Monthly Archives: July 2012
The 2 ½ weeks long Malta Arts Festival followed by 3 days of The Malta Jazz Festival were high-points for Tony and me this month which was otherwise dominated by the oppressive summer heat. Something was happening everyday including theater, art exhibitions, dance, concerts, recitals, demonstrations in dramatic composition, and master classes in performance training and movement. We attended three events—the first was a dance performance titled Old Salt: (A) Portrait of Seamen, it was like a play without words. www.rubber-bodies.com
The evening program took place outside at the Grand Harbour, with twinkling harbor lights and boats gliding slowly by adding to the ambience. Tony and I sat and watched the beautiful and haunting story of four women left behind by their men who went to sea. The dancers wore masks and costumes, and there was a fish who was a messenger, bringing the women notes from the sea. At times, the fish actually got into the water! About 15 – 20 feet above the stage was a platform which was built to resemble the skeleton of a ship—the ship’s ribs—and on it played a string quartet. It was so beautiful.
(My next post will be about the concert and jazz festival we attended so stay tuned.)
Many of you probably do not know that I am a classical guitar student. I don’t talk about it much as I am a very shy musician with incredible stage fright, and I have always thought that if I tell people I play, they will ask me for a demo. So now that I’m out of the country, I think I’m safe mentioning it…
I played acoustic guitar when I was a teenager but sadly, I let it go during college as other interests arose. About a year and a half ago, I began taking lessons again—prompted by finding my long lost friend who was my music teacher at the time. After a few months of skype lessons with him, he suggested that I switch to classical guitar. He thought that classical was a better fit with my personality—as a shy musician, I’m not going out to clubs to play at, or looking for other musicians to jam with—and classical is beautiful played by itself. I bought a really nice guitar and have been studying for about 9 months now.
I love playing classical guitar! Even the first few pieces in my beginner’s guitar book are lovely.
Since retiring, I have immersed myself in my music studies and a good part of each day is dedicated to it. I now have 2 teachers—my friend who is instructing me in music theory and how to be a musician, and a local Maltese teacher who is teaching me classical guitar.
Music is my new ‘job’, and this is a job that I love!
Before we moved to Malta, we had read an article in International Living Magazine that stated that Malta was one of the top two countries in the world for best weather. (The other was Ethiopia but that seemed a bit extreme.) According to the article, the summers are warm and sunny (true), and the winters don’t get below 60°. Sounds perfect.
Well, last winter it was in the 50’s and rained almost every day, they are still talking about the horrible winter they had. Here’s hoping that next winter, which will be our first, will be better. The houses in Malta do not have central heating, we use big space heaters.
So about those “warm” summers…it’s been brutally hot, in the 90’s and very, very humid every day. The bright Mediterranean sun beats down for 14 hours a day and at night, the temperatures drop by a few degrees…maybe. It never rains between April and November so there is nothing to cool the air. The houses do not have air conditioning either although most people, including us, have air conditioning in the bedroom. It’s amazing, because every Maltese person I have spoken to hates the summer…and yet they won’t put in room air conditioners.
Malta is the only stop between Africa and Europe, so the desert winds blow straight to us. Since we live in the south of the island, we get that hot wind blowing into the house. But hey, at least it’s a breeze!
To avoid the hottest part of the day, most people get their chores done by 10am, then lounge around or sleep until 6pm and then go out in the evening. They even stay at the beach until 1am! Such a different lifestyle than we are used to.
The heat has really affected me, I’m having a bit of trouble acclimating to it as I’ve spent my life in air conditioned offices. It saps my energy completely, I don’t even have the desire to go to the beach. Seems like too much effort. I find I just want to sleep in that air conditioned bedroom.
However, I keep reminding myself that we traded this heat for no more snow ever again! I’m going to love the rest of the year!