Monday, October 21, 2013

Settling into Malta... Finding a "Home"

Yesterday marked a week that we've been in Malta. We've been hitting the pavement hard, seeing houses & apartments throughout the area from the embassy east to the sea. While apartments are luring, with their rocky, turquoise views... all so breathtaking... in good conscious, we chose a country home instead. The fear of two daring girls exploring a high rise balcony was too much. And after 2 years of being a bit "cooped" up in our Dhaka apartment, we needed to spread our wings and enjoy some of our own outdoor space. 

Today GSO/FM (the embassy handy dandies) took a tour of the house, looking for any electrical or safety issues. It received a glowing review, only needing a security fence in front of the pool (yes, I said POOL... yippee) and some deterents around the balcony railings. So in about 10 days, we hope to be out of our temporary hostel hotel, away from the laundry hanging, poor water pressure, noisy streets and hard single beds (well, a "full" bed of two singles pushed together in our room), and on to start "living" our next two years in Malta.
(The office, "wine cellar" door, kitchen and dining areas.)
The house is in a small village between the ocean and embassy, a short 5 minutes to Ceiba's new school & about 10-15 minutes for Chris to work. Part of it was an old stable; the owner gently built around its history, staying true in design and carefully decorating. The stone is amazing, and it feels like a castle in places (especially the master bedroom). It's a quiet place, as when we went the other night to see the house in the night (wanted to see if it was brightly lit and quiet), we heard nothing but the crickets outside. Imagine we will need the drone of fans for a while, until we remember the quiet nights of our old woods home in Illinois. And I'm sure the neighbors will know the girls first names and some colorful vocabulary from hearing our discipline echo down the narrow, stone streets.
(The 2 living rooms, door to guest bath/laundry, back patio and spiral to 2nd floor)
Cannot wait for our things to arrive, though our UAB (air freight) is here awaiting us already. Our HHE should be just a week behind our move in date, we anticipate. Most rentals in Malta come fully furnished and equipped, so we shouldn't miss a beat until our effects arrive. Hope our king bed fits through the door...
 (Guest bed with private balcony, girls' bedroom overlooking central patio with garden)
 We couldn't have found a better fit, and we hope no quirks come up later. But their taste is spot on with us, a bit quirky and eclectic. The garden area is picture perfect, and their attention to detail is lovely. We can't wait to borrow it and call it our own for a spell!
(Landing stairs to the "castley" master, upstairs bath)
**After note to you FS peeps or explanation to others, most Foreign Service housing is previously arranged and provided upon arrival... complete with some stellar furniture (sometimes a few years behind in style). A few areas remain LQA (Living Quarters Allowance), where you are allotted a budget to find and maintain your own housing. Sometimes this is a curse and sometimes a blessing. Malta utilities are high and most everything is imported, so you have to chose with your pocketbook and not your eyes. Hopefully we made a good choice, time will tell!

6 comments:

  1. Looks lovely. Where is it? We had a Malta tour as our first (LQA fo first tour officers is just mean). We ended up in Attard right down the road from the Ambassador Great location, awful landlord. Good luck to you!

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    1. Hi Lynne,
      We are in Gharghur (small village near Naxxar) and LOVE it! So far our landlords rock. They actually moved north for us to move here, to be closer to their kids. Could not love the house or our choice more, since most are in Sliema in flats. HHE comes this week, woo hoo!

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    2. Just poking around again. Loving your posts and the photos, they make me a bit nostalgic. Have you gone to the Botanical Gardens in Attard? They are nothing like an American botanical garden of course but the loveliest, greenest place when it gets all hot and dry. Your home looks splendid, and I can picture Ghargur ... a bunch of folks lived in Naxxar when I was there.

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  2. It looks AMZING! I can't wait to follow your time in Malta. It's a possibility for our next tour, and your photos make it look pretty enticing.

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