As fragile as these times may be, I’ve found it hard to keep plans simple and risk-free. I’ve always said that each year has to include at least one big milestone I’m proud of – and the pandemic can’t get in the way of that. This had been a long time coming; I always thought I’d be packed and ready to move out at age eighteen. And I was, momentarily, before returning back home. Paris hadn’t worked out for me; or shall I say, to the naive mind of an eighteen year old with just about nothing in her bank account. And that impromptu decision – that adorable apartment with parquet flooring, marble fireplace and those Parisian windows you come across on Pinterest – cost me a life lesson and lots of time to get back on my feet. I moved back and in with my grandmother, in a three-bedroom apartment in Sliema, and somehow ended up there for three years. It was not the plan I had envisioned for myself, but it was the only realistic idea at the time. And then the pandemic happened, Malta’s rental prices were still booming, and financially it just did not seem feasible with very little understanding of how restrictions would continue to affect my work.
And then it somehow all came together – I came to terms with the fact that covid isn’t going anywhere, and the authorities still hope to rock back and forth between no restrictions and a lockdown; so waiting for the pandemic to improve before moving on with life just no longer looked like the way to go. There was also the fact that I lived with a vulnerable person, and that at age twenty-one, I hadn’t yet moved out – so here we are.
I actively hunted apartments for around two weeks, visiting one tiny spot in the heart of the capital after another. I had my heart set on Valletta; it really is the only area I could see myself living in for a stretch of time in Malta – mostly for its culture and architecture, the cute cafes and cosy wine bars, albeit unavailable at these times. But there was also the fact that apartments in Sliema and surrounding areas were overpriced, far too modernised and somehow always complemented by a neighbouring construction site. I also wanted to live close to where most of my work projects tend to unfold, and where many of my friends are based. Naturally, chasing old buildings reminiscent of a more tasteful time meant stumbling into one apartment after another with no elevator, sometimes unkempt staircases too – and my lovely chosen apartment also lacked a lift, which was probably worsened by the fact that I chose a top floor space and have now made a daily exercise routine out of those eight flights of stairs.
Still, moving here was one of the greatest decisions I’ve made – and I feel so fortunate to enjoy a terrace and rooftop in a lockdown. What a privilege it is, to bask over sea views and tan on a sunbed when there really is no place else to go. I’ve only added a few touches to the place so far; there’s much more to be done (I’m thinking fairy lights on my terrace and framed art on the walls next) but I wanted to share a few corners of the place here!