Just some things I’ve learned in the past three months:
1.) Trying to read an Arriva bus schedule will always be confusing. And the one time you don’t verify with the driver that you’re on the right bus going to the right place, you’ll end up being on the other side of the island at Golden Bay instead of class.
2.) When crossing the street, look right, not left.
3.) The drunk little girl you see in a Paceville club in high heels and a miniskirt that looks like she is fourteen years old… is fourteen years old. Good God.
4.) Remember to add important numbers to your new phone. Like your landlord’s. Preferably before you decide to accidentally lock yourself out of the apartment.
5.) When on the train from Verona to Venice at 5 a.m., no matter how tired you are, don’t put your feet up on the empty seats to sleep. An old lady will come smack your feel and yell at you in Italian.
6.) This is what you’ll get when you ask an Irish boy to do his best impression of a California girl (in an over-exaggerated, stereotypical, high-pitched, valley-girl voice): “I just like… surfing. Surfing and bitches.”
7.) This is what a Maltese man says to you after he guesses you’re from Los Angeles: “We say that if you want to sound like an LA girl, just talk with gum in your mouth.”
8.) Irish girls dig Drake too, and have no shame in rapping “I’m So Proud of You,” along to their iPods out loud (emphasis on loud) on the bus. Which is cool, but I’m sorry, the girl that did Nicki’s part was just awful.
9.) Don’t be sad that you got the stomach flu the morning of your booked Wicklow tour, causing you to miss the opportunity to see the Irish countryside like you’d always dreamed; it just means you have to go back.
10.) Don’t ever eat oysters again.
11.) The large windows of your apartment are perfect; for capturing sunlight when rays flood the room in the mornings, or for watching raindrops collide and lightning dance when it’s storming outside.
12.) When doing P90X in the apartment, make sure you’re far away from the overhead ceiling lamp during the “step into the catch + jump shot” move. You may be proud of your technically-sound shooting form and beautiful stroke, but you don’t look so beautiful when you crash into the lightbulb, it falls and shatters, and you’re fumbling around in the dark, sweaty and panting.
13.) Those previously mentioned large windows… amazing, yes… but remember to close the curtains when deemed necessary. Your neighbors already think you’re weird. Especially after the incident referenced above in number 12.
14.) Don’t stress so much over school. You WILL get through it, you always do.
15.) Getting lost is ok. And it usually tends to lead you to wonderful places you probably never would have found otherwise.
16.) That sound of running water… yeah, that’s the toilet. And no, it’s not supposed to do that.
17.) The Azure Window in Gozo at sunset, no matter how many times you’ve seen it before, will never fail to take your breath away.
18.) There is a time to be patient, and a time to speak up.
19.) Going to the Department of Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs is a million times worse than the DMV.
20.) Waking up at noon on days you don’t have class is not very conducive to Malta’s operating hours. The bank closes at noon. The post office closes at 12:45 p.m. (You’ll run, but you won’t make it.)
21.) That puddle of water in the bathroom… yeah that’s from that pipe coming from the toilet. Ok, it’s time to call the landlord.
22.) Warm milk could make your tummy feel better… if you weren’t lactose intolerant.
23.) Not sure if jay-walking is legal or not, everyone does it. But even if you’re at a cross walk, you’ll never have the right of way, in anyones’ minds. You’re scared to cross the street here, and you probably should be.
24.) Let your actions speak louder than your words and intentions. It is possible for you to make a difference if you have the will to do so. Let what you see and the opportunities you have been given drive you.
25.) Even if the service at the restaurant sucks, still leave an extra €2 for the two scoops of gelato that your waiter forgot to add to the bill. Good karma makes random appearances everywhere. Like in the form of the following day’s free bus ride awarded to you by the bus driver when you went to pay but realized you didn’t have enough change.
26.) That moment when you attempt to immerse yourself in Maltese culture and thus go for the whole kiss-on-both-cheeks greeting… while the receiver is simultaneously accommodating to the fact that you’re American, thus going for the hug… Yeah. Awkward.
27.) Your Maltese realtor was a jackass and screwed you out of $500. Your Maltese landlord is a sweetheart, is always friendly when you lock yourself out and need a spare, and rushes over to replace your lightbulb literally within five minutes of your phone call just so you can have good light to study. Don’t be so quick to stereotype. There are assholes in every country. The world is probably overpopulated with them, but there are nice people out there, too.
28.) For every drunk dude that cusses you out at the pub, telling you to go back to America, there’s an angel-faced (slightly drunk) Adele look-alike reapplying makeup in the bathroom, telling you how much she loves Americans (you included), America, and how her trip to San Jose, California was the best thing that ever happened to her.
29.) The sweet, middle-aged man in the burgundy pullover sweater that bought you and your sister a round of drinks at the Temple Bar reminded you what life is really about. He told you how he went from making 200,000 a year to 70,000. Then he told you that he and his wife — the love of his life of eight years who he married despite the fact that she was told she could never conceive — are expecting their first child. “The definition of utmost happiness, that’s me right now. I’ve never been more happy in my entire life.” Good things happen to good people. And money doesn’t matter.
30.) And lastly, don’t ever, ever forget this.
Life is so good.