Not too long ago, actually a few days, a student by the name of Stephanie Spicer asked me if I could host a post for her on my blog. Naturally I obliged, and within a few days, I received this document below. And it set me thinking.. how brave are people who face such an upheaval in their lives? I think they are PLENTY brave, and reading her words will make you realise, too, how much home means… so here goes…
Hi. My name is Stephanie, and Chris was nice enough to let me write an article for his blog.
I am from America. Last summer I came to work at an English school in Malta, and have been living here ever since. People often ask me why I came here, why I chose Malta. It is a crazy story that I sometimes can’t believe myself.
Because my parents are English and German, several people had encouraged me to apply for a European passport. At first I was skeptical. I was in need of a place to go, but Europe seemed far away for a move, and anyway, I had always loved America.
But I began to see drastic changes happening in my country which made me rethink the wisdom of staying there. My résumé mirrored the downward spiral of the economy around me, and I knew that the longer I stayed, the poorer I would be, and if I had children, they would grow up with even less opportunities.
I applied for a German passport, and was able to get it much more easily than I had thought possible. Someone had told me Malta was a good place to live, so one Saturday, I applied to every English school in Malta that I could find on-line.
By Wednesday, I was asked for a Skype interview. On Thursday I had an offer of employment, on Friday I handed in my notice at my job, on Saturday bought my plane ticket, and two weeks later I was on a plane to Malta!
Everything happened so fast that I almost didn’t believe it was real. I didn’t experience culture shock per se—I had been to Europe before, and this wasn’t so different to other places I’d been.
The biggest struggle I had was inside myself.
I had always lived with my family, and learning to live alone, I found, was more than just logistics. It was dealing with such demons as loneliness and silence. I made friends. I enjoyed my job. I loved all the treasures Malta had to discover. But still I sometimes felt so alone and stranded that I wondered why I’d come.
One of the students from the school, with whom I shared housing for a time, was facing a similar dilemma. She was moving to a new city in Germany, away from her family, where it was “cosy.” She said a friend had told her, “You need to make yourself a cosy place in Berlin.”
I came to realise this as well. It surprised me to learn that it was only when things stopped being exciting, and became normal, did I start to feel at home in my new place. I had always loved adventure and discovery, but sometimes, it seems, coming home means little more than a ceasing to strive, a coming to rest….