As summer gradually winds down and travel comes to an end, Sonja Lindenberg reflects on the complex nature of expat life and a journey woven with emotion and connection that bridges faraway destinations and the place she now calls home.
What’s it like to live here? It’s a question that consistently crosses my mind whenever I visit a new place.
I often contemplate whether this inquisitiveness is a common characteristic among expatriates. My suspicion is that indeed it is.
I moved to Malta in 2008 when the iGaming industry was taking off and attracting a wave of foreigners to the island.
My decision to relocate wasn’t driven by work; instead, it was based on having met my Maltese husband a few years earlier.
Although I wasn’t directly involved in the iGaming sector at that time, I did appreciate the diversity that the industry infused into the island.
Despite our different backgrounds, forging connections within Malta’s iGaming community has been proven relatively easy.
One reason could be that a common thread unites many of us: the experience of venturing away from the familiar and leaving behind family and friends in our home countries.
I must admit that there have been phases in my life when I felt a tinge of sadness as new friends decided to move on and leave Malta.
However, over the years, life has settled into a reassuring rhythm, with an established circle of friends – a mix of expats and Maltese.
A month at home
During this summer, I found myself spending a considerable amount of time abroad.
Considering the blistering heat in Malta (not to mention the frustrating power cuts that resulted from it), it truly seemed like the best decision.
From quick visits to Estonia, Austria, Switzerland, and northern Italy, mixing work and leisure, I wrapped up with a solid four-week stay in my homeland, Germany.
Undoubtedly, a career in the iGaming sector is not for those who prefer to settle in one place.
Leading companies have established their presence across an array of nations and relocations are the norm, rendering this realm a haven for those who thrive as voluntary nomads.
My life as an expat has been a perpetual love affair, and after many years on this sun-soaked rock, Malta truly feels like home.
Yet, this time, the return felt oddly more challenging.
After spending weeks with my immediate family and reconnecting with close friends who have known me since childhood, I felt a poignant pull between two worlds. This led me to ponder: What would it be like to make a life here?
A mosaic of experiences
Being an expat is a lifelong adventure that comes with its own set of emotions, challenges and rewards.
It isn’t solely about leaving one place behind for another. It’s about crafting a mosaic of experiences, memories and emotions that, over time, come to define who you are.
It’s not just about embracing a new country; it’s about forging a unique blend of identities, shaped by the places that have touched our lives.
It involves navigating a delicate balance between the memories of where we come from and the enthusiasm for the path we’ve chosen.
As I get back to life in Malta, the strong bonds and shared stories among fellow expats remain unchanged.
And perhaps it’s these connections that help soften the edges of geographical distance and make this unique journey all the more fulfilling.