I’m sure this has happened to all of us.
How sometimes we pause in between hurried acts and we realise that we have been caught up in a whirlwind and we think to ourselves how time can truly be a treacherous bitch. And for a moment we feel we’ve been robbed of precious time but a glance at our mobile phone will show us just how busy we’ve been, how many people we’ve seen, how many places we’ve visited, how many drinks we’ve had (always one too many). So we forget about what it is we have to do and we sit down with a cup of tea. Some of us stare into space, let the memories wash over us . Some of us write so their memories could endure.
So many things happened this past month. The most poignant was probably my move from my old apartment to another one. My new flatmate is pretty amazing. She’s fun, loves cats & whiskey, bakes the most scrumptious muffins and has a fridge always stocked with the local gbejniet tal-bzar, kunserva and Kinnie. There are galletti and Twistees in the cupboard, notes from Brikkuni or Mary Rose Mallia’s Festa float about the living room AND she is cool. She has this free-spirited way of living life which radiates throughout the apartment and her presence always has this calming and comforting effect on me. As you might have gathered, she is Maltese and as you might have also guessed, her name is Katia. She might also answer to the call of Donut. This move was unplanned and unexpected. When Katia’s flatmate (Hi B!) moved to a new accommodation, I pounced on the chance. Not because I had issues with where I was staying. I loved my flatmates. they made the past eight months happy ones. There was always an extra helping if anyone wanted to join the meals and we shared all that we had. We were the Queens of 512B and I will always cherish the eves we spent together. I just felt that living with my closest Maltese friend would make my life somewhat easier (not to mention there’s a huge mall a few blocks down. Not that that influenced my decision. At all.). I have finally settled down, hung up all my photos again and took it upon me to be an insufferable wannabe-interior designer, gone wrong. Oh well.
Throughout this whole mess I have had the chance to visit some amazing destinations. I have been to Prague, where every building, every bridge, every cobbled road, every statue reminded me of the fairy tales I used to read as a child. The golden spires on cathedrals which looked more like castles and the frescoes of pilgrims on the buildings blanketed this city in a unique medieval setting. I remember I was dead tired when I got there but I walked for four hours, without stop except to take the umpteenth selfie. I wanted to capture my face, I wanted to remember how happy I felt on my own that day. And when I lost the map, not an eyebrow was raised. I wanted to get lost in the city. I wanted to let the roads guide me, let them carry my feet, instead of the other way around. It is a place every romantic soul should visit. And the more reason to visit if you don’t have one. Because you will find it tucked away, maybe in a bakery across Charles Bridge, savouring the smells of the loupák, their sweetened bread or gazing up at the astronomical tower which looks like something out of an enchanted spell book.
I have also had the fortune of visiting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where a short taxi ride from the hotel took me to the Batu Caves, a splendid display of what nature does best, leave us gaping in wonder. Add a gargantuan golden statue of their god at the entrance of the cave and you have an indelible exotic image in your head which can never fade. The cheeky monkeys kept us well entertained as we ascended the stairs to the caves and allowed us to take pictures of them, the young clinging to their mothers, the large males stealing all the bananas and selfishly hoarding them away.
What was meant to be a trip to Luanda, Angola, turned out to be a journey to the French Riviera. I honestly couldn’t believe my luck when I saw Flight Number 077 on my roster. NCE, Nice, a destination highly sought for and there it was, presented on a golden plate. As soon as I arrived I rushed to catch the bus which would take me to the train station and from there to Monet Carlo, Monaco (thank you Jason & Warren for the tips!). On the bus stop I met two Brazilians who were staying at my same hotel, heading in the same direction. Needless to say, we stuck together. Got to a dazzling Monte Carlo when the sun was still high in the sky. Took a hop on, hop off bus and toured the whole of Monaco in 45 minutes. Then we made our way to the casino, a building surrounded by cars the like of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche, Audi, Mercedes, each one outshining the next. We went in, uneasy in my beat up flip flops and loose pants (in my defence, it was supposed to rain so I had only boots as an alternative). The casino was a gilded spectacle. I could easily imagine men in top hats and tail coats, smoking their cigars and playing Black Jack, their women in furs and pearls hanging on their hands. We walked down streets where preparations were underway for the Grand Prix and traipsed along one of the most beautiful coasts and harbours I have ever seen. The next day I went to the old part of Nice, where I walked down narrow alleys lined with Boulangeries and Pattisseries, walking up and up until I had the perfect breath taking view of the beach, the port and the promenade. Then a quick lunch at a snack bar by the sea, conveniently called Baie des Anges (Bay of the Angels) and the slow walk and bus ride to the hotel where I had one last orange juice up on the Terrace and one last longing look at the view.
In between all this, I also managed to take care of one of the most hyper but affectionate cats I’ve ever had the pleasure of babysitting for. Pandora will surely leave her small paw prints on my heart. I’ve also taken up drinking quite a lot, realising my mistake and adopting a more healthy lifestyle which I’m trying to guard and keep. My sister is good motivation right now. (Thanks for the healthy tips love!) I have some fantastic new friends, who have somehow managed to stick with me for days on end despite my, er, memory shortfalls (yes, I’ve realised I’m a highly forgetful and fretful person. And indecisive. Blame my horoscope for that) and who helped me through the move. Your patience have been infinite, I know. Thank you for that. I have rediscovered Roswell, my all-time favourite teenage soap and I do believe I will take up cooking again. Conchita won the Eurovision, a highly controversial figure with a powerful message and although the Maltese community got together to support our islands, in all fairness we can’t say we would have made good judges. We were too intent on talking and eating Twistees and drinking Marsovin wine. But it was still a very good eve.
All in all, it has been a pretty busy month. Between birthdays and mummy’s day and a friend’s recent completion of her Master’s thesis (YAY JASMINE! Well done Bonbon xx) I feel that although with all the travels I’ve been doing, time seems to be suspended, it definitely is not. On this very day last year, I went to an Open Day. Two days later I finished my interview and two weeks after that I was officially chosen to work with one of the largest organisations worldwide. I take it back. Time is no treacherous bitch. It’s only a blind teacher who knows it is unforgiving, who knows it cannot promise anything but one thing. That you are here now. That you are alive. That you decide what to do with the next minute, hour, month, year of your life. So make it count and watch as your cache of memories grows and grows. Make it burst at the seams. And make sure that if it overflows, it will overflow with happiness and laughter.