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Trials and tribulations of moving to Malta: 4

[Continued from Part Three]

Well, here we are after over one year of living in Malta. How has the first year been, you ask? Interesting, I say. In Part Three of Trials & Tribulations I talked about getting all our documents and things sorted out fairly quickly. That is always the first thing we do when moving to a new country: get the basic paperwork and legal stuff out of the way. Then you can concentrate on the everyday living issues.

What has been happening to us in a year? Many things. Lots of new experiences. Some good and some not so good. Let’s deal with the “not so good” first and get that out of the way.

We survived our first winter. For us it was hard not having central heating. The apartment is very cold and damp. Our bedroom ceiling turned black. So we bleached it, bought a dehumidifier and continue to battle the humidity. The windows are opened, when it’s not blowing a gale, to air the place out. Then I have to get my hot water bottle and put on several layers of clothes to keep warm. Sometimes we even go for a drive in the car with the heater up high to get warm! The gas fire does not heat the apartment and causes more humidity. It only provides warmth if you’re standing right in front of it. The cost of electricity is a bit too high for us to use the heat on the air conditioners. So we are now into our second winter and, to be honest, I’m not looking forward to it. Going out for a walk at midday helps if it’s sunny.

Of course when you go for a walk, you have to look down most of the time. Why, you ask? Dog poop, trash and lumps of wet limestone dust. We always have a wet rag to wipe our feet when coming in from outside and change into bare feet, or slippers when it’s cold.

Our first experience of living in an apartment – well, it’s really a duplex penthouse – is taking much time to get used to. I’m not sure if we ever will get used to it. There is no privacy, with windows closed or open, every little sound transfers and echoes throughout. Moving of furniture. Rattling of pots, pans and cutlery. Kids squeaking and running up and down stairs. Dog barking. Not to mention the bathroom noises. Well, we won’t go there.

Then there is the new building. Six months after we moved in to the apartment they started the hammer drill digging a big hole, right opposite, for a new block of apartments. That went on for nearly three months, and then it was the tower cranes starting at around six-thirty or seven in the morning. Dust and noise. So the search is on for quieter living quarters.

Six months of searching has paid off. This new (well, not “new”, eight years old) penthouse was meant for us. Our estate agent told us it had come on the market the previous day – would we like to take a look? We both knew as soon as we walked in! Beautiful views from both the front and back balconies. Sea, hills, St Paul’s Island, Gozo, sunrise and sunsets. Comfortable furniture, ceiling fans in bedrooms, fly screens, double glazing, easy to keep warm and cool, lift, garage to name but a few of the features. So much more quiet and peaceful as well; we plan to stay here a while.

Right, now to why we love it and intend to stay, at least for the time being. Who knows what the future may bring?

Summer was great. We love the heat. Did not find it too hot or humid. Enjoyed long walks and the other half spent lots of time sailing his little Sunfish sailing boat. Lots of swimming and beach picnics. Winter or summer, the theatre, concerts, fiestas and fireworks are wonderful. We enjoyed many. Some were “free” with a little donation, others you pay (but most will give a senior discount).

There is so much to do and see. If anyone says they are bored, I think they must be boring! Many a time on our walks we have turned a corner and seen something of interest, different or strange.

One time I saw a huge pig in the road. His master was calming him as he had leaped out of the back of the truck. Along comes a fork-lift from a nearby construction site and up goes piggy back into the truck!

We can be sitting on the balcony watching the world go by and here comes a man taking a little pony for a walk. Or driving around the coast and there’s a horse in the sea taking a bath. A lady is on the phone across several allotments, pacing backwards and forwards, waving her hands and talking so loudly that if we understood Maltese, we would have heard every word.

We have heard others say that they find the Maltese rude and unfriendly. We have not had that experience with any Maltese. Yes, they like to talk loudly and many have no concept of personal body space (like standing really close and pushing to get on the bus… but the tourists are the worst for shoving you aside to get on a bus!). No, we love the Maltese people and the Islands. I think I can say that pretty well all of our experiences have been positive; they put themselves out to be helpful, kind, with a smile and always a little word of advice. I’m sure it comes down to attitude and how one presents one’s self to the people of your host country. Because we are guests in someone’s home!

12 Responses to “Trials and tribulations of moving to Malta: 4”

  1. Brian Mulrooney

    A nice piece, however it took me a while to work out that you were referring to another Central American country (maybe Im reading too fast!!?) and without naming Panama until later, I was imagining Costa Rica, which although Ive never been, was on my list of potential beautiful places to live whilst on this planet… guess Central America isnt so great after all, sounds very 3rd world! I agree with you language is a super important factor. (Ive lived in Holland/Quebec and now the Baltics) My reason for wanting to relocate to Malta is at present Im in this frozen tundra where there is still snow on the ground now! (April 11th) it has been sub zero since November and cold since September.. in January it got as low as -30deg, so you want to experience walking to the post soviet shops in that? this place is in fact “cold”.

    I think I would be swimming in Malta regardless of the temperature 🙂 at least the sea doesnt freeze over!! I was in Malta in 2006 and absolutely loved it.. it was pre-Euro & everything was inexpensive, -not sure about now? I can imagine this wierd experiment (the EURO) has bumped up prices since 2006…anyway the food was delicious and fresh (superb fish) people were super accomodating and helpful, but the main observation was how happy everyone seemed, a great place for kids…my present residency’s soviet legacy combined with cold Finnic roots means people “never” greet each other openly and sincerely in public, and are seemingly afraid to approach strangers, so on an emotional level this place has little to offer and you have 3 to 4 months humane weather per year, so Im looking to abandon ship.

    I hope you manage to get a decent heating system sorted for the winter (maybe solar systems are a good idea for Malta?) and thanks for a nice read..

  2. Dee

    Sorry for the confusion Brian. It is a continuation of 3 previous parts. But thanks for you comments. Good luck with your move to Malta. Yes, you probably will notice a difference in prices. And yes, solar systems are a good idea. Maybe a little expensive at the outset, but believe you get a break with the government.
    The Malta forum has a huge amount of information and many helpful people to answer lots of questions!

  3. Ken

    Loved these articles and it nice to see your all finally settled in.

    We (my wife Suan and me) are planning to move to Malta in the not to distant future and have found your articles very helpful in outlinging potential pitfalls and all the negatives and positives.

    We are coming to Malta in June with friends for a holiday or as I like to tell the wife ‘it’s a recce’ to get a feel of the things, have a number of potential places to live to give the once over etc.

    Can’t wait..

    Incidently where did you finally settle down?

  4. Dee

    Hi Ken & Susan,
    Sounds like you’re doing the right thing…research and ‘look see’ for your self. Hope you have a good trip in June.
    We’re settled in Malta…for the moment. Who knows, we may get ‘itchy feet’ in a few years!

  5. Alan

    Hi Dee,

    It sounds as though you have made the right choice in moving to Malta.

    My partner and I are also moving to Malta in August, we have rented an apartment for six months, a “suck it and see” type of thing.

    You mentioned in your blog about driving licences, medical matters, senior bus passes but didn’t really explain the procedures. I would appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction to obtaining these things.

    For instance, you mentioned having to see an accountant to obtain the bus passes?

    I hope that all is going well for you still – keep the blogs coming.

    Alan and Pam,

  6. Dee

    Hi Alan & Pam,
    Many thanks for reading and your comment. Yes, everything is going great for us, we are here for a while and enjoying life! Perhaps you could email me and we could meet when you’re here. Easier to give you all the info on how we did things.
    Where are you coming from? As it makes a difference.

  7. Sheila Ricketts

    Hi Dee i so enjoyed reading your story, i was wondering if you could point me in the right direction too, i am a single 39 year old woman who wants to relocate to Malta from the UK, How do you think i would fit in there? I am a bit apprehensive as i would be alone, do you think i would easily make friends and get a job? I am not sure of the job situation in Malta and need all the advice you can give me. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Many Kind Regards.
    Sheila x

  8. Dee/Marjo

    Hi Sheila, Many thanks for reading and Happy New Year!
    Well, not sure how I can help. We are ‘older’ and retired. But I do know several single women, not working, who really enjoy the life in Malta. They feel safe, can function very well on their own, and have reasonable social lives. I believe it is becoming a little more difficult to find work if you do not have another language…some places (I hear) require some Maltese. Reading this site and others such as should help and put in contact with people.
    I wish you good luck!

  9. Sheila Ricketts

    Hi Dee/Marjo
    Thank you for your reply i have registered with Internations to see if that will help me. I have been applying for job vacancies from England but no look yet, i am thinking maybe i should move to Malta first lol, typical me doing it the wrong way round. If any more of your readers can help me out regarding employment opportunities or accommodation i would be very grateful. I am glad you like it in Malta, i have been four times now and i do love it there, i just wish i could get a little apartment and job,my life i think would be more happier than in England i am afraid to say. Thank you for your advice, and Have a happy new year x

  10. Dee/Marjo

    You are welcome Sheila. Happy New Year to you! I will certainly send any further information that may be of help. Good luck!

  11. Maggie

    Where are you living in Malta and do you consider it a good place to be? We’re thinking of spending our winters there and we’ve read so many times that houses/apartments can be cold. Are there any new-builds that have adequate insulation/heating that you know of? We are a retired couple that hoped to spend every winter in Spain but the corruption and the ever-increasing new ways that the Government are trying to get money out of expats has put us off!

  12. sbo

    Thanks for the interesting article. Am I right in thinking you have a Malta forum too? I will need to check it out.

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