Feels like coming home...

San Gwann Travel Blog

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Well, this is it… My final stop before I head back home to Australia. It’s hard to believe that it’s coming to an end. I guess arriving at home with be both a depressingly sad moment and a deliriously happy one. As you can probably imagine, I can’t wait to see my friends and family. It’s been close to a year since I saw a lot of them. It’s just hard to comprehend that my adventure is over, and as much as I will continue to travel and see and do as much as I can in life, it’s still the ending of this chapter.

So, here in Malta my only intention was to catch up with my relatives as much as possible since I don’t know when I will next get a chance to see them, and spend the rest of the time lying on the beach unwinding from the hectic times that I have had!

When I arrived my cousin Martha came to collect me from the airport and took me to my Aunt’s place where I’ll stay for the week. Another cousin popped in for a couple of minutes before she had to rush off about her day too. Aunty was going shopping, so I had the day to myself.

I decided too get a bus to Valletta and see where I ended up, I really love that city. So got the bus there and walked to the fortress walls, climbed up on a wall and stretch out in the sun. I’m sure that the locals thought I was insane, but it was so comfortable there and it was the perfect spot in the sun to work on my tan. From there, there is an amazing view across the ocean to the Three Cities and Fort St Michael. I’m sure I probably harped about the same view last time I was there, but oh well, I can’t be bothered reading back over my last Malta blogs to find it! After a couple of hours perched up on the wall I figured that I should probably get out of the sun BEFORE turning into a lobster (they love seafood here, looking like a lobster could be dangerous!) but before I could muster up the energy to move I fell asleep in that same spot. I think I must have been asleep for about an hour or so, not really sure, but I tell you, I’m lucky I didn’t roll over in my sleep since I was still lying on the fortress walls and it’s a hell of a drop from there… Eeeeek!

Got up and wandered around Valletta some more, it was strange how familiar everything was. The Italian man was still in the Square trying to sell his toy spiders, the same little old men were sitting and having the same arguments in the same cafes around town… The women gather together to go shopping together, all with the same short hairdo and the same colour rinsed through their grey hair. I mean, I didn’t expect a lot to have changed in the 7 or so months since I left, but it feels like nobody has moved at all in that time!!!

After a while I went back home where my Aunty Doris made me a huge lunch… Man, after so many meals of bread and cheese, I missed home cooking more than anyone could ever fathom!!! After that we sat and talked, I got out my map and showed her all of the places I have been and things that I have seen, and then I fell asleep. It must have been only 6pm by then, but I was so tired after not sleeping the night before that my eyelids refused to hold up any longer. I woke up about an hour later still on the couch and headed to bed, and slept through til about 7am, only waking up at 2am to answer the phone when my Ma called, ah, time differences, huh?

Spent the day being lazy and hanging around with Aunty, and then went to visit my cousin Pia and her Mum Etta… Had been dying to catch up with them, Pia is absolutely adorable. She took me on a tour of Paceville, the district where all of the clubs are, and promised to take me back there on Saturday night. We all sat and had dinner and caught up on the latest news, it was really cool to see them.

Next day was very much a “Sarah’s World” day… those who know me well enough know what I mean…! Sat in the sun alone reading a great book that a friend insisted I read, “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac… Fantastic book, I’ll be sad when I finish it! Anyway, yeah, had lunch with Aunty, and spend the whole day bludging in the sun, life is good! I’m still adjusting to eating 3 meals a day, and having home cooking is amazing (yes I am going to mention that at least once a day!!!)

The evening was cool… Dinner ay my second cousins place… It was awesome, I got to meet a couple more cousins that I hadn’t been able to catch up with last time, Victoria and Karen. And Karen has 2 kids, both adorable, a 2 month old boy Bepe and a 10 year old girl Rebekah. It was great to sit around and catch up with everyone, trading gossip about the family and all that. And on top of that there were 2 more second cousins (Doreen and Michelle) who are actually from Melbourne, both within half an hour of where I live who I have never met before because of some ongoing family feud that none of us actually know anything about…! So not only do I get to meet my extended family from Malta but I get to randomly meet more of my family from home who happen to be here at the same time! Ahhh… the joys of coming from a small island! Sat around for hours with everyone and had a really great evening.

After that I had planned to go out clubbing with Pia, and Victoria decided to come along too. So it was great, getting a tour of the best clubs from my fabulous cousins who know the area so well. Most of the clubs are in a small concentrated area called Paceville, and it seems as though every single young person in Malta is crowded in there all at once. The legal drinking age there is only 16 which I found kind of strange, thinking that there were people in the club 10 years younger than me, but it wasn’t so bad, a really mixed crowd hangs out there because of the diversity of the clubs in such a small area. I still can’t get over how many people there were, hundreds were spilling out onto the streets because the clubs were so packed. We started out dancing most of the night away in a massive club playing hip hop music that was so jammed full that you could barely move… We were having such a good time, I don’t know how many hours we spent there or how many free drinks we got! At one point there was a huge fight broke up right next to us, drinks went flying all over us and everything, and immediately a group of guys behind us grabbed us and spun us around behind them so we wouldn’t get hurt, so they were between us and the fighting. It was really cute, as soon as it was over they just went back to dancing like nothing had happened! Ahhh… Most of the boys there really try to be so smooth though… I can’t remember the last time my butt got anonymously grabbed so many times in a crowd. Anyway…

After that we went to a house club for a while, and then after that to a rock club. The whole night was a blast, got to know Pia and Vicky a whole lot more than I had had a chance to up until now. Stayed at Pia’s place cos it was so close to the club and had told Aunty Doris that I wouldn’t be home that night anyway! The morning was amazing, I was up early and sat outside drinking coffee and reading the Sunday paper by the sea. I don’t think I will ever stop dreaming about having a place in as perfect a location as Edgar and his family have. You walk out the front door and it is literally 3 metres until you are sitting on the edge of the water. There is nothing better than sitting in the sun at the water’s edge reading the newspaper and drinking coffee. I sat out there with Etta for a couple of hours, it was a perfect morning!!!

That day I was having lunch with Martha and her family, so my cousin Martina came to pick me up and we had a huge home cooked meal (have I mentioned how much I am loving home cooking??? Lol!) and catching up on more family history and who’s who in Malta and Australia. Went out with Victoria and Martina and a couple of her friends to see their horses and then for a few beers before finally heading back home exhausted to have a beer and watch terrible Maltese soap operas with Aunty. Man… I vaguely remember laughing my ass off at some of the soap operas in the Balkans, but let me tell you, as far as dodgy television goes, they had nothing on the Maltese! None of it is in English, so I am watching this poor excuse for entertainment with my Aunty translating all of the drama for me… it was absolutely hilarious, she was completely up to date with everything that was going on and I was so confused…!

Following day the realities are starting to hit home even more… 2 and a half days left until I’m on a plane home… Eeeek! I had arranged to meet one of my cousins for lunch, that was cool, went into Valletta while she was on her lunchbreak and caught up with her, spent the rest of the day in the city wandering around in the sunlight.

My second full day left and I have gotten to the point where I am officially living in denial about the whole going home thing. I can’t imagine what real life is like, it just seems like so long ago I was in a routine, working, all that normal life stuff. So, I decided that the only thing for it was a day at the beach, I really needed one last swim in the Mediterranean before going home anyhow. So I got up early and sat with Aunty for a while, we looked at some old photos and stuff before I caught a bus down to Sliema to find myself a nice rock by the water (yeah, there’s not really any sand in Malta since it’s basically a big rock!)… So I found a nice quiet spot out of the wind with a perfect view across the bay and planted myself there for the rest of the afternoon with a book to read. Wasn’t long though, before I got talking to some absolutely insane Irish military guys on holidays, and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with them in the sun marvelling them with my travelling tales and sporadically jumping into the ocean although I was on my own for that because they weren’t game to come in. After a coffee to wake up from the laziness in the sun I headed back home in the evening to spend one last evening with my beautiful great aunt and get my bags packed and ready to fly out tomorrow. Eeeeek… I’m really, truly leaving… I can’t believe it!

After a fabulous dinner of ravioli with aunty we sat for hours and hours looking through every photo album she has, it was so cool to see all the pics of my grandparents when they were so much younger, and of their trips to Australia years ago, and of all of my cousins growing up over the years. She told me stories, so many stories about how she met the love of her life and all sorts of things, it was great fun. I was so grateful to be able to hear all of the stories first hand, I felt like i was learning so much about my grandparents and where they came from…

So yeah, it was a very relaxed last night in just spending time together and tried to get a pretty early night so I’d be prepared for the next day… Didn’t really get any sleep though, my stomach was a mixed bag of nerves and excitement and fear and denial and depression at the thought of going home. It’s going to be such a long flight, I can’t imagine what I will do for that long to entertain myself… I mean, 26 hours is such a ridiculously long time… It will be boring as hell. Oh well, hopefully I’ll get some sleep.

So, my very last morning in Malta, and officially the end of my trip no matter how much I try to live in denial, I got up really early and had one last breakfast with Aunty Doris, and sat and chatted and made sure that everything was organised, managed to squeeze in lunch too before a cousin came to take me to the airport. Reality really set in when we pulled up in the airport carpark and I had to say another round of goodbyes. Last time leaving Malta I wasn’t sure if I would be coming back so I had already done all of these goodbyes before, you’d think it would be easy by now. But it was still hard as ever, knowing I’ve discovered this whole new family and I have no idea when will be the next time I can see them. It was really sad saying goodbye to Aunty Doris, she’s been so good to me while I’ve been staying, and we’ve had an absolute blast hanging out!!!

So, that’s, well, that’s it! I’m sure that there will be a follow up blog whining about the flight home, and about being home, and about, ummm, everything… But until then… Thanks for listening, see you all at home soon!!!

Love you all, miss you lots!



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San Gwann