Most of the people we work with thought it was odd that the two of us were going on holiday without our partners, but to be honest, I wasn’t too fussed about it. We stayed in a hotel that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea and we soaked up the island.

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We spent the first day on the beach….and both got sunburned. It was glorious. I was happy. The hotel we stayed in was a bit sketch. It wasn’t clean to Kim standards, but it served its purpose. On the second day I wandered around Sliema while the bud worked on his book and happily sweat off a few pounds. In the afternoon we took the ferry to the capital city of Valletta and wandered around aimlessly for a bit.

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Valletta is full of history, and full of amazing architecture. My only problem with the city was that everything closed at 7pm.

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We found some gardens, found a kitten that I wanted to keep, and managed not to get sunburned again. We had a picnic dinner of meats and cheeses and rum, and really enjoyed the day.

We spent most of the next day on the balcony of the hotel room. We moved the couch outside and I napped in the sun while he worked. Because I went without a plan of what to do every day, I was feeling a bit lost on what we should do to see the city. We decided to walk to the University of Malta and see the campus. While we wandered to a different part of the island, we passed a store with memory blocks. There was one that caught my eye.

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The guy at the store said that people buy them to remember certain events of their lives. This is a special edition, 7 Seas print. The artist signed it, and the quote that comes with it is about the journey you take through life. It was like it was made for me. I love  an octopus, and a good journey through life. My bank account wasn’t too happy with the purchase, but I am.

Our last day was a guided tour of Gozo, one of the other islands. I love a good guided tour. We started with a mini train ride through the slat flats, and seriously, I would have stayed on that beach all day. It was stunning.

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It was the bud’s first time on a large boat, and I’m not sure he enjoyed it as much as I did. After the slat flats we went to Ġgantija (Maltese pronunciation: [dʒɡanˈtiːja], “Giants’ Tower”). It is a megalithic temple complex from the Neolithic on the Mediterranean island of Gozo. The Ġgantija temples are the earliest of the Megalithic Temples of Malta. The Ġgantija temples are older than the pyramids of Egypt. Their makers erected the two Ġgantija temples during the Neolithic (c. 3600–2500 BCE), which makes these temples more than 5500 years old and the world’s second oldest manmade religious structures after Göbekli Tepe.

The temples are structured like a person, with a head, two legs and two arms. You entered through the legs, and left through the legs. It was said that these short, but very strong men made the temples to honour the goddess of fertility.

So we walked through a vagina temple made by gorilla people.

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From the temple we went to the worst lunch ever. We had a nice chat with an English couple on the tour though, so that was nice. After lunch we went to the Azure Window. The water here is so clear that it is almost like you aren’t really in it, and apparently it has been used in Game of Thrones. I would have loved to spend more than 15 minutes there, but it was a good 15 minutes.

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We ended the trip with a trip to Victoria, the capital of Gozo. We were able to see a woman hand weaving lace, and I bought a necklace. The bud and I ventured into the Citadella, a city within the city. It was pretty, but I got scolded in the church because my shoulders weren’t covered. Opps.

Overall, the trip was a massive success. I’d built up Malta to be this mythical place that I was going to be in love with, and while I wasn’t quite as in love with it as I hoped, I enjoyed the time I spent there. I have recharged a bit, got some tan lines, and spent 5 days not feeling depressed. It is also a chance to work on crossing one more thing off my list. I am not looking forward to going back to work, and back to the mountain of things that I have to get done for the next 30 days.

On the upside, in less than 30 days I will be making a quick trip to California to be a bridesmaid and to teach my nephew to say Aunty Kimmy. Those are going to be his first words, you best believe it.

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 7

It is currently a crisp 41 degrees in Edinburgh, and probably not much warmer in my flat. I leave for California in two days and I have yet to pack. I have a laundry list of things to do (including laundry), but it took me over an hour and half to get out of bed.

Right now the cold weather is not my friend.

The writing challenge for this week is based around thinking about something that I could be doing right at this moment that will help me get to where I want to be in the future. Given what I have said for the last three years about needing to break up with the United States, this is going to seem really strange, but I believe that the best thing I can do right now for my career and my future is go to California.

I’ve made no secret about the sneak attack of the dark and twisty. I’ve mentioned more than once that I miss the sun, and that I need a break from the cold. The research, my job, and my motivation have been tough. I’m not focused, not interested, and not the easiest to be around right now, so this mini vacation is coming at the perfect time. It will allow me a break from work, a break from the cold, and a chance to maybe get some much needed tan lines (seriously, I am scary white. If the power went out, we’d be fine because I glow in the dark). This three weeks will allow me a chance to recharge and destress a bit.

California has my cat. California also has my wombmate and my nephew who has been kind enough to wait until I am there to make his debut. I’ve missed the entire pregnancy, so at least I might be able to be there for the most important part. I am a little nervous about being back in California though. I am worried that I will feel out of place while I am at my parents’ home, and that no one will want to see me while I am there. All of those are silly thoughts, but they still creep in from time to time. Hopefully some time at the beach and some authentic Mexican food will cure that.

I guess it is time to get my giant suitcase out and get to packing.

A Scamp Gets Welcomed Home

Nothing says “I love you” like a sign that says WELCOME HOME SHITHEAD in Scots Gaelic. The sign is currently holding a place of honor in my bedroom. It speaks to my family as a whole, but more importantly it was made by my mom and my sister, both of whom came to get me at the airport. It was a really long day of travel. Really long. I have never been more happy to get off a plane. Never so happy to see my family.

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I had a horrible headache when I landed, but that didn’t really dampen my excitement for being home. I slept in my own bed with real pillows, ate warm food that was properly cooked, and am back in texting range with the people here. It was very surreal. Even after being here for almost two days, I still haven’t processed the fact that I am not going back to Scotland. It doesn’t feel real yet that I am now living here again. I feel bad because I blew off everything yesterday, including a chance to see my OMGBFF. I got a new American phone, got some unpacking done, and drove my car around a little. The sun was out, I was wearing a dress, and the small breeze moved the air around just enough to make the day extremely pleasant. Despite all of that, all I really wanted to do was curl up in my bed and hide from the world. Even now, I am putting off reading and work in favor of sitting by the pool in the sun and surfing the internet.

I keep thinking about my friends in Scotland. I wonder what they are doing, I miss eating breakfast and dinner with them, having random movie nights or dinner parties with them, and I feel much the same way that I did when I first left here in September, I am now out of sight and out of mind. Their worlds will continue on like I was never there. While it feels good to be home, I feel really out of place. On the one hand, I am very comfortable here, everything feels familiar and inviting, but on the other, I feel like I don’t belong here yet. It still feels a bit like a vacation. I’m hoping that feeling goes away so that I can settle into a work schedule and start to get things back on track.

For right now though, a nap in the sun is just what I need.