People Watching From the Back Deck

Yesterday was as eventful as it can be, being that we are on a hard core lockdown for 14 days. The quarantine 14 day count does not officially begin until the first full day we are in Malta. This does not include the day we arrive. We were swimming in the pool yesterday when our gate bell rang. Scott and I looked at each other in surprise, we were not expecting company. It was a man and a woman who work for the government and they had a list with them. They were checking to make sure that we were abiding by the quarantine and home alone in our house. They had all four names on the list and needed to see all four of us and our passports. They were not at all rude. They were not in any uniform. It was very casual, yet professional.

We all got out of the pool and Scott gave them all of our passports to check the names and faces with. They never came into the gate of our house and only Scott went down near them. He wore his mask. He is better about remembering it inside the house when delivery people come than I am. I asked them if we were allowed to go for a walk around the neighborhood and they said no. They said we are not allowed past our own gates. I totally understand that and respect what they are doing. This was all expressly laid out in paper work that we had to sign when we were in the Netherlands before boarding Air Malta. They had a list of countries allowed through the boarders, and the US was clearly not one of those counties. We had extensive paper work from the government in Malta allowing us through the boarders. The last thing we want to do is get deported and lose everything we’ve been working for to be here.

This in no way felt like a violation of any rights. It felt like this country has their stuff together and follow through on their rules. It made me feel all the more safe in being here during a pandemic. I was so ready to leave the US, Georgia especially with the way that the numbers are so incredibly high. I fear every day for my mom and sister being there. They said they would be back a few more times during our lockdown and that we would need to clear one more covid test as well. I admire the countries ability to stand firm in keeping its people safe. I did not feel the same way of the governor of Georgia, that is for certain.

My people watching consists of the condos that back up to my house. I consider this my social time of sorts. I like to watch any time of the day and see what people are up to. I assume they too watch us while we swim in the pool. All in all, it’s a fair trade. There are four levels of balconies in each of the condo buildings. There are three sets of condos and each has the four distinct levels. Each evening someone is outside and at least one has been filled with group dinners. Looking at the balconies, Saturday night was a dinner that filled the whole deck with people, even little ones. They sat and ate and spoke in a different language and laughed and talked and drank deep into the late hours. I did not find this in any way a bother, but instead a fun people watching experience to see exactly how you think Europeans enjoy meals. For the record, it was everything I assumed about European meals. Down a few levels and to the building next door sat a man smoking his cigarettes and talking on his cell phone. Then up between the levels are towels and sheets and other items of laundry hanging on the lines to dry. Last night a woman and a man sat at their dining table out on their balcony with little lamps on. They seemed to be really enjoying eating together. This scene to me is a watered down version of being at the airport. Seeing people hugging and crying, kissing and laughing. I love to watch the faces of people light up in joy and it makes me sad to see the ones crying as they say goodbye. We saw a few of those on our trip this time.

I am enjoying listening to the different sounds that people make. One balcony has a little Cairin terrier dog who likes to come outside in the morning and announce their arrival. When Heidi gets here this week, this will become a community event. I plan to set up the video camera and hopefully capture the moment when our puppies arrive. They will be so excited to see us and I can’t wait to have them here. The house is much too quiet without them in it.

When it comes to laundry, the washing machines are very small. You wash maybe half the load we would do in the states. Then we all seem to have built in clothes lines to hang everything out to dry. Being in this heat, it takes less than 30 minutes for our clothes to dry. Yesterday was our first day at laundry. Scott bought my mom a new washing machine last year. It’s giant. It’s also not a stand up one. I bruise my ribs hanging over the top trying to reach all of the clothes to get out and into the dryer. This washing machine is stand up and down low and so small. The towels feel like brillo pads and not the soft feeling that we get in the states, either. Now, for those that do not know, dryer sheets are a huge source of cancer causing toxins even though they smell great. We stopped using dryer sheets many years ago. We use wool balls with the clothes in the dryer. The towels are still soft and smell good. Here, they feel rough and don’t really carry any distinct smell. The dryer lines are another thing that are too high up for me and will make putting the clothes up a challenge. Scott did them all yesterday but I will need the stool that I will have to use for the refrigerator out for the dryer lines as well. Being 4’11” here seems to be a bit of a challenge. The shower head comes off the hook. It’s also high up. It’s great for Scott who stands at 6’2” but for me, I have to struggle to put the shower head back onto the hook. The other day it slipped off and banged me in the head. Now I just leave it down on the ground. These are things that are not worth fighting over and there is always a short mans version of how to do things. I’m figuring out mine.

The sun seems to never go down. It’s merciless, really. I have white spots already showing themselves up and down my arms. I have a tan/burn everywhere. I don’t want to wear any of my clothes and need to buy dresses and lightweight materials that are easy to wear here and don’t add to the heat. I am the first one to say how much I love hot weather, and I still do, but dang. This is serious hot. It’s a different level of hot, but it also comes with a light breeze throughout the day which is both a relief and a disguise while your skin is burning. I have also begun the process of looking at driving schools around here. I think I’m going to sign up for a full school of teaching since we will have to take our drivers tests as if we’d never driven before. We must first pass the theory test and then a few weeks later pass the drivers test. Then our license will be conditional for 3 years and if we get points (12 to be exact) on driving offenses, the license is removed and we must begin again from scratch. If we are good at that three year mark, then our license will become permanent. I figure since the steering wheel is on the other side of the car and we have to drive on the opposite side of the road and the roads are insanely narrow and the drivers only use signs as suggestions, I need a drivers ed teacher to show me how it’s done. I am learning as I go and trying to line things up when our quarantine period is finished. From there, the photos and videos will not be of my house but of all over Malta.

6 Thoughts to “People Watching From the Back Deck”

  1. Stan Goldstein

    Really enjoying your posts. Can’t wait to see the video of the dogs arrivals. ❤️

    1. Hi Stan! Thank you! I’m planning to set up the camera and have it all ready when the driver comes into the gate. I have absolutely no idea when they will arrive. I just found out their flight leaves Wednesday at 11:00pm and they have a 5 hour layover in Germany. I can not even wait for them to get here!! Right now at this very moment, the pet courier has them with her at the vet for their final mandatory health exam that will give them their USDA pet health certificates and they have to be dewormed before getting on the plane so that is happening also right now. They must be so confused, but it will all be worth it when they see us at the end of all this.

    2. Sasha Wilson

      So exciting! Congratulations on this new chapter in your life. I was thinking about the laundry issue and remembered my grandmother didn’t own a dryer. She line dried everything. To soften certain fabrics and remove the stiffness she would iron each item. My mom said growing up they ironed everything but as she got older she only ironed select items. Loving your blog and pictures ❤️

      1. Wow Sasha, thank you! I can’t begin to imagine ironing all these clothes but it certainly makes sense that it would soften with that heat. I hadn’t even thought about that!

  2. Jan Marcussen

    Know the whole family will be thrilled to have the puppies arrive! Appreciate you posts. The comments about the laundry, fridge and freezer remind me of what I dealt with in Europe and Asia. Know you will figure out the best way to handle daily activities so just be patient with yourself in the process!

  3. Elke Hawkins

    The laundry thing? One of my chores growing up was hanging out the wash. The magic trick is … SHAKE! Shake the item, especially a towel, before you hang it on the line; then shake the item again when you take it off the line. SHAKE actually means you have to snap the towel or other items you’re hanging on the line. I’m sure you’ll pick up on the benefit of “shake & snap” quickly! 😉😁

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