Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Malta or lunch ?

Couldn’t quite decide which to blog so never mind, it will have to be both.

Today was the day that my housemate and I had picked to finally do something about our promise to ourselves.  Backing up: a couple of years ago when I had been through 9 years of visiting my mother twice a year, then having her in a private home for two and a half, then facing her death, followed a month later by my younger sister’s cancer diagnosis; when my housemate had also had many a crisis with her mom, finally losing her as well, the thing that kept us both going was our promise to ourselves that “when this is all over” we would go somewhere for a few days, not to travel, sight see or do anything in particular, but simply to rest. It needed to be a place where we wouldn’t experience jet lag, where it wouldn’t take us more than a half a day to access, and – most importantly – somewhere that neither of us had ever been! A tall order indeed and it took awhile before we chose the island of Malta. Thereafter, whenever things were particularly grim, we would whisper or sign off an e-mail with “Malta, Malta, Malta”. It became the mantra for “things will improve”. 

My sister passed away, my housemate met a man, there were more of our own crises, but a lot of good times as well: still Malta had never materialized and we were in danger of letting it go the way of many a good promise, until we set a date to do something about it – as well as an approximate time when we would both be free.

Today we finally took the step and entered my favorite travel agency: although none of the agents that I have used before were there, the one who greeted us was ever so helpful. She also was very good at determining the reason for our visit as well as “warning” us that the end of February and the beginning of March were very windy months on the island, that, although warmer than Switzerland at the same time, it was definitely not going to be a beach holiday. We looked at each other and answered: "just been through several days of the Tramontane", "see the bise still blowing outside" - then in unison: "it doesn't matter". Whereupon she proceeded to line up flights and a hotel – five star no less – at such reasonable prices that we booked on the spot.

It is actually going to happen!

That was pleasant happening number one.

Pleasant affair number two was lunch.  Now I love editing my housemates' books and have just finished yet another (is it #8, 9 or 10?) and would do so for absolutely nothing, but she insists that I get at least a good meal out of the deal. She and her husband had discovered a lovely restaurant across the border and my, oh my, what a find: from the “amuse bouche” (a starter meant to introduce the meal – always at the whim of the chef – and just as often more than excellent) to the first course where we both chose a crab millefeuille (napoleon) to the main, in my case a “quasi” or boneless leg of lamb and in her case a roasted duck, it was all perfect. Perfectly presented, perfectly spiced, a feast not only for the eyes but the palate: when I can I edit another novel?

And – a very rare thing – in both cases I forgot any of my cameras so there are only the mental pictures to remember these two amazing events.