What bubble of Maltese society do you belong to?

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This is a non-serious yet quite realistic scope of Maltese society. Choose the bubble that ticks most boxes for you and read the description at the bottom of the page :). Please remember to laugh and not to take it all seriously.

Oo. Bubble 1 .oO

Political party: Labour/Nationalist.

Religion: Believer.

Interests: cars, family, fashion, local TV programmes, feast and other loud events, pop-music (preferably loud)

Attitude to immigrants/refugees: send them home!

Do you like Valletta City Gate project? Le ta.

How accepting you are of new bubble members? Jien naf!

Places to hang out: social media, bars, Paceville, Café del Mar.

How you see other bubbles: Mhux Maltin ta veru!

How other bubbles see you: try not to have much in common.

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Oo. Bubble 2 .oO

Political party: Nationalist.

Religion: Agnostic/Believer

Interests: international politics, British/French literature, travels, fine dining (basically, everything what excludes interests of bubble 1).

Attitude to immigrants/refugees: not so much in favour but you keep it to yourself

Do you like Valletta City Gate project? Yes, about time we get a fine example of contemporary architecture.

How accepting you are of new bubble members? Only if they are born in the same bubble.

Places to hang out: art events, receptions, boutique launches, fine restaurants.

How you see other bubbles: plebs and peasants.

How other bubbles see you: uppers class snobs.

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Oo. Bubble 3 .oO

Political party: floating voter/Alternattiva Democratica

Religion: Never!

Interests: blaming religion for all world’s disasters, astronomy, non-fiction or comic books, action movies or true stories, vintage rock music (all wrapped in “Science will save the world!”).

Attitude to immigrants/refugees: Generally favourable. If not, you still pretend it’s favourable.

Do you like Valletta City Gate project? Never, it is ugly!

How accepting you are of new bubble members? If they are ready to bitch about church, they are very welcome!

Places to hang out: mostly in front of PC, trying to solve world’s problems by arguing with idiots on social networks.

How you see other bubbles: morons!

How other bubbles see you: with caution.

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Oo. Bubble 4 .oO

Political party: Alternattiva Democratica

Religion: Not particularly but Buddha sounds like a nice guy.

Interests: Environment, human rights, green politics, organic/vegetarian/vegan food, meditation, a joint once in a while.

Attitude to immigrants/refugees: Very favourable! The world is one and we need to help less fortunate ones!

Do you like Valletta City Gate project? Generally yes, but we need more open and green spaces.

How accepting you are of new bubble members? They are welcome; we need more like-minders.

Places to hang out: Gugar, Juuls, Happy Days, reggae parties, indie film, literature and ethnic festivals.

How you see other bubbles: ignorant plebs and slaves of capitalism.

How other bubbles see you: annoying hippies.

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Oo. Bubble 5 .oO

Political party: Alternattiva Democratica

Religion: No.

Interests: Visual and performance art, architecture, arthouse films, smart TV series, personally styled clothes, geek books and other stuff that makes no sense to other bubbles.

Attitude to immigrants/refugees: Favourable.

Do you like Valletta City Gate project? Very much so.

How accepting you are of new bubble members? Generally accepting but let’s keep the number low: we feel more special being a minority.

Places to hang out: Gugar, St. James Cavalier, Blitz, I’Ingliz bar, indie film, literature and ethnic festivals.

How you see other bubbles: uncultured shallow plebs with no sense of aesthetics.

How other bubbles see you: deny your existence.

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Oo. Bubble 6 .oO

Political party: Liberal something.

Religion: No, but Krishna sounds cool.

Interests: LIFE! Good music, good entertainment, good company, diving, climbing, adventures.

Attitude to immigrants/refugees: Favourable.

Do you like Valletta City Gate project? Yeah, nice.

How accepting you are of new bubble members? Our bubble sustains on new members.

Places to hang out: St. Julians, Paceville, boat parties, Café del Mar, live music concerts.

How you see other bubbles: know nothing about them. If they aren’t with us, they must be boring.

How other bubbles see you: unaware of your existence.

 

Bubble 1:

Congratulations! You belong to the most numerous bubble of “Typical Maltese” (or a “Typical Gozitan”) whatever it means :). Your preferences are main-stream to the bone. Regardless of your educational level, you care little about such useless things as classic literature, philosophy, art and other cultural aspects (or, in short, areas that are not connected to your money-earning routine).

Bubble 2:

Congratulations! You are so-called “Tal-pepe”, a well-mannered individual, familiar with dining etiquette, often mistaken for a snob. You strive not to mix with Bubble 1 and even speak Maltese with English accent to scare them off. With your good education, good taste and style, family traditions and high status, you make sure others understand they can’t imagine they are your equal.

Bubble 3:

Congratulations! Most likely, you are a member of Malta Humanist Association. You see yourself as hope and future of the Maltese nation. With all your devotion to humanism, science and politics you lack awareness and appreciation of art in all its forms and ways. If something is not linked to Dawkins, Hitchens, Sagan or another scientific dude, then it’s worthless rubbish (exception made for superheroes, they are cool!).

Bubble 4:

Congratulations! You are an environmental activist. Your bubble is pretty much international. You are a politically aware, thinking and socially responsible individual which hopes (and works for) to make the world a better and fairer place. Most likely, you are a member of an environmental NGO. Others see you as a weirdo and a dreamer, and for that reason you have no other choice but to stick to your bubble.

Bubble 5:

Congratulations! Together with bubble 4, you belong to the minority of thoughtful individuals. You are artistic or have a deep appreciation and understanding of art (also, you might have none of these but just want to hang around cool people). You and other bubble members are not so easily approachable what makes it rather difficult to penetrate into your bubble.

Bubble 6:

Congratulations! Most likely, you are a foreigner or a rare example of Maltese who do not keep to bubbles, do not care for ideology and do not hold to roots. You live somewhere around Sliema/St. Julians/Gzira/Msida, love life, dedicate some time (but not a lot) to thinking and ready to leave Malta in a minute if a better opportunity crops up.

Didn’t find your bubble in this scope? Define it yourself 🙂

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Norway: a trip to the Elven Land

Whether you appreciate the beauty of northern nature or not, one thing is certain: those mountains, waterfalls and fjords cannot leave you untransformed. Secondly, if you do admire blonds, you might not even notice the landscapes.

After a few years in Malta, two weeks in Norway felt like an antidote to that Mediterranean bustle I had become part of. First in the chain of discoveries came the air filled with silence. First time in my life I experienced silence pouring into my ears, expanding there and filling me up. That incredible feeling when silence is loud. Even in a city like Bergen the loudest sounds were the seagulls’ screams. The culture that treats silence with respect deserves respect in return.

Reflections in the Oslo Opera House
Next discovery turned out to be the necessity to appreciate rain. “There is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothes” Norwegians say yet, for the first few days, the saying failed to provide consolation. Instead, the saying should state “No weather is bad enough not to have an ice-cream” as, despite the chill and rain, many Norwegians enjoyed eating ice-cream outdoors. Rainy days soon taught me how to appreciate quick sunny moments. “One shot of a clear blue sky” and the world immediately fills up with joy. Together with that came a discovery of new light and colours. In sunshine, the colours of the fjords, the fields and the pretty Norwegian houses looked so bright and pure, as if they were painted acrylic on a broad canvas.

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Aesthetics of Norwegian architecture deserves to be mentioned separately. Be it Tjuvholmen in Oslo, art-nouveau buildings in Alesund or traditional colourful wooden houses in Stavanger and Bergen, they all emit the ambiance of tranquility and freshness. Or should I just say they make you feel incredibly cozy? You enter a pretty coffee shop to seek escape from rain and its interior embraces you with emotional warmth – så koselig!

Next we learnt how deceiving the distances in Norway are. What looks “quite close, just the opposite side of the fjord” takes hours to drive to (along the most beautiful coastline). And again, together with this discovery came the feeling of remoteness and solitariness in this big world – a feeling rather satisfying than frustrating. Yet there still was a sense of connection too, owed to the ferries linking all the remote areas scattered around the fjords. Permanently on the move between the shores, they lace the isolated parts into one, just like a needle sews a dress from pieces of  fabric.

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Yet the most memorable discovery was still to come. In Trollstigen it found me staring in disbelief at the picturesque scenery dominated by waterfalls, mountains and green fields. The light was changing by the minute, from greyish to pure bright, drawing rainbows over the waterfalls. It was then I realized how tiny all of us, individual human beings, were on the scale of that, almost metaphoric, Elven land around us. The splendor of Trollstigen, Geiranger and other fjords truly puts you down to scale, it makes you feel your own insignificance and leaves you a role no other than of an observer.

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Can you spot the two human figures?

Rather a reconfirmation than a discovery was spotting Norwegian eccentricities. Bergen was full of eccentricities that could be rather sensed than seen. Sharp graffiti, peculiar zebra crossing signs, funny and clever disclaimers signified strong presence of good sense of humour.

IMG_3173-edt-selBanality to say, I always believed two factors make a country worth visiting: its appreciation for art and its people. The trip to Norway did not come spontaneously either. It has been a few years since I learnt about Janteloven, the Scandinavian set of rules (Google it!) which encourages such concepts as equality, modesty and “good enough”. Many say it deprives talented individuals a chance to be praised for their talents but, on the other hand, it is such a powerful opposition to the wide-spread North-American idea of “compete, win and show them you’re the best!”. Norwegian nature itself encourages humility.

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A trip to Norway could be a cure for anyone suffering from an inflated ego syndrome. You will suddenly realise that your selfie backdrop is much more outstanding than your own face (or any other body part). It will put you down to scale. And if this won’t help, the amount of beauties of both genders will inevitably make you question whether your own looks really are as good as you used to imagine :).

P.S. Sounds too sugary? Well, to balance it a little, I can also add that yes, Norway is a very expensive country, the variety of food (especially vegetarian) is not great and alcohol is mega expensive. But all of this is insignificant compared to the magic of the place.

Below you will find a selection of photos taken during the trip Oslo-Stavanger-Bergen – Geiranger (by Hurtigruten) – exploring Møre og Romsdal region while based in Vik, Tomrefjord – Alnes – Alesund – Oslo.

Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo at the Astrup Fearney Museum

Begren eccentricities Bergen eccentricities
A cute cafeteria in Stavanger IMG_3566-edt-sel IMG_3421-sel-edt

at Prejkestolen Alone with nature

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new Rødven church Alnes

Geiranger reflections on the ferry

Trollstigen Geirangerfjord