An unproductive day at work for Buzzfeed writer Erin Chack three years ago unpredictably spiralled into her becoming a “star” in Malta.
“The day was 14th June 2014 and I was getting nervous at work because I had no good story ideas, and as my mind went into overdrive I started thinking about my grandparents and about how one of my grandfathers was from Malta,” she said in a video released yesterday. “I had no idea what it was so I googled it and thought ‘Holy shit, this place is beautiful’. I had always assumed it looked dreary and grey like most of Europe but this was like an iPhone background. Everything was so bright and colourful and I started wondering why my family had ever left this place.”
The pictures inspired her to write an article extolling Malta as the most underrated country in the Mediterranean, but the reaction to that article was something she did not expect.
“The next morning woke up to a biblical flood of notifications. Apparently Malta doesn’t get written about a lot by US media sites and they were pumped,” she said. “So many Maltese people messaged me to thank me for the promotion but I was like ‘thank you for having such a gorgeous country’.”
Maltese hotels wrote to Chack to offer her free stays, restaurants offered her free meals, and architect Chris Mintoff started a fundraising page to get her to visit Malta in person which covered by the Maltese press.
“I decided to fade into the background and let it all die down but the next day, I saw a photo of this Maltese newspaper [The Times] with my fucking face on it,” she said. “The next day another mean newspaper article [on MaltaToday] came out.”
Architect Chris Mintoff started an online fundraising campaign to bring Erin Chack to Malta [Photo: MaltaToday]
Chack did not hear from Malta again until earlier this year when she and her boyfriend went on vacation to Italy and decided to make a pitstop at the island. She tracked down Chris Mintoff and, during lunch, her fundraiser gave her an unexpected gift.
“We walked to this this big stately building, and Chris told me this was the Office of the Prime Minister and I thought ‘cool, we’re going on a walking tour,” Chack said. “Then he told me this used to be the office of his great uncle [Dom Mintoff] and we just walked in…this was the Maltese equivalent of the White House and we just waltzed into it.”
” He took me to the roof and we’re there talking and laughing and basking in the sun and I realized that the only reason I was standing on top of the Prime Minister’s office and looking out at this gorgeous country is because I didn’t know what to write for work one day.”