A bit over a week ago I celebrated my birthday in the presence of my dear sister and two good mates from Lowlands Country. My birthday and the weekend that followed was graced with lovely weather and I have been able to wear my flip flops, which was fabulously brilliant. I’ve entered a new decade, which feels both weird and promising. Weird because in a few years time I will be middle-aged, which totally smells of old people and that can’t possibly be me as I remain to be a five-year-old at heart. It’s also promising, because I appreciate the experiences I’ve had and the ‘wisdom’ I’ve gained throughout the decades and the happening that is called life just seems a far more chilled affair compared to only 10 years or so ago.
To pay tribute to my inner five-year-old, who just wants to learn and discover new things, I recently started taking driving lessons. Before my first lessons I’d never been behind a wheel in my life. Since everyone and his dog seems to know how to drive some assumed I don’t have my driving licence out of principle, that I am against motorised vehicles or something, which wouldn’t be terribly practical. I never learnt how to drive previously, because I never saw the need for it and always found it rather expensive. As the public transport network in Malta is not as extensive and reliable as in London Town and cycling is just not an option, at least not for me, and the cost of driving lessons here in Malta is a bloody laugh compared to UK prices, I’m totally giving it a go.
Despite a celebratory weekend last week and several outings during the week I had a strong urge to leave the house and leave my ‘hood’. So I took the ferry across the water to Valletta to feed myself some culture. Valletta is the very small, very pretty and rather hilly capital of the island state fuelled with history and culture. If one ‘doesn’t do culture’ there is sufficient opportunity for shopping and wining and dining. Yet, apparently it’s not the place to be for a raving night out.
After having a little wander I went to Teatru Manoel, which is the third oldest theatre in Europe with a little museum attached to it. The exhibition is small and very well set-up and the audio guide that is included in the ticket price is highly informative. For the next course on the culture menu I walked to the National Museum of Archeology, which is housed in an impressive building in one of Valletta’s main shopping street. Although there are many impressive archeological findings as Malta has been inhabited since the 6th millenium BCE, I was rather underwhelmed by the exhibition. Especially the exhibition on the ground floor seemed dusty, unimaginative and tame. And tameness has founds its place in my regard towards Malta. I’ve been here for a few months now and although there is still an awful lot for me to discover, the newness of the Malta move has worn off. It’s also winter and despite enjoyable winter sunshine there is far less action to be had. Despite having entered a new decade and appreciating the chilledness in life I am, and hopefully never will be, ready for tameness.
This Rock has everything going for it. Besides the exotic aridness, it has the sea, it’s bursting with history, there is plenty of stuff to do like diving, sailing, rock climbing or going on jeep safari and the place is uniquely both provincial as well as very international. And yet, I miss the edge. The edge that says ‘underbelly’, that says innovation, wackiness and differentness. The edge that says unconventionalism and excitement. I’ve come across a fair amount of people who are geeks and unconventionals in their own right. Yet, they seem entities of their own on a Rock of tameness.
As I’m entering a new decade and continue to be the curious, five-years-old-at-heart wanna-be wonder woman of the world aiming to advance in that self-realisation project called life, I am going for the edge. As middle-groundness and moderation might be wise, extremities are more interesting. Ruggedness or sharpness might be less pretty or even painful, it might also be more rewarding if we see and get through it. If something doesn’t seem visible, that doesn’t mean it is not there. So while continuing to let my curious inner five year old reign free, I’m going for the edge. And if that edge is indeed too polished for my liking, I can always roughen things up. I think five-year olds have no problems with that either.