Have you ever watched The Real World or Jersey Shore? Cause I haven’t. But from my understanding, they’re reality tv shows about a handful of young people all living in an apartment together and doing, well, life. There’s been a lot of talk about that type of thing around me lately, as that is exactly what my life has become. Minus being a nationally broadcasted reality tv show.
Have you ever wondered what happens when you throw a bunch of young people together in an apartment and watch what happens? That is, if you haven’t seen the previously mentioned shows. Cause I haven’t. But I now know the answer. Gather up six people, all college-aged, all graduate students in the same program, all from completely different places, backgrounds, experiences. All complete strangers. Put them in a small living space, and observe. Oh, but don’t forget, you’re in a foreign country. What happens?
Well, life. Happy life. Six strangers get along quite easily when they’re all stuck in a state of permanent bliss. Imagine the thrill of living on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean. Buying groceries, apartment hunting, learning our way around the city, purchasing bus passes, and essentially assimilating into life on the island as best as possible has taken up a lot of time, but we have faced each task head-on as a new adventure to master as part of the process of becoming as Maltese as possible.
Not only do we have a group of six, but there are two other groups of six living together, relatively nearby. As part of accepting our new lives with new friends, we have decided to be as social as possible. Our apartment has become the central hub, with people stopping by at all hours of the day and night, and after a dinner out, or morning spent looking at real estate, it is expected and accepted for everyone to return to our place to relax, attempt to stream American tv online, and get to know each other more.
If you’ve been following my blog, at least a little, you’ll know that I’ve participated in multiple week-long service trips abroad. Something I’ve always found to be amazing is the ability for people, who barely know each other or not at all, to quickly become reliant, inseparable, and bonded with one another. This happens because we are put in a place that is not our norm, surrounded by everything new and becoming over-stimulated by highly reactive emotions, based on what we’re doing (this is more common for the service trips I’ve been on due to the nature of the trip- emotions run high and people become strongly attached in that type of environment).
The same is happening here though. We know we need each other, because although we don’t know one another, we are most familiar to each other. We are going through the same things, have similar interests, are facing the same challenges, and experiencing new ideas together, and that is something that happens quickly, especially when in a foreign country. The same thing happens to freshmen moving into college dorms, but on a smaller level, as they are often still surrounded by familiarity and multiple outlets to connect with what they already know. Here, we have the internet, which while it is a fantastic tool, all we have is virtual.
So the answer to the question is that six strangers in a flat on the third floor overlooking foreign Mediterranean views results in a lot of laughs, learning, and huge potential for fantastic relationships.
(Side note: moving takes a lot out of you, especially on this level with so many new changes. I haven’t had a lot of time to write or take pictures, but below are a few just from my daily walks around the island. BTW, while this island is tiny, we walk anywhere between 7-11 miles a day).