Familiarizing the Unfamiliar

When I first got to Malta, I was unsure how I would get around. ‘Public transport,’ I assumed, because that’s what I did in Switzerland. But there were many things that I found weird or negative about Maltese public transport that made it difficult for me to use. Not all the stops were listed on the bus timetables – how was I supposed to know which bus went where I needed to go? The arrival times were wrong at the bus stop, on Google maps, and on the bus’s own app. This made bus transfers virtually impossible to calculate into travelling time, since I didn’t know if I’d be waiting for 10 or for 50 minutes. Also, the buses were often late, especially in the warmer months when traffic was worst due to the number of tourists.

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What is Maltese anyway?

X’jismek? Jisimni Kaylena. ([ʃjɪsmək]? [Jɪsɪmni] Kaylena.) “What do you call yourself? I call myself Kaylena.” As soon as I was accepted into the University of Malta, I decided I’d learn Maltese. I’m Maltese myself, but only visited Malta once when I was 15. Before this exchange, I knew little of my Maltese heritage. Language seemed like a good place to start, since it’s an integral part of culture and heritage. As I want to be a writer, language is also an integral part of who I am.

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