The meaning of Love
by Umberto Facciolla
(San Severo, Italy)
The blue balconies
Here it is: my story, my very own Malta experience. If I were to choose a tagline for this it would have to be, "Anything can happen!".
It was my last year of University when I started looking for a new challenge, and was lucky to get the opportunity to finish my studies in Malta thanks to the Erasmus Course. Apart from its geographical position, I knew little else about the island, so my thirst for discovering something new and different spurred me to say yes to Malta.
The minute I set foot on Maltese ground, I was filled with a positive feeling. Something in the air whispered to me that the experience was going to be worth doing.
Having come here alone with limited information about the country, it was out of pure luck that I met a generous local, who gave me a lift to the hostel where I was going to stay for a week. I remember thinking to myself, “This is too good to be true. Where else would a complete stranger offer you a lift straight to your hotel without expecting anything in return?”
On my first night at the hostel I realised how bad my English was.
However, being the only Italian hanging out with a group of Germans, French, Belgians and Russians was very entertaining, as we shared all the differences between our cultures.
Then came the typical Paceville night out, where meeting new people and having fun is right there waiting for you. On the way back to the hostel, being Umberto, I lost my way easily from St Julians to Sliema, but thanks to the blue balconies I managed to recognize the hostel and get the much needed rest after having danced the night away.
This hostel soon turned into a home for a group of students, who like me, planned to stay for a whole semester. As a group we became strongly bound to the owner of the place, who was the main point of reference when it came to organising a party, a hopping bar evening and eating out at the "fenkata" restaurants.
But friendship is not the only inevitable thing to happen in Malta.
I realised that one had no choice but to fall in love with the beauties and traditions of the Island: the clear blue sea, the ancient history, the colourful "luzzu", drinking an ice-cold "Cisk" after a ricotta "Pastizz", interacting with the barefoot bus drivers, the fully-functional old cars in pristine condition, the bar in Valletta with the birds outside singing for the supporters, getting lost in Ta' Qali and hitchhiking back to Sliema, taking the ferry over to the sister island in the evening and coming back in the morning after partying...
On top of all this my destiny decided to throw something else at me.
On this wonderful island I discovered another beauty: My Maltese future wife.
I met her in the most crowded place in Malta after midnight: Paceville. I'd just stepped into this club when our eyes met. “Love at 1st sight”, that was the feeling. Exactly in that instant, I felt the need to walk up to her and ask her to dance. And I did; I extended my arm towards her. She took my hand. Then she said “Yes”... and in two days' time it is going to be a YES for life as we get married on this island.
This is what love has been for me since November 2005: Tiziana and Malta!