Something tells me this edition of “Why in Malta?” will be especially popular among ladies. Fritz Grimm, who is an aspiring photographer, a very handsome guy and just a charming person, kindly agreed to share his story of becoming Maltese. We recommend you take a look at his photography website http://www.fritz-grimm.de and his page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fritz-Photography-Malta/453777761357867?fref=ts.
WM: Fritz, your home country, Germany, is a dream country of many. How did you decide to change it for Malta?
Fritz: I would say I am different from the most people in Germany. They are so close-minded and live so much ‘in the structure’. It is pre-defined that a person gets a job and then keeps working, buying, and spending. I never liked this lifestyle, especially when a lot of people in the world are living in much worse conditions. When I was younger, I used to dream about living by the sea in a warm country and imagined Caribbean, something like paradise, but those dreams were not realistic. I never seriously thought about leaving Germany until some time ago because my daughter was still too young for me to leave her. Now she is 9 years old and comes to visit me from time to time.
WM: Why did you decide to move to Malta and not to any other Mediterranean country, say, Italy, Spain or Greece?
Fritz: At the end of 2011 I met a Maltese girl in Thailand. We became close and in the beginning of 2012 we decided to be together. We visited each other a few times: I came to Malta twice and she came to Germany. She could not imagine working there; a whole day at the office, besides there is a language barrier – finding a job without knowing German is unrealistic. For me it was fine to move, I was prepared; I liked the country and the people. By the time I moved to Malta, however, our relationship became unstable; we spent some time on and off. It did not change my plans to move to Malta, though.
WM: What do you miss about Germany the most?
Fritz: Greenery, forests, hills, my daughter and my family. I cannot say I miss friends; they always can come over to visit me if they want, and they can afford it. In fact, some friends come to visit, others promise to come but do not. In that way I can see who the real friends are and who are not.
WM: Did Malta teach you something new?
Fritz: It is a good question… Yes, I would say Malta taught me there is something in the Universe, something very special and particular. Maybe, it is God…
WM: Was it the country’s lifestyle that gave you this experience, or the people?
Fritz: I think it is a mix of factors: the place, the people and how they live together. Maltese are so relaxed, sincere and warm. They are not always polite, but, at the same time, not as mean as some people in other countries. Germans in comparison are too negative, close-minded and consumerist. When it happens to share business ideas with them, the negative response just shocks me sometimes.
WM: What do you do in Malta apart from photography?
Fritz: Although, photography is a big part of my life, it is just a hobby. I work part-time for a company where I am responsible for quality management system.
WM: Is there anything that makes you uncomfortable in Malta?
Fritz: I can see many things are not well, but I am a foreigner here and I do not think I should teach the locals. One thing is particularly unfair: electricity and water rates for foreigners should not be higher than for Maltese. It is a big deal to get resident’s rates. If Maltese cheat on foreigners then foreigners have every right to cheat back, which is not a good situation.
WM: Do you prefer to spend your free time with Maltese or with other expats?
Fritz: With Maltese. I live in Tarxien and do not know other foreigners living there, it is so peaceful and quiet. I cannot imagine living in Sliema – a busy tourist area which looks the same in many countries. It has no true spirit of Malta.
WM: Do you feel the mentality difference?
Fritz: Yes, the Maltese mentality is different; the people are relaxed and not so exact. I can understand this, however. It happens to me not to be on time too because in Malta you cannot plan well. One day it takes you 10 minutes to get somewhere, another time on the same route you can spend half an hour looking for parking.
WM: Do you think to stay in Malta for long?
Fritz: I do not make plans, but certainly, I cannot imagine going back to Germany. It is too alien for me now with its consumerism and predictable life.
10 thoughts on ““Why in Malta?” Fritz Grimm: “Malta taught me there is something very special in the Universe””
It was a pleasure to do this interview with you Raisa and i like the way you wrote this article. You have a great journalistic talent!
The pleasure was all mine! Good luck for all your future projects in Malta or elsewhere in the world.
I also preferred Malta over Germany, but I also did miss the trees and the large forests.
Finding no forests makes me sometimes homesick. I went to Germany three weeks ago and noticed from the plane that some of our forests could easily host Malta. What I also miss: my activities in Berlin. Apart from a quite bourgeois profession (well: in fact many of my clients were not middle-class people but criminals) before coming to Malta I was engaged in lots of cultural, political (environment, housing, legal politics) and social activities and I spent a lot of time with Italian friends (I am fluent in Italian, studied in Italy, went there plenty of times for work, once had a Sicilian girl friend). Sometimes I feel like a retired person in Malta – which is horrible for me. But: the island is a wonderful place for taking pictures (due to the white sun light; in Germany and even Italy the sun shines yellow). Maltese people are more distant than Italians – but somehow also more reliable. Being reserved is a problem if it comes to making business – Italians and Italian companies are much easier to contact. The latter refers also to private contacts. The cultural heritage of Malta is unique. So is the language: With a few Maltese words you won´t die from hunger in Arab countries. Maltese are very addicted to music – unfortunaltey lots of foreigners don´t notice this fact (“banda muzikali” / well: if it comes to techno even New York can´t beat Berlin). I myself try to learn to play piano in Malta – of course with a Maltese teacher. I don´t know if or how long I will stay on the island – as Italy is still a full option to me, but: the island is an enrichment to me and two Maltese are an enrichment to my life as well (but: I won´t tell them).
I trust Berlin is an intercultural melting pot and you miss the pulse of a megalopolis. Malta offers such a broad range of cultural activities – from traditional feasts to art exhibitions. Here everyday is a celebration (which, I admit, something unusual for me). I certainly miss green areas and open spaces, yet, more than anything else, I miss those long abstract, existential conversations with some Russian friends of mine back in my hometown. I guess, in Malta life is too joiful to waste on conversations about nothing in particular :).
Stay well and thank you for reading!
Dear Raisa ! Two years have passed ! I left Malta and: moved to Gozol ! I am old and to me Malta became too busy with traffic, constant fireworks and the drinking and getting drunk lifestyle .. once in a while yes, but 24/7 ?! (Sliema, Msida, St. Julians). As I translate Gozo is the better place to be – at least for now… Well: Once in a while one should to leave the island – this and last year I spent almost six months in Frankfurt, Berlin, Milano (family, friends film, work, travel ..). Mela: I am sure won´t stay in Gozo or Malta all the rest of my life, but: it´s a good place for new ideas; even if I have to admit that Gozoland sometimes can get boring, at least for a few hours. Being bored helps in reflecting and developing new ideas. Mela: unlike Malta in Gozo most people, and this refers especially to retired foreigners, behave like true retired people, whereas retired people in Malta appear to be more active. In Malta I know an 80-year-old man people still playing piano on events, retired people organizing art events or concerts. Some of them are still engaged in filmings (as cast or even as directors). Unlike Malta Gozo I realized something about getting older:
In Gozo you meet Miss Marple all the time ! Sometimes I can´t believe that Miss Marple once belonged to the hippy or disco generation of the 60s and 70s. They, the retired foreigners in Gozo and, also in my home townl are: not really different from my grandmother when she was in her 70s and 80s; but my grandmother was born in 1914 ! So it´s not about the generation, it´s about the age ! And I moved to Gozo because I can´t stand the 24/7 party any more – Help! Therefore: I may like it or not, but: one day I also will become, not Miss, but Mr Marple ;o)
Dear Heiko! I expect more people moving to Gozo in the near future – to escape from monstrous developments and to regain tranquility.
There is a lot of ‘political’ revenge going on in Malta – the best explanation to the current frustrating chain of events I can find.
It’s great that you can afford choosing where to retire and which lifestyle to prefer. Too many people are deprived of it, sadly.
I did not retire ;o)
I am just self employed.
Merry Christmas from Gozoland