It’s hard to deny that the daily pace of life in Malta is pretty slow, anything that can be done today, can easily be done next week or the week after if you’re lucky. Although it can be frustrating for many expats when they first arrive, you soon get used to it and tend to follow the same pattern after a while…when in Rome and all that.
I’ve always been a great believer that there is no law in life that says it has to be stressful or unpleasant. In my simple little world (apart from when it comes to Arsenal), something life threatening or where someone could be harmed, is important. Anything else is really just an inconvenience, which can usually be worked around or resolved over time.
Luckily Malta’s approach is very similar to mine, so I have been able to embrace their way of life very easily. One of the biggest problems for me personally in England, was that too many people seem fearful of losing their jobs and the knock on effects that it will have on their lives. Admittedly not being able to pay your mortgage isn’t ideal but is it really worth having someone else dictate how you live your life?
For me it wasn’t and I have countless memories from working with others in England, where my approach to life really didn’t fit in with anyone else’s. I’m not sure if it was the industry that I was in or maybe just me (possible) but everyone seemed to want problems so they could create a big issue, argue and generally make an unpleasant environment.
Unlike England and unfortunately the majority of the world at the moment, Malta is also a very safe place to live. I don’t know if it’s the sun, the upbringing or general ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude but I think it was recently listed as the seventh safest place in the world to live.
In fact in the two years that I have been here apart from at bus stops, I have seen only one minor altercation in a bar and there are no surprises that it involved an Englishman. In England you can pretty much guarantee that every town centre will see trouble at the weekend, the hospitals will be full of drunks and many weekends ruined. Over here the vast majority just want to have fun and enjoy themselves, with drink related violence involving the Maltese very uncommon. That doesn’t mean that all Maltese are fun loving angels but they do appear to have far more respect for other people than you get in England.
Even walking along the streets in Malta after dark is a whole new experience, with families and neighbours sitting outside and chatting into the early hours. You can walk past a group youths (showing my age) without getting insulted or attacked and even woman can walk the streets without major concerns for their safety.
Until you have lived it, it really is hard to explain what a huge positive impact it has on your quality of life.
Apparently Malta has changed a lot in recent years and many Maltese now consider it unsafe, especially with a bit of multiculturalism thrown in.
Obviously I haven’t been here that long but in comparison to England, it is ridiculously safe.
There’s no doubt that there are a few areas that are a bit dodgy after dark but they are well known and easily avoided. Having lived in rural England and travelled to many countries around the world, it is by far the safest country that I have visited and I’ve never felt remotely unsafe since being here. However there are cultural differences in etiquette between the English and seemingly most of Europe, which could
explain some of the safety concerns. As an over polite Englishman I always offer the pavement to oncoming people, yet not once has someone thanked me. In fact and what is more worrying, is that many scurry past my welcoming smile as quickly as possible with a complete look of terror, almost expecting me to mug them!
There also appears to be no such thing as queuing, especially when it comes to buses. You may be very pleased with yourself thinking that you have gained pole position but wait until the bus arrives and the real fun begins. If it looks busy, the drivers normally stop at the point furthest from the pointless queue and a free for all begins. The funniest part is the transformation from God fearing sweet old ladies into Muay Thai demons, throwing elbows that I would be proud in their quest to get a seat.
Entertainment and socialising in Malta are virtually the law but if you can’t live without English TV and insist on being a bore off, then you have nothing to worry about. Terrestrial (if that’s what you still call it) TV in Malta is either in Italian or Maltese, with the only English speaking channel based mainly on God, which isn’t for everyone. However many people have IPTV boxes or similar, which allow them to see hundreds of channels from around the world including all the English ones, at a fraction of the price that you pay in the UK.
Luckily I only really use TV to watch football and boxing and once again Malta comes up trumps! Almost every bar on the Island shows live football including the 3pm Saturday kick offs, with most bar owners allowing you to watch your favourite team if they have enough TVs. After giving up my season ticket at Arsenal, before I came here it was always a struggle to watch them if the game wasn’t being televised live. Luckily now I can see their impressive decline on a weekly basis, regardless of who they are playing…
However there are many sporting occasions that do not really appeal to the Maltese, so are very easy to miss. In England I would always try to watch a bit of Wimbledon, The Ashes (at breakfast if it was in Australia) and even The Ryder Cup (who’s the bore off now?) for the last few hours if it was close. Since being out here I’ve missed them all and have no idea when they are or who has won them.
Even the Olympics which I presumed was a worldwide viewing must, wasn’t really shown on Maltese TV. It was shown on the Italian channels but they only focussed on the events that Italians were participating, which wasn’t many or particularly memorable.
I was always been a bit addicted to Sky News in England but only watch it now if something really important happens and even then it’s online. Although I’m living here, I admit that I like to have a general idea of what is happening back home, even if it’s generally negative and doesn’t really affect me anymore. It’s also nice to see the UK weather forecast and have a little snigger, admittedly childish but perfectly true.
In fact it has to be said that all the things that frustrated me in the UK, pretty much stemmed from watching TV. I’m not advocating conspiracy theories that we are manipulated by TV but all the negativity that used to fill my evenings has gone now. Shoddy politics, Jeremy Kyle types, Coronation Street and even Lenny Henry (I can’t stand him) are all off the radar now. Instead my evenings now normally consist of having a walk along the sea, sometimes an ice cream, maybe a couple of shandies but always at a relaxed pace and never concerned about my safety.
After adapting to the Maltese way of life so well, I’m not sure how I would cope with the stressful English lifestyle. Then again with the amount of fun I’m having here and being really honest, I have no plans on actually finding out.
TO BE CONTINUED 😉