Tag Archives: maltese

Reflection

So this morning I was in work, and while I was sipping my coffee and working on my weekly reports, I hear the mention of a crashing plane. Being still not wide awake, at such an ungodly hour on a Monday morning, it took me some time until it registered in my head that there was an actual plane crash.

I was even more shocked when I Googled the words “plane crash” and I saw the word MALTA.

I have never in my 29 years of life, heard of such incidents on Maltese shores. I must say, this has shaken me to the core. I got goosebumps all over as soon as I read the article, and even more so when I watched the video. Two explosions, fire everywhere, people crying as they witness what has happened. It was crazy. Heartbroken.

There were no survivors, and if you watch the video, you can understand why.

In moments like these, I can’t help but reflect on my life. How short life is, how unpredictable it is. As a frequent flyer myself, tragedies like these although they won’t convince me to stay bound to Malta forever, make me realise how fragile we are, how although rare such things happen – even if it never occur to us that it will happen to us, or someone close to us.

With this in my mind, I urge you to hold on to your loved ones a little bit tighter tonight and to not be afraid to love and be honest always. Life is precious, and once our heart stops beating that is it.

My deepest and sincere condolences to the families of the lost souls.
Rest in peace.

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No, it is not OK…

Imagine you are casually walking by the seashore on a Summery Saturday afternoon, minding your own business; sunglasses on, hat on due to the excessive sunlight. As you are peacefully gazing the view in front of you, taking it all in, just a few minutes before you are due to go into work, this group of Maltese males pass by.

Being all ignorant and dense, they’d start talking about you in Maltese (not even whisper, no!), assuming that you are this dumb tourist who wouldn’t get a word they are saying. Comments would start off with nice dress, to what they would do to you if they had the chance, and what the hell am I doing being outdoors all by myself “looking like that”.

Needless to say, I stayed there listening, boiling mad with every statement they say to each other. When it looked like they have said enough, I turned around, smiled and asked them “xi haga ohra?”. For my non-Maltese readers, this would translate to “Anything else?”

Well, that DID shut them up, but this doesn’t explain how rude and respect-less they are to women. I mean, these guys thought they’d get away with it, because I could not understand them… but doesn’t that make it even worse? It is because of situations like these, that I feel like I lost hope in humans, in men…
If it was I who said such statements about guys, that would have made me a slut, but it is somehow cool for men to say these things… Double standards much?

Either way, it is disrespectful and equality on this subject wouldn’t make things fine. Objectifying people is always wrong unless done with consent from all the people involved.

 

Mosta Dome

The Parish Church of Saint Mary, is popularly known as the Rotunda or the Mosta dome due to its large dome; which can be seen from most parts of Malta.

The church was designed by a Maltese architect called Giorgio Grognet de Vassé. The church’s design was closely based on the Pantheon in Rome; 6 columned portico with a circular 39.6m diameter dome. It was built between the 1833 and 1860 with funds raised by the local people.

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During World War 2 in 1942, a bomb fell through the church and it didn’t detonate. This was considered as a miracle especially since around 300 people were in the church waiting for the mass to commence. A replica of the said bomb is available to see in the sacristy, left of the altar.

 

The Valletta Waterfront

The Valletta Waterfront is a promenade which you can get steffisays-upperbarrakkagardens-liftto easily either from the Upper Barrakka Gardens by using the elevator facilities at a price of around 2 Euro (you would get a return ticket when you purchase one), or  by walking through Valletta city center towards the sea, and keep walking to the direction of the Cruise and Ferry terminal. Funnily enough, although the area is known as Valletta Waterfront, it is located in Floriana.

One of the reasons I go to this area is the obvious fact that it is lovely, especially in the evenings for a pleasant walk by the sea. It is also frequented because of the fact that there are a variety of restaurants to go to for lunch, dinner, coffee or for a couple of drinks. Different cuisines such as Mediterranean, Italian and Chinese are available.

Plus how can you resist this view?

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The WaterFront View at night

Going there is a must, I tell you!

 

St. Paul’s Catacombs, Rabat Malta

The underground roman cemeteries are dated to be
used up until the 4th century AD. Since the roman law at the time, prohibited burials within the city, these are catacombs2found on the outskirt of the capital of Malta at the time; Mdina.

The name of the these catacombs derives from the widely known story which relates to St Paul’s Grotto. As such, these catacombs are a great example of Maltese underground architecture as well as it represents the earliest evidence of Christianity in Malta.

The site itself consists of two large areas, with a good number of burial chambers. During a talk with one of the curators, I was told that there were more than 30 underground burial chambers.

catacombs
Should you be interested to visit, the opening hours are 9:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday.
Tickets cost €5.00 for adults, and €3.50 for youths

How to get there
– By Public Transport: From Valletta Routes 51, 52. From Bugibba Route X3 (Airport Route). The catacombs are situated in St. Agatha Street which is a narrow street running through much of the town’s core. Follow the signs to St. Paul’s Catacombs.
– By self-driven car: Drive towards Rabat and park close to the Domus Romana. The St. Paul’s Catacombs are around 5 minutes away by walk.

Which language do you think with?

This is a weird one, I know.

I have been, for years on end now, thinking and “talking to myself” in a foreign language. By foreign language, I mean English. Malta is a bilingual country, and in fact we start learning English at the young age of six. I always loved the language and the literature that came with it. I always carried a book with me and preferred British TV and movies over Italian (I’m mentioning Italian because all of my friends watched Italian TV when I was growing up).

homer-simpson-thinking

Although I love the English language, I knew that there is one barrier that I won’t be able to surpass. This is, because even though I know that my spoken and written English is better than the average Joe’s, I will never have enough practice verbally to become super fluent and master it as it was my first language.

It was in 2011, when things changed for me. Leaving Malta meant that I had to leave my mother tongue behind (to an extend). When I landed in Manchester airport, I knew that at this point,  I have to deal with people in English. I think, that this is when my head decided that I should start thinking in English. I think, this was rather beneficial (yes, I googled it):

  • Apparently, if you think in a foreign language, you are not only practicing the language itself but also learning new vocabulary. It’s almost like when you are reading a book for the very first time.
  • Another reason according to a study is that since a foreign language provides psychological distance because you need to make a bit of an effort to use it, it will affect your reasoning and decision making in the sense that they become less biased, more analytic, and more systematic.

In reality, in my daily life, unless I am speaking with my friends and colleagues, everything else is done using the English language, which means that I was very surprised that it took my brain this long to switch languages:

  • Reading news, blogs, articles
  • Google searches are conducted in English
  • Reading Books
  • Listening to music
  • Making use of laptops (or computers) and phones using an English interface
  • Watching TV, Movies and Series

Am I the only one who took this leap? Do you think in your native language or did you choose another familiar language to do so? I want to know! 🙂

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//Obviously this is targeted to users who can speak multiple languages rather than just the one.

Qormi Air-Raid War Shelters

Casal Fornaro is an event that happens in my home town Qormi, on a yearly basis. This is a festival which celebrates bread, and how it represented the town through the years, even during wars. During the time when the island was under attack, bread was made out of rice and tasted horrible, but at least it ensured that the citizens had something to eat. Nowadays the city of Qormi is still renowned for bread and together, we celebrate an event full of bread, pastries and culture.

On this day, the two local war shelters are open for the public, and to me, these deserve a visit every year.

In one of the shelters there is a re-enactment from World War 2, explaining the situation of the poor and the politicians. Then you are allowed to roam around the shelter and imagine for yourself what life was like during that time. The re-enactment happens in Maltese which is a disadvantage for any tourists visiting, however one can still visually appreciate the surroundings.

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In the second war shelter, there is a bread exhibition sponsored by the leading bakery ‘MayPole’ – One can find fancy bread available in the shelter just for viewing as can be seen in the images below.

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One is able to buy similar bread through the many stalls in the festival as well as from their bakery any other day of the year.

The Malta Story

Keeping in mind that I have lived overseas, and that I know a number of foreigners, I have been asked countless times about Malta. What makes it so unique? Why are we so attached to the British? Why is our language so weird, and where did it come from?

Today, I came across the below picture. I would imagine this explains a lot:

maltesehistory

Briefly:

    • The Order of the Knights of St. John made it to malta in 1530. In 1561 the inquisition was established and 4 years later we had the Great Siege by the Ottoman Turks. The Ottoman troops eventually retreated, but they did lose around 9,000 men in this battle. The siege ended as a victory in favour of the Maltese on the 8th of September, which is to this day a bank holiday in Malta. A year later, Valletta was designed and founded and named Valletta of course after our star; the Grand Master Jean de La Vallette. He was buried within the capital city roughly three years later, and it was unfortunate that he didn’t see his vision of Valletta finalised.
    • In 1798, the Napolean Bonaparte took Malta from the hands of the Knights.
    • Just a year later, Britian takes Malta and the french surrendered. It was only in 1814 that Malta becomes a Britian Crown Colony. Within the British Period, Malta has participated in the First World war, and later at fought during the second world war. In 1964, we were given independence within the British Commonwealth and 10 years later Malta became a Republic. The last British services left the Maltese islands in 1979.
    • Recently, in 2004 Malta joined the European Union and 4 years later the Eurozone.

Source: http://www.visitmalta.com

Bikers in Traffic

I love bikes; I think they are gorgeous and I admire each and every one of the bikers who pluck up the courage to drive in Malta and Gozo.

In case you have never visited Malta, or never driven in Malta… Maltese roads are hell to drive in… Not even the devil himself dares to set his foot here and drive in this pit of danger and death. Angry, irrational drivers, chaos of traffic and to top it all shitty bumpy roads throughout the islands. (Sometimes I wonder why we pay the driving license to be honest!!)

Considering all the above, would it make more sense, to have some kind of rule/law enforced with regards to which side of the motor-lane a bike should drive in? Should bikes overtake or undertake? I’m thinking that this would help everyone on the road, as all car-drivers can pay some special added attention to that side of the road via the mirrors, and hopefully the bikers will also feel slightly safer on our roads… Especially during the peak hours of traffic, namely 7 to 9 am and 5 to 6 pm, when everyone wants to get to work/home and all the main roads are packed and crammed with cars. Zigzagging around cars is not the way to go in these circumstances.

Pasta Omelette (Maltese: Tarja Moqlija)

One of the ‘fry ups’ that I really love eating, but which I do not eat so often since unfortunately it is far from healthy is known as Tarja Moqlija. The English name I’d like to give it is a Pasta Omelette. If you are not sure if this is something you’d like to try, I still urge you read the recipe, it might make you hungry, or in the least: curious!

Recipe for two

Ingredients:
– 200g Vermicelli / Spaghetti
– 2 handfuls of Parmigiano Reggiano
– 2 large eggs
– 2 handfuls of cubed ham or bacon or sausage
– 1 small onion, chopped
– 6 average sized mushrooms, chopped
– Salt and Pepper to taste
You can add or change ingredients according to your taste

Method:
1. Boil the pasta until it is rather soft
2. Cook the mushrooms in some butter until the pasta is ready
3. Beat the eggs and add the other chopped ingredients in the same bowl and season it
4. Mix the cooked pasta in the same bowl
5. Put a bit of oil in the frying pan and wait until it is warm
6. Spread the pasta mix into the frying pan.
7. Fry from one side until is golden brown and then turn it around slowly
8. Serve piping hot (and crispy!)

tarja

Notes:
– Do not put too much pasta mix in the pan because if the omelette is too thick it will break
– If you feel like there’s not enough egg in the mix, you are better off adding an additional egg. The omelette will still taste as good!