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Love at second sight
I had not travelled alone for more than a decade. One day, I decided to go to Malta to study English and get some rest. I had been working hard at home during the last year and it was tiring. When I finished my fourth novel called Cyklistka in Czech (let’s say The Cyclist Girl) and it was finally published and we celebrated it with my friends, I flew to Malta. I had a simple plan: to study, to swim in the sea, to read, and to relax in cafés. I left my village in the middle of Brdy Mountains and found myself in a hot concrete jungle and noisy streets. Honestly, it wasn’t love at first sight.
I decided not to give up. I dressed up and went to the streets of Saint Julian’s to see the area. It took a few days but finally I had gone with the flow, and I enjoyed it throughout – even as an introvert. There are so many things you can do alone – watch a movie at the cinema, have a dinner at a restaurant, swim, read a book on a terrace of a nice café, do some sightseeing in beautiful Valletta, or go shopping. I did it all.
You might think that having dinner alone in the restaurant is weird. It is not. I too was afraid at the beginning. What will they think? Nothing bad! I brought a book with me, and it helped. It was Hemingway’s Moveable Feast, my favourite novel, and it was a great companion. I went to the first restaurant I saw that I had liked, and I was seated immediately. A waiter was nice and served me a tasty drink. I ordered a pizza margherita – and they made me a pizza in a shape of heart! I thought of it as a supportive gesture.
After a week I started feeling at home. I took private lessons at ESE (European School of English) and my teacher, David, was very nice. He has a great sense of humour. We talked and shared some stories. I was accommodated at the ESE Residence, and I was happy there. My classes started in the afternoons, so in the mornings I walked to the rocky beach at St. George’s Bay where I watched waves coming and the sun shining on these little ponds within the rocks. I loved that place! As I was walking, I passed by the same people every morning – an elderly man sitting outside his house, as well as a lady practicing yoga on her balcony. We smiled at each other.
And so it goes — even today. I am sitting in a café waiting for my lift to the airport as I am writing this. I swam in the morning and visited my favourite spot on the rocky beach to say goodbye
This is not a “goodbye” – actually, it’s a “see you later” because I want to come back.