Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Malta, etc.
I am Bibiche, a Dutch girl living in Malta. I am a creative copywriter, working freelance in the online gaming industry. Malta is known for its attractive tax, that's why many gaming companies are based here and many retired people from the UK settle in Malta. I migrated in April 2011 because my ex-boyfriend is a poker player and we were ready for an adventure. So living in a relaxed sunny place with low taxes, it couldn't be better right?
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experience?
I started writing when I was six years old and it never stopped. The first little notes were to my mom and dad, later on articles for the school paper and the local sports paper appeared. After finishing my copywriting course I didn't have an outlet so I created this little space on the internet. On this personal page I started sharing experiences about living abroad to share with my family and friends. So it basically started as diary and place where I could be busy with my other passion: fashion. After a couple of months I checked my blog with Google Analytics and saw the number of countries who visited my blog. It made me aware it wasn't only family and friends who visited my blog. I received personal messages of expats planning to move to Malta with questions or blogpost request and the same but fashion related. B-BICHE is a growing personal lifestyle blog where I share my point of view when it comes to fashion and living as an expat in Malta.
Do you have any favourite blog entries of yours?
I have many, but you can see my favourite in question 6 where I talk about my funny anecdotes.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Malta differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
My life in Malta compared to the life I lived in the Netherlands is much more relaxed. I think that's why I didn't get in trouble by getting used to the new circumstances. How to get in trouble to adjust to a laid-back country? Time stands still and the most important thing is today. There are not many outside influences, people enjoy simple things in life. They are close with family and religion is really important to them.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Malta? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I am a very chaotic and reckless person, so preparations were never made when I moved to Malta. But to be honest, looking back there is nothing I would have changed. Maybe I would have taken some English lessons since my English was poor so I had to fight the language barrier since I love meeting people.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Which tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Malta?
My tip has five keywords:
- B-RELAX and don't get upset about crazy reckless drivers on the road. There are no rules, so nothing to break. Embrace it and go with the flow! Also, don´t get upset about bad service in shops and restaurant. They get minimum paid, would you run for 4 euro per hour? And don´t get upset about the many rocky beaches. It's adventurous, not that busy and less of a sandy mess!
- B-LAIDBACK and don't get upset when there is a no-show of people who were supposed to fix your car, laundry machine, internet connection. Matter of priorities, when you realise you are (again) hangover after a sunny terrace hopping day. You could have been in your home country freezing and drinking tea in a boring cafe.
- B-PATIENT and don't get upset in that never-ending queue at the bank, hospital or shopping mall. It's just not organised. Or when that bus is not on time. Wake up. You're living in the Mediterranean, everything goes a bit more slowly. And when the bus driver stops for a pastizzi snack in the middle of the road and lets you wait. Give the man a break, he's hungry.
- B-CREATIVE and don't get upset when you can't find a nice take away meal. Be creative and go to a vegetable stand. Don´t get upset when you get bored because the island is 'too small'. Be creative and set up a beach BBQ and enjoy the simple life. Don´t get upset when your place is freezing cold and there is no central heating. The houses are built of lime stone to keep you cool in summer so be creative and buy a radiator plus onesie.
- B-SMILING and don't get upset when the bus driver is rude. He is grumpy because of crazy drivers and narrow streets; your smile makes his day nicer. When your ice cream melts on your designer jacket. The sun is out there for you, so smile and enjoy! And also when you stick on your leather sofa in summer with your sweaty ass. Switch on the AC and realise how blessed you are with that many sunny days a year. Smile and you'll have a life full of joy and happiness under the Mediterranean sun.
How is the expat community in Malta? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I am an easy-going girl, very open-minded and love people in general because I think every mind has something beautiful and interesting. So, on an island full of expats from all different countries with different cultures I made a cool group of friends. You meet expat people easily. On the beach, at a bar, at work or the gym. Everybody has their network and since we're all foreigner in a strange country you help each other out. After living here for 3 years I understood what a Maltese friend once said “You know people come and go, it's a gipsy lifestyle”. That makes me enjoy the moments more, because you never know when it ends. This might be the reason why some people find Maltese people a bit closed. They have had bittersweet experiences after seeing their expat friends leaving the island.
How would you summarise your expat life in Malta in a single, catchy sentence?
One big never ending holiday.