our first full day in malta was everything i wanted/needed/could've possibly hoped for in that moment of my travels.
we spent the day in the comfy confines of kees and mich's penthouse apartment. i was sick AGAIN (for the fourth time on this backpacking trip---not including hangovers, of course), so i spent most of the day in bed trying to sleep myself back to health. and when i say "in bed," i mean IN A REAL BED! for the first time in about a month! yet again, pretty wonderful timing to be sick, considering the possible alternatives ;)
however, i felt terrible about missing out on time with kees and mich (the dutch angels who invited us to stay in their perfect maltese heaven). they're possibly two of the most perfect people i've ever met---kind, humble, honest, funny, hospitable, knowledgable, successful, and clearly oh so giving. so by late afternoon i force-fed myself vitamin c, multiple cups of tea, and raw cloves of garlic, just so i could feel well enough to absorb some of their goodness.
i emerged just in time to learn about the sunset sessions. mich, inspired by scarlett's interest in the band 'the national', began creating a playlist of songs he thought should be listened to while watching the sunset. and every time friends or family come over to visit and watch the sunset, he has them add their own pick to the sunset playlist. he's had friends from all over the world contribute. his ultimate goal, he said, is to have a playlist so long that it could last from sunset to sunrise. and to throw a party where all the guests come dressed in white and dance on the rooftop terrace throughout the starlit night to the music hand-picked by friends from around the world.
have you ever heard anything so charming and romantic?! that's exactly how i imagine angels in heaven spend their evenings. point proven. also, i think i want to experience a sunset sessions party every night of my life.
mich told me and noelle that we'd have a chance to contribute our songs that night. he invited a couple friends from sweden to come over for sunset, and to watch the fireworks in st julien's bay. because, as if all this weren't already good enough, noelle and i just happened to land in malta on the weekend that mich's neighboring village would be celebrating their annual religious celebration... a weekend of parades and candle-lighting and fireworks. HOW?! so perfect.
suddenly we noticed the sun quickly setting. mich, kees, noelle, and i ran throughout the apartment in a light-hearted hurry---grabbing cameras, music equipment, appetizers, and glasses of wine. we ran upstairs to the rooftop terrace just in time to be still and watch the brightest remnants of the sun melt along the limestone horizon.
i put on stacks by bon iver. noelle played songs of water by bread and circus. mich played the doors. the friends soon came and put on their songs, each so different yet all somehow so perfect for the moment.
there were now eight of us there---dutch, swedish, maltese, and american---all appreciating the beauty of light and sound. not long after the sun disappeared, the fireworks began lighting up the bay. grand, sparkling explosions nearly eye-level with our open balcony.
kees made sure our wine glasses stayed at least half full the entire night. i told mich i'd like to stay forever. he said, with the most sincere smile, that i could stay as long as i'd like. oh my... is there anything more heart-warming than feeling sincerely welcome in the exact place you want to be?