A year ago a friend of a friend’s moved to Malta to shake up her career and move on from the family business. A month ago I decided to visit her for a mid-exam study break since Malta is a short flight from Milan (shorter, and cheaper, than going to Cape Town from Jozi).

It’s a very unique island almost stranded in the middle of the Med off the south coast of Italy. It boasts less than half a million people and that includes its thriving expatriate community, many of whom are wealthy software moguls and entrepreneurs building a thriving industry for Malta in gaming, casinos, investment banking and property.

It feels a little like the Middle East and Italy had a love child and then the British came along and sprinkled a few very English sensibilities on top. It’s yellow stone cities contrast its glittering modern apartment buildings, outshone only by the sparkling sapphire waters of the med lapping at the rocky beaches from all sides. Maltese, the language, sounds like Arabic and Italian peppered with a bunch of English words.

Lauryn and I spent lots of time socialising and shopping as two South African friends flung far from home are want to do. We drank cocktails and ate pasta and tuna steaks, looking out across the ocean, we attended a Maltese wedding and a mid-thirty-something birthday party and we drank Costa coffee and walked the paradise of promenades in Valletta, Mdina and Sliema.  I especially enjoyed the ferry ride from Valletta, the cultural capital of Europe so nominated for 2018, to Sliema, the trendy, modern suburb and shopping district of Malta where Lauryn lives.

In between our activities Lauryn went to work and I studied pool-side. The semester is now over and all my exams are finished which is very hard to believe! It’s gone by so fast…it’s clichéd because it’s so true.