Postcards From Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta, is one of the smallest capitals in the world and the smallest capital in the European Union. For such a tiny place there’s plenty to see, however, and if you’re interested in Baroque architecture there’s plenty to photograph, too. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.

VisitMalta’s page on Valletta:


Here’s a glimpse of what you’d see in Valletta. For more pictures, see the Malta album.

Valletta, Malta (2)

Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta (4)

Valletta, Malta (5)

Valletta, Malta (6)

Valletta, Malta (7)

photo by Paulo

Valletta, Malta (8)

Valletta, Malta (9)

Valletta, Malta (10)

photo by Paulo

June 14, 2015
Album: Malta 2015

43 Things, At 43

43 Things, At 43

I have a separate post about my birthday in June, but I was in a random bullet point frame of mind for this part. Some of these will grow into their own post.

In no particular order:

  1. I can’t bring myself to emoji. I barely even emoticon.
  2. The older I get, the less I worry. Since I was never a worrier from the start, Paulo worries that I under-worry at times. People like us need to marry each other; net net, as my CFO friend says.
  3. Improvisation is underrated.
  4. To this day, some of the most sage advice I ever received in the past 10 years was from a night porter in the swanky hotel lobby of a Nordic country. He struck up a conversation in the wee hours, eventually confessing his complicated lifestyle to me which explained why he’s a night porter. It really got me thinking about the choices we make in order to make life more bearable. For some, the goal is happiness but for many the goal is bearable, even in a prosperous country.
  5. I haven’t had a case of FOMO for a very long time. Since before FOMO became an acronym.
  6. If 42 was the answer, is 43 the question?
  7. Portugal’s cafés have the perfect comfort food: torrada, super-thick toast that’s buttered on two sides.
  8. We have a cupboard full of gifted port and that collection is growing. If you come over, we will ply you with port!
  9. My CV is long for my age. Hopefully I won’t have to bring it out of retirement, ever (European CVs have far more detail than Canadian ones).
  10. My eyebrows are turning white.
  11. 43 is such an odd number that no-one owns up to being this age. When’s the last time you heard someone celebrating 43?
  12. I love having a dog, especially the one we’ve got. He brings such joy (and endless amounts of fur) to our lives.
  13. Adoption is still our plan, but we have to be married for four years to qualify. We’re only halfway there.
  14. I love the Portuguese word desenrascanço but I can’t pronounce it properly.
  15. I’m hopelessly attached to Portuguese coffee. Specifically, meia de leite with Delta coffee. Especially paired with a torrada.
  16. It’s easier to say I’m a photographer than to say I “create content”. That will probably mean something else in 5-10 years.
  17. I’m nearly a decade out from the worst year of my life. A mix of sadness and relief and nostalgia.
  18. My search for the best bolo de bolacha continues. It’s a lifelong quest.
  19. There is much to be learned from refugee experiences.
  20. I’ve reached 33 countries as of July (most of those multiple times). I don’t know what will be the 34th.
  21. I still can’t whistle.
  22. The next thing I’d love to fly in: a hot air balloon. Over Cappadocia, maybe?
  23. This year will be my last eligible vote in a Canadian federal election according to the newly-passed Bill C-24. You bet I’ll be voting.
  24. Everything worthwhile comes with a side (or more) of hardship.
  25. I don’t buy music anymore. I’ve reached the conclusion that it’s because I’m not driving anymore and therefore spend no time alone in the car on 1,500km+ road trips, which is when I discover new music.
  26. The next Portuguese frontier I’d like to visit: Madeira and Porto Santo.
  27. I still haven’t seen any Lord of the Rings or Hobbit movies, which leaves my memories of New Zealand intact as purely NZ landscapes with no comparisons to anything else. And is probably a reason why I have no motivation to see those films.
  28. Places don’t make people happy or unhappy, situations do.
  29. My first drawing of many years took place last month. I drew someone’s tattoo (his grandmother’s name) and gave it to him. The outcome wasn’t terrible, I think he liked it, and I enjoyed the process.
  30. I doubt I will ever get a tattoo, but never say never.
  31. Let’s not talk about how someone died. Let’s talk about how that person lived.
  32. I feel drawn to visiting small countries that most people can’t find on a map.
  33. I live near a surfing beach, but I still haven’t surfed and I feel like I’m wasting an opportunity. Like the time I worked at a ski resort and didn’t ski.
  34. There are some things that just don’t get easier with practice, like an appropriate and sincere email sign-off. Am I the only one who struggles with this? When I don’t know how to sign off, I just type my name and then it seems so abrupt and brusque.
  35. I have not stepped foot in South America. I would like to change that.
  36. Two years on, I’m feeling married and settling in to married life. Finally. Finally!
  37. My 7-year old DSLR has exceeded its life expectancy for the shutter count by leaps and bounds. I hope to do the same.
  38. The solidarity and community spirit I see in Portugal on a frequent basis is a wonderful thing to witness and an even more wonderful environment to live in.
  39. I’m still cutting my own hair. How much money I would’ve saved over the years if I’d started this sooner, even if I only had a haircut once or twice a year.
  40. I’m a terrible student. I’d rather gut fish than sit in a classroom. There are other ways to learn.
  41. I’ve discovered why Portugal is a good fit for me: it’s like a fine blend of Filipino culture and Canadian culture. Like me, haha!
  42. I don’t remember many restaurant meals but I do remember when someone cooks something especially for me.
  43. San Francisco artist Margaret Kilgallen passed away in 2001, but what she says here lives on and echoes in my brain. Words to live by.

* photo by Paulo, in San Marino (June 20, 2015)

Flashback Friday: Niagara-on-the-Lake

Niagara-on-the-Lake (February 2012)

For this Flashback Friday, I decided to go back to the earliest season I could find on the current external drive’s RAW files, and it happened to be the Winter of 2011/2012. I opened up an early folder and February was where I landed. These selfies were some of my last in years, because I lost the patience for making them. (Have you seen how heavy my camera is?) I don’t know why I didn’t upload them, but here they are, more than three years later. Here’s what I did upload and post of that day: sunset pictures.

As it turns out, the day I shot these is a significant for me. I had just finished a full day of volunteering at a wedding show representing The Brides’ Project in Niagara-on-the-Lake. When I drove home to Toronto, all I could hear on the news was information about the VIA Rail train derailment in Burlington that afternoon, a tragedy that claimed the lives of all three locomotive engineers and sent many of the 75 passengers to the hospital. It happened on a section of track that ran parallel to the highway I was driving, and the hospitals where the passengers were airlifted to were in almost immediate vicinity. The aftermath was all around me. In the time that it took me to drive home (about 75 minutes), I made a decision that changed my life — what would become the Turning 40 Series, which was completed on February 5, 2013. That’s about all I can divulge here, but if you’re interested in knowing more, all you have to do is ask.

Niagara-on-the-Lake (February 2012)

Niagara-on-the-Lake (February 2012)

February 26, 2012
Album: Toronto [Winter 2011/2012]