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Arriving in Malta

Updated: 6 days ago

There is a two-hour time difference between Turkey and Malta. Because of this, my flight left Istanbul and arrived in Malta at just about the same time. It's a kind of weird phenomenon that allowed me to spend extra day time with both my (new) friends in Istanbul and my (newer) friends-I-haven't-met-yet in Malta.

After getting off the plane, on the way through Malta security, I befriended another new friend, Serra.

Serra was born and raised in Istanbul. She works there and lives there with her family. She was traveling to Malta for the first time to visit a friend, and planned to stay for one week. Before we even entered Malta, she expressed that one-week would not be enough. I was starting to wonder if there would be a way I could stay more than two-weeks.

As Serra and I talked, while in the line to security, she told me that, as a Turkish citizen, she needed a visa to enter Malta. If you did not know this, the Schengen visa is necessary for many citizens outside of Europe who visit anywhere in Europe, including Malta. I told Serra that, as a US citizen, I did not need to acquire this visa, yet. "I may need to show proof that I plan to leave, though" I said, "which I do not have."

Serra got through security and turned back to me. "I may see you on the other side," I said. I may not, I thought.

It was my turn at security. They took my passport, looked at it, stamped it, and it was done. It was quicker than anyone I had seen go through before me, including Serra. I was not asked to show a departure ticket. It was simple. I think I lifted off the ground a bit as I turned the corner into Malta, and saw the little aquarium.

I took this picture (above) because of Riaz.

You may recall that Riaz was the husband in the Indian-family-from-Canada who I had befriended at the Monastery Cave Hotel in Cappadocia. You may recall that the family was planning to travel to Saudi Arabia. When the family arrived at the Jeddah Airport in Saudi Arabia, Riaz sent me a video. The video showed a massive tubular aquarium in the airport, housing fish, squid, an octopus, a stingray, sharks... It reminded me of my awe-some visits to the Boston Aquarium.

I walked around another bend to be greeted by Giulia and Eugene. Our greeting felt like it was long awaited for. It was heart-warming. We all expressed how excited we felt, hugged, got my too-many-too-heavy-luggage, and took a taxi to their apartment in St. Paul's Bay.

Eugene made us a delicious salmon dinner while Giulia showed me around the apartment. When dinner was ready, we ate and talked at length.

Giulia was originally from Italy. They planned to travel (the next day) to visit her family for the holiday. Eugene was originally from South Africa, and they plan to visit his family soon. Italy is much closer to Malta, easier to travel to.

They told me this was their first experience using It was my first experience with it too. We had only met through emails and a video call. This was a big leap of faith, mostly on their parts.

We talked for a long time. We agreed it felt like we were old friends.

Giulia and I walked along the streets by the water and around to stores she wanted to point out to me (for my stay).

Their 13 year-old cat, Pina, is a calico and angora mix. This means that she is colorful, soft and fluffy. She is also very friendly.

If you know cats, you know that cats like boxes. If you know cats, you know they like squares. As you may know, if there is a square on the floor, the cat will sit on it. If there is a box, the cat will get in it.

At home (in Brattleboro), when Kenzie does this cat behavior, Daniel and I call her "cat-in-a-box." Pina the cat is no different. Pina's human parents even wrapped her a box for the season.

Cat-in-a-box at Christmas

I have been in Malta for over a week now, so wanted to at least get a little blog to you. More shall be revealed...

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