Malta Moments That Make Us Laugh

Luther’s Malta and the Mediterranean Program, currently in its 27th year, offers students the opportunity to spend a semester exploring Malta's rich history and traveling to other countries in the Mediterranean region. Coursework includes Paideia II: Ethical Issues in the Mediterranean, a Service Learning class, where program participants teach English to recent immigrants to Malta, Maltese History and Culture and additional classes taken at the University of Malta.

To learn more about the program, visit the Malta Semester website.

These are typical Malta moments that are memories you just have to laugh off and will always hold in special places.

 

#1: "You're not a very good bus driver then."

 

After exploring the winding fortified streets of Mdina, it was time to start our trek back home to Sliema. Earlier that afternoon, we had quite the adventure trying to get to Mdina. It was our first travel to Mdina, so we were heavily relying on the Moovit bus app to lead us in the right direction. Thanks to attempting to find the confusing Bombi 3 bus stop in Valletta (which is underground and to the left and backwards and upside down), four different bus transfers and slight miscommunication on our part, our travel time to Mdina was nearly tripled. It's safe to say we were not necessarily looking forward to our travel home.

 

However, when we were ready to leave, we found a direct bus that would take us straight to Sliema without any bus transfers! That's what I'm talking about! We hop on the bus and double check with the driver to make sure it will drop us off in Sliema, and he affirms our unsettled minds. We all got a beloved open seat, and we were ready to sit and relax until we hear "Next Stop; Antik" over the loudspeaker.

 

By the time we were on our way home that evening, it was rush hour on the streets. Which normally just means longer bus rides- except we all had a seat so we didn't care. But not today-- rush hour meant something way more exciting! When we were driving down one of the extremely narrow streets, our bus jolted to a stop. We looked out the window to check out the commotion. It looked like our bus driver was in quite the predicament. Our bus had been cruising down the street and another bus had attempted to squeeze through the street at the same time. There was NO way there was room for both buses on that street. Little background- the streets of Malta are the most narrow streets I have ever seen. Typically there are cars parked on both sides, it still functions as a two way road, and the sidewalk squeezed in there that can barely fit one pedestrian at a time.

 

Suddenly, our bus driver opened his window and started yelling in a rich English accent. He was clearly angry at the other bus driver for being so nonchalant about the traffic jam that had now clogged the street. I guess the other bus driver's excuse was that he "didn't see our bus in the street." This agitated our bus driver, and he got visibly more frustrated. He responded, "You're not a very good bus driver then."  

 

We could not help but chuckle as we watched this all go down. Both bus drivers had to tuck in their side mirrors, and meticulously calculate how to navigate the huge public buses out of this situation. A full 20 minutes were spent attempting to wedge the two buses out of the street, with barley inches between each other. It was quite comical, but also a relief that we made it out safely.

 

The traffic jam situation already put our bus driver on edge, and then I accidently made matters worse. When we were ready to get off the bus, we were standing by the door waiting for our stop. My legs were a little tired from the day, so I leaned on against a pole to rest. Without my knowledge, I was pressing the "stop" button with my backpack and an alarm was sounding throughout the whole bus. There were so many noises, that the obnoxious ringing blended in and I had no idea it was being caused by me. That was, until the bus driver turned his head and yelled at me, "STOP PRESSING THE BUTTON! I GET IT, YOU WANT TO STOP!"

 

My face immediately turned bright red from embarrassment. He mumbled under his breath, "Gosh, that's so annoying." I felt awful, this bus driver was clearly not having a great day, and I just made it worse. He continued, "No one would ever do that in the UK", comparing proper bus etiquette to his home country. I felt even worse. I quickly skirted off the bus to escape any further embarrassment.

 

P.S: To make this story even better, I could not take our bus driver seriously when he was yelling at me because I really just enjoyed listening to his English accent!

 

___________________

 

#2: "Exact Change"

 

After a wonderful travel weekend in Rome, a few of us were having a chill night in Flat 9 playing card games. It was getting to be the time of night where everyone starts craving a little late night snack- chocolate, gelato, sour candies, whatever your personal craving may be that night. We all know that feeling.

 

Well this particular night I really wanted a fresh, juicy peach. I was in an "exotic fruit" kind of mood. I asked anyone if they wanted anything from the C-Store (which is our inside joke for the market down the street, Orion, which is a reference to the on-campus convenience store back home at Luther). When I had asked, I did not expect everyone to accept my offer.

 

Malia said she would share the peach with me. Wyatt was craving sour gummies and Zach wanted peppermint chocolates. Since we are all frequent customers of Orion, everyone knows the exact price of their late night snack cravings.

 

When I left the flat, I had a mental list of what I was responsible for buying, and in my hands were exact change for each item. 1.35€ in my right palm for the sour candies, 1.92€ in my left palm for the peppermint chocolates. Malia and I were not sure on the price of the peach- but we assumed it wouldn’t be more than 1.50€, so that was in my left jean pocket.

 

I confidently walked into the C-store and grabbed everything I needed. I picked out the perfectly ripe peach, which got me even more excited to quench my exotic fruit craving. I went to up to the counter and laid everything out, no doubt in my mind that everything would go smoothly. And everything did until the clerk, who was not in a particularly joyful mood that evening, announced my total. YIKES.. that peach was expensive. I looked down at the change in my hand, doing quick mental math to figure out if I had enough. Sadly, I didn’t. I respectfully told him that I was not going to take the peach. I paid for the sour candies and the peppermint chocolates, and thank him before leaving the store.

 

The wind was immediately taken out of my sails. I walked back to the flats with my head down, a little bummed about my peach.

 

Everyone was happy to see me return from the store, as I acted as the delivery woman who dropped of their nightly cravings. I had told everyone about what happened with the peach, and they all felt pretty bad for me; they knew how excited I was about that peach.

 

People dug into their wallets, and started donating their spare change to the “get Abbie a peach” fund. Donations of .05€, .20€, .01€ coins started piling on the the table. My mood instantly started to brighten- I was going to get my peach! I thanked my fellow friends and marched right back to the C-Store.

 

There were nectarines next to the peaches, and I assumed that nectarines were probably cheaper than peaches. So I settled for a nectarine. I head up to the counter again, and the clerk did not look happy to see me back. He weighed my nectarine, and I patiently waited in anticipation. When he told me my total, my stomach dropped. Even with the kind donations from my friends, I didn’t have enough money.

 

The clerk looked at me saw the sparkle leave my eyes once again. He deeply sighed and mumbled… “which one do you actually want?" (Referring to the  nectarine or the peach). I sheepishly responded.. "the peach.” Out of the goodness of his heart, he took whatever hodge podge of change I had collected and told me to take the peach.

 

I could not contain my smile of gratitude and thanked him. I walked back to the flats with my beloved peach, and a story to tell.

 

P.S. No peach that has ever tasted so juicy and delicious. So worth the hassle!

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