Family & Kids

How it all began

Nadja Ebner

8 Aug 17 · 6 min read

We already went through deciding to leave our country; to leave everything behind. It was the year 2014 when we decided to travel around Europe, but then did nothing to meet these plans.

Another opportunity occurred year after that. We had to step into the action and indeed do it. We were so scared of everything, but mostly that we’ll fail again to achieve our goals. We decided to make a task more defined so instead Europe we said: Malta.

This time we meant it!

We sold everything we owned: car, washing machine, dishwasher, bikes, etc. With the money we got, we covered our debts, and after buying plane tickets, we ended up with 300 euros in our pockets and 100 kilos of personal baggage. It was tight to move to a different country with such a small amount of money, and we didn’t even know where we are going to live.

When we arrived in Malta, we went to stay in a hostel. It was cheap, but we still had to pay 50 euros per day for four of us to stay there. We were looking for an apartment, but all of them were ridiculously expensive, and they all wanted huge deposits. We asked people on Facebook if they know for some cheap place, but when they found out we have kids, we weren’t even able to get some room in a shared apartment. After three days I was already so frustrated, that I burst into tears after my kids fell asleep. With Leo, we sat on a balcony and figured out what to do next. In the morning he had an interview for a great programming job at some big company there. They said they also help with accommodation if they hire you. So we decided to wait one more day to see what will happen. We didn’t have any idea what to do if that didn’t work. Even Couchsurfing failed us — the ones that responded already had a full house. We couldn’t go back — we didn’t have money for plane tickets, and we didn’t want to admit our failure.

Eating sardines and crackers.

Next day we checked out of the hostel, and I took kids to the beach. We were saving money, so we walked couple kilometers to get there. I had my two year old Erik on my shoulders, and I played a game, with jumping three year old Lejla by my side, who can detect different objects around us first. I was putting a lot of effort to make a game for everything, so they wouldn’t find it so exhausting. We arrived on one city beach, and we took our first swim in the sea since we arrived in Malta. Leo walked to his meeting as well, which was 8 kilometers in one direction with over 30 degrees in the shadow. With kids, we stayed on that beach the whole day. We found shadow by some pillars. I tried to convince little ones to sleep there. When they finally did, I saw we have the company of some big cockroaches. Of course, I didn’t wake them up because of that. I fell in this desperate laugh when everything seems so ridiculous. We were in the middle of some city we didn’t like because it was dirty, loud and chaotic. I was lying with my kids and cockroaches on the concrete floor because it was shadow only there. We were eating dinner which was sardines from a can for 30 cents and crackers for 50 cents. That was the bottom for me.

Yes, it looks beautiful, but the feelings inside… In the back you can see pillars where me met our new friends: cockroaches.

But suddenly I realized: look, you are alive, your kids are healthy, they even look satisfied; what is such a big deal? As long as we have each other, we’ll manage somehow.

I instantly felt this inner peace. Nothing bad can happen to me. It is what it is. It is not good or bad, it is just an experience, and it is teaching me something.

We headed back, and I still remember that walk. I started to notice beautiful things around me: the view from the top of the road, blooming bushes around us; I found one excellent playfield for kids. Life was wonderful again, even though nothing in my reality changed, except my thoughts and what I was focusing on.

We found each other with Leo, and he said: “Let’s go back to the hostel, I need to talk to you when kids go to sleep.” I didn’t ask why and how. I didn’t say we will run out of money. We went back where it was shower and beds. We joked it was a good thing that we checked out because we got a new room with fresh sheets.

We were lying on the top of two bunk beds when he described me in details what happened to him that day. Bottom line: they wanted to hire him, helped us with the apartment and his salary would be high and higher every year. But…

“I don’t want to work there,” he said with pain in his eyes.

He knew that with accepting that job, most of our troubles would go away. But he couldn’t picture himself going there every day, to be trapped from morning till night in one building. To have a business phone and a computer, he would need to answer anytime, anywhere. “That’s a prison in a golden cage,” he said.

I knew that the last thing I want is to broke his spirit. I love him because of it. “You won’t take it!” I said.

“Do you mean it?” he wanted to know.

I meant it. I wanted a father for my kids, not security, that was the reason to leave Slovenia.

“We will find some other way!” we decided.

We took our computer and googled. We discovered that island Gozo is much cheaper when it comes to rents. And photos were beautiful. We’ll go there!

Gozo, Xlendi

Next day we were on Gozo, and everything worked in our favor. We didn’t have to pay for ferry because you pay it on your return. We found an apartment and manage to convince the owner that we pay next week when I get my last salary. We still had 50 euros, so we went with smiles on our faces to buy groceries. Next morning we woke up in a town we loved, couple of meters next to the turquoise sea and the view of majestic cliffs. We had eggs for breakfast, and when I watched my kids, my heart was filled with happiness and joy.

We stayed there for one year. We made some meaningful friendships and got tons of experiences.

But that was just the beginning. With that step, we stepped toward the life we are proud of. It opened the world for us, and we feel that anything is possible. Now we just have to prove it.

Edited: 6 years ago by Nadja Ebner

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