I've been back home for nearly two weeks. Re-entry has been easier than I expected, but it still comes in fits and starts. I was far more overwhelmed by the commercialism and the pathetic state of TV when I visited in May than I am this time. We've had some very pretty days here (sort of like April in Malta weather-wise), but also many days of clouds and rain. I find I get slightly "down" when the clouds are around more than a day--I must have caught this from Malta.
I've been trying to find the equivalents here to things I liked in Malta. I drive far more, but I've also been walking for odds and ends to nearby small shops. I volunteered to read to children at my local library, though they've never gotten back to me. I even checked on walking dogs at the local humane society (but not yet acted upon the information; I may just offer to walk two neighbor dogs). We have bought a clothes line, but it's not set up yet. I planted rocket in the garden and hope I'll get some before the first frost. It's just poking up now.
My eating habits seem quite changed and much to the better. I produced a quick dish of mozzarella, onion, fresh basil, two colors of tomato, oregano and olive oil. My husband looked at it and said, "Wow, you must have eaten at some great places in Malta, this is plated so well." It was pretty, come to think of it.
There was a piano in my apartment in St. Paul's Bay that I played virtually everyday. I was teaching myself and will soon need to take lessons to avoid learning very bad habits. Last week we drove down to Green Bay and bought a piano. It's going to be delivered soon, so I'm painting the living room. The room was in dire need of change, and this was an excellent excuse. It's a cream color-- I think the Maltese color palette must have been burned into my brain. To keep up with my decision to have more "social life," I'm planning to have a piano-warming party with a collection of friends who don't normally interact.
I'm starting to get requests for talks about Malta. My first "gig" is Rotary in Aug. I've decided to give that club the Rotary banner the La Vallette Rotary gave me when I talked to them back in April. I may also join the organization. I will eventually give a talk on campus. Maybe I'll get other requests.
On further reflection about the impact of the Fulbright, I've decided that living abroad for a more extended time has the effect of magnifying one's strengths and weaknesses. It also shifts the unclear, middling things more clearly to either strength or weakness. I will never have a neat home or office, a weakness that was only mitigated by my wonderful housekeeper in Malta. In the "middling range" I am quite willing to eat and behave in healthier ways that I was. So I'm hoping that set of behaviors has moved more decisively to the strengths side. I was always a sound teacher. All the different kinds of teaching I did on my Fulbright has enhanced that strength.
Last, I've been turning ideas around in my head for an article about globalization and power. I want to use Malta as the way to frame the article. All the flows of globalization--good and bad--hit the country. It's more obvious in Malta than in the US. The way Malta uses its power as a "micro state" are thus more apparent and interesting.
As soon as I find my cord for downloading photos to my computer, I'll put some pictures up of London and Edinburgh.