There is a certain serenity I felt coming back to Malta after the hustle and bustle of two and a half weeks of traveling around Europe. Actually, this was the first weekend since mid-March that I had not been traveling off the island. This weekend was a much needed personal reconnection to home, and a time to let my guard down and relax.
After doing some ‘cross’ training for my half marathon for the duration of my spring break, it felt refreshing to get back to running again. Within an hour of being home, I strapped on my running shoes and took off on my classic route. Wow! Things had changed since I had been gone. Construction sites were way farther along, benches we painted different colors, and people were everywhere! Despite the changes, I felt myself appreciating the little quirks I had previously overlooked; the enticing smell of Peppis seaside restaurant filling the air, the stray cats walking on the promenade, cars honking in the crowded traffic jams, the crashing of the waves against the rocky bay and the sun glistening across the Mediterranean Sea. As my breath became winded and my legs started to ache from the running, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude.
And that was the theme of the weekend; gratitude. We would let our bodies catch up on much needed sleep, and then spend our afternoons down by the bay (not where the watermelons grow ;)) basking in the Mediterranean rays and the crisp wind tangled our salty hair. Each day we had no agenda or list of tasks to do, besides rest and relax. Before the crunch of finals exams and assignments begins, I am so thankful I was able to take a step back this weekend.
In addition to laying by the bay, Wyatt and I planned a day trip to Marsaxalokk fishing village to visit the famous farmers market and to cliff jump from St. Peter’s Pool. We had a little bus mishap where we figured out that Marsaslaca and Marsaxlokk are not the same thing, but eventually we got there! In Marsaxlokk, stands of fresh fruit and veggies, freshly caught fish from the sea, pots and pans, artwork, souvenirs, etc stretched along the whole bay. We walked through the crowds, embracing the cultural humbug of the market. After a quick hike away from the main city center, we arrived at St. Peter’s Pool. The deep teal water invited us to jump, but the biting wind thought otherwise. But, we were committed. We both jumped the cliffs into the refreshing salty sea! We were a bit surprised at how frigid the water was! But I would 10/10 recommend visiting and jumping in at St. Peter’s Pool!
Back at home, Vitor and Evan had powered up the grill and we’re having a BBQ on the roof. They invited everyone up to hang around we waited in anticipation as the food cooked. The menu was steak and chicken and caramelized onions, peppers and sweet potatoes. For Vitor, having a BBQ was a little slice of Brazil he had been missing, and for us it was a glance into a comforting summer pastime. It was so yummy!
Speaking of yummy, Wyatt and I made homemade fettuccine noodles! We followed the recipe from our cooking class in Sorrento, Italy (see post- add link). It was more work than we expected, but it was a fun experience. I would probably recommend attempting this task with more counter space than the space between our sink and microwave, but we made do in our tiny kitchen. And everything tastes better when you make it yourself and fill it with lots of love right? You can never go wrong with homemade Italian!
This weekend was a nice way to hit the reset button from all the travel, and have a renewed sense of appreciation for Malta. Overall, I am thankful for the ability to run, opportunity to learn and live in this wonderful place and for the chance to call Malta home.
P.S. on a side note- we all got our Maltese Resident Permits--- so we can officially call Malta home.