There’s nothing better than leaving Malta for a few days to wind down or explore foreign land; new flavours, smells, unfamiliar sights, different air (cue: every Maltese woman who has ever travelled farther than Gozo commenting on the state of her hair ‘ara kemm joqgħodli xagħri senza umditá!‘) and of course, buffet breakfast.
Here are a few things every Maltese does when they’re abroad, for better or worse.
1. Bitch in Maltese
Even if you frequent places like Club 22 and never speak a word of Maltese at home, the second you’ve sat down on the plane and have confirmed nobody close by is Maltese, you suddenly become the most well-versed Maltese linguist ever;
‘Kemm jinten ta’ ħdejja!’
2. Experience extreme anxiety at the Metro
Catching a train is quite possibly the most stressful thing a Maltese goes through abroad. The first thing you say as you enter the metro is ‘ĦANINA X’PANIC HAW!‘ People carrying briefcases rush past, others literally running, almost knocking you over as you spin around in the middle like a useless idiot, not sure what to do or where to go.
Anxiety takes over when you reach the dreaded ticket machine. You observe the seasoned commuters in front of you and try to do the same. Your hands sweat as you insert the ticket, expecting it to flash red and imagine all the people behind you getting frustrated as you are the reason they’re late for work. Then there’s the ‘Which side of the railway should I be standing on?’, that roar of an oncoming train, hundreds of people getting on and off. Which is my stop? Which exit to take? Metros are evil.
‘EJJA ĦAFFEF SALV, DAĦĦAL DAK IL-MADONĊI BILJETT! LE MHUX HEKK JAĦASRA, LE, IN-NAĦA L-OĦRA!’
Panic-stricken Maltese wife
3. Marvel at the state of the roads
The metro proved to be too overwhelming for you, so you’ve sworn to travel by taxi from now on. Every Maltese traveller has at some point, been in awe of foreign roads and expressed their amazement out loud. ‘Eżatt bhal Malta eh it-toroq!‘ For a change the Cornflakes you’ve just eaten stay in your stomach, right where they belong.
‘Għal darba ma tellajtx il-Cornflakes fil-karozza!’
4. Succumb to blind paranoia
You’re out of the hotel and in the mean streets of the world – who to trust? ‘Tavda l-ħadd!‘, as your mother told you twenty times on the way to the airport. So you walk around like you’ve got an arm injury, your handbag as close to your ribs as possible as you look from side to side, glaring at people.
‘Ijwa ikkalma Chanel, qisek l-indannata’
5. Agree on a meeting place
Whenever we travel in groups, we always have a ‘game plan’ discussion as soon as we arrive at the centre.
Sarah: ‘We’ll meet in front of Goliath’s leg in case we lose each other okay guys?’
Sarah: ‘Uwejja Jas, mhux the statue!’
‘We’ll meet in front of Goliath’s leg in case we lose each other okay guys?’
6. Experience shop size awe
You enter and remain stunned in the doorway for the first ten minutes. It’s like being back at the Metro again! There are twenty escalators, shop assistants actually greeting you (crazy stuff), rows and rows of clothes. Minn fejn ħa naqbad nibda?
Bonus: Upon Returning To Malta
Adjust language accordingly – which by no means implies you should stop speaking about people in Maltese, just not so loudly. Your tense muscles relax as you realise you can walk around with an open handbag while buying Toblerone for your family (‘Taparsi xtrajtu minn Londra, mhux l-istess?) and catch bus 13 – once it eventually arrives, without any ticket machine drama.