Blog, Life 02/10/2016

Settling into Malta

It’s been a week & half since I came to the Malta. As I said in my previous post, I decided to challenge myself with some resolutions. To be honest I was expecting a faster start on those but settling in hasn’t been as smooth as I hoped for. So some of the things are a bit delayed. Nevertheless I didn’t want to skip on my promises, so here is a weekly blog on my first week in Malta.

First of all I was kind of disconnected with the whole experience from the start. When I first applied for Erasmus I had a strong motivation, to do research. My thesis topic is on computer generated narratives. A very specific topic that requires expertise in seemingly distant fields, narrative and artificial intelligence. I didn’t want to do Erasmus for sake of doing it. Never been a guy that enjoys not working; traveling and partying is not my cup of tea.

I swapped seats for leg space. So that was nice I guess.

I swapped seats for leg space. So that was nice I guess.

But the approval process were so slow and had many unnecessary delays that my visa got approved a day before my flight. A friend asked how I didn’t went crazy. I guess i have developed a self defence mechanism by distancing myself from the whole situation. Even while I was waiting at the airport I didn’t feel a single thing; no frustration or excitement. Just a single though in my head “Alright lets get this over with”.

At arrival I was greeted by the driver hired by University Residence. “How was your flight friend?”. It is really refreshing to be called “friend” from complete strangers. I have found out that most of male drivers, cashiers etc greeted me that way. It is kind of like RPG game where all shopkeepers say “Greetings Traveler”. It must be a cultural thing.

Drive from airport to the residence was not simple though. First we went to some other place to pick up another driver. Then drove to the garage to change cars and drivers. After that I rode with the second driver to the residence listening him ranting about his coworkers. “They are crazy all people” he said, commenting on how the whole situation was handled. I agree. Coming from Istanbul, a crazy fast city, and also a crazy fast country in general; I found Maltese attitude of laxness craziest of them all. Queues are slow, traffic is slow, life is slow. Don’t get me wrong I love slowing down a bit, but this is on an illogical level. I wonder how people get things done here. Now whole visa situation makes more sense…

Oh WiFi, thou art heartless bitch!!

My first day at the residence was not bad. I was placed in a temporary room before my actual room was prepared. That room was looking at the pool in the middle of the complex. One issue was that it had a bunkbed, which is not ideal for my fat ass to climb. After attending the orientation session I returned to my room to find a note stating I my actual room is ready. Yaaay!! But it was Naaay!!

You see while new room is much better then the other one it has one simple flaw, poor WiFi reception. I think poolside is where the original WiFi routers are set up. Closer you are better the reception. But my room is exactly on the opposite side. Shucks!! I literarily open my door to get 1 bar better reception, which is still shitty. I could go into the kitchen area but to be honest it is not comfortable to work there. Even that is unreliable since I am writing this post in the kitchen and WiFi broke 2 times until I came to this paragraph.

Some may think that this might be a good time to stay of the internet and be productive. Those people are fools. Programmers cannot be productive without internet. It is what we use to work! I spent my whole day yesterday trying to download update for new mac os. So my coding work is stopped for a while. I apologise for my 3-4 fans waiting for next AI post.

Somethings that were peculiar for me

There are some interesting things that stood out during my short stay. First was a bit of short lived fascination on names of buildings. When I was watching out of the window in my taxi ride, I saw name plates written in calligraphic fonts like “Blue Cave”, “Wheel of Roses” etc. on buildings. Following the RPG theme Maltese homes seemed to have a tradition of having epic names. At first I lighted up in excitement sticking close to the window to find next quirky name. It was weird they named their houses, shouldn’t it just be numbers I thought. Then it hit me. Wait a second we name our apartments in Turkey too.

Why the hell did this seemed like something out of ordinary at first, I don’t know for sure. Maybe it was the style of naming. Since Maltese buildings are mostly 1-2 floor houses I think owners have more artistic license with the names. My building name in Turkey is “Filiz” which means sprig in Turkish, non-offensive and dull. At the end of the day it is an apartment complex with 16 different residents, you wont get your way with a off putting name if you are trying to sell some apartments. But here house names are more close to boats. Most are simple but some scream in an “I have a boat!” attitude.
mehtap-pansaka-suAnother thing that stood up was Turkish products on counters. That wouldn’t be so surprising we are living in a global market. But they were all subpar products. I mean I don’t buy those stuff in Turkey but somehow they got a way into Maltese super markets. But no good products, no no no. It seems to me that Turkish products are trying to fill in a bottom line in Maltese stores.

What is the resolution progress?

Lets have a short review of the situation.

  • Blogging Regularly: This post is keeping that promise. Admittedly I wanted to fit in an AI update for my project this week. That is going to be on next week. I will be returning to continue my post on Axioms. I changed a lot of my code base recently so my old posts may not be keeping up. A bit of review may be necessary.
  • Cooking: For last 5 days I have been cooking my own food. Sometimes I cheat with frozen food for convenience. But It is much better than paying 5 euros to dorm canteen if you ask me. I bought my beer cooler it is keeping my stuff chill. I am waiting for thermometer I ordered online to start experimenting sous vide. Bought a carbon steel searing pan. It really heats up much higher than teflon that is for sure.
  • Code Kata Practice: This is virtually non existent this week. I focussed on trivial coding tasks before getting into taught provoking coding stuff.
  • Workout: Currently my workout consists of daily walks to the super market. I certainly sweat a lot. I am not fit so that really tires me. I haven’t checked out campus gym yet. I have the price though 99 euros. Really cheap. So I will be checking that out soon. Though I forgot to take gym shoes back home. Need to learn more about their policies.

Thats it for now. Next time I am coming with an AI post I promise.

About the author

Sercan Altun: Hello there fellow human, I am Sercan Altun: video game developer, coding aficionado & part-time weirdo. Check out my blog on game development and stuff.

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