We bounce around a lot and, in doing so, we’ve accumulated a wide variety of moving experiences. When we moved to Malta, we were cautiously optimistic about the opportunities before us. Ireland hadn’t gone so well. We’d been out of the water and away from the sunshine for too long. But I’m incredibly happy to report that so far, moving to Malta has been fabulous!
We’ve been here two weeks, and yet we already feel like this is home. Part of that feeling has been the weather; part has been the ease with which we’ve settled in. But the largest part of that has been the people we’ve met.
On Moving Overseas
Moving somewhere new can be emotionally and mentally draining. Sure, you might feel sore from lugging suitcases around during the physical move, but that quickly fades.
It’s the tasks that lay before you logistically that can feel overwhelming. Where do you find groceries? Where will you live? How do you open a bank account? What about residency? When can you get Internet hooked up at the new apartment??
The questions will never end. It’s how you’re able to deal with them that will determine your adjustment into a new life.
When we moved to Ireland, we had a good idea of what to expect. We had deep connections there, we had visited many times, and we had housing arranged before arrival. But there were still too many obstacles for us to be able to stay. In fact, it felt like we kept hitting brick walls every few days. It was frustrating and challenging. Ultimately, we decided that we had the option to leave, so we seized it.
Since we moved to Malta, we have experienced all open doors. We have been here only two weeks and yet we already have an awesome apartment, my Irish-Colombian already started working in diving again, we have both applied for our residency status, and we already have fantastic friends!
This move has fallen together so easily and seamlessly that we keep shaking our heads in amazement.
We Moved to Malta! (I knew nothing about Malta…)
Malta fascinates me. Every day, I see or experience something new that makes me pause. Life here is an unbelievable blend of everything.
Stunning natural beauty mixes with crowded concrete construction.
Conservative religious families chat on a balcony as scantily clad teenage tourists strut down the street below.
British-style pubs are next to kebab shops, which are next to quaint chapels, which are next to dive shops, which are next to some of the oldest structures on Earth.
English is spoken by everyone, but Maltese is absolutely everywhere. It sounds like a blend of Arabic and Italian, with many other linguistic influences dashed in as well.
Malta is a tiny island filled with everything from everywhere. So far, I am both flabbergasted and absolutely intrigued.
Adjusting to Expat Life in Malta
As an American passport holder, I’m able to come to Malta for 90 days, which is a perfect opportunity to check out the options and to see if this country is somewhere I’d like to stay longer.
I also have the added bonus of being the spouse of an EU citizen, which means we can live and work anywhere within the EU. However, every country has its own residence requirements, which must be adhered to diligently. We have just completed our residency application process, so I’ll provide plenty of details on that later.
Beyond the legalities involved with moving overseas, the most important aspect to adjusting to expat life is the community. At least, that’s how I feel.
If a place doesn’t feel welcoming or inviting, I have a hard time understanding the desire to live there. If the local community doesn’t seem friendly and open, it will definitely be a hard road ahead.
I also don’t think an expat should only interact with other expats. I absolutely advocate for connecting with other expats before arrival and immediately upon arrival to assist with your move. They’ve been in your shoes, while a local has not and would typically not know what you need to do.
However, if you plan to live in another country for a while but only interact with people from outside that country…what’s the point? I know certain places are work or military assignments where you have no choice in the location; I pity those expats who feel stuck or unwelcome in their new homes.
I am privileged to be able to choose my home. And when we arrived in Malta and began interacting with locals and expats, we felt immediately welcomed into the community from all sides.
That’s a feeling of home for me. I don’t need a house or certain amenities or brand names to feel like I’m home. I need people who smile and make eye contact. I need people who are interested and interesting.
So far, Malta feels like home. It’s the outstanding welcome we’ve received that has lifted our spirits and encouraged us to consider this move to be a long-term option. It’s the community in Malta that has welcomed us with open arms that makes this feel like such a wonderful move.
Here’s to finding another home to add to our many other homes around the world. Cheers!
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