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I Accidentally Became Famous In Another Country

I Accidentally Became Famous In Another Country

– Three years ago, I almost became famous in a small Mediterranean
country, and this is that story. It all started in 2014, when the world was a simpler, better place. Like, fidget spinners weren’t a thing yet. I was working here at Buzzfeed,
writing posts for the site. Basically at Buzzfeed we
don’t have assignments, so it’s up to us every single day to think about what we’re gonna write. That’s usually a really great thing. I mean, that’s so much freedom. But there are days where
you come in and you’re like, “Uh, I’ve got nothing, I’m dried up.” (western music) So that’s what was happening
on June 18th, 2014. I had no good ideas. As the hours went on, I
started getting nervous, that I was wasting an entire workday. So I went into overdrive. “Think, Erin, think!” What did you have for breakfast? Oatmeal. Okay, 21 things that are
thicker than a bowl of oatmeal? That’s horrible. Who eats oatmeal? Old people. What about 34 old people you
have to see before you die? Wait, what? That’s worse. Who’s like an old person I know? Oh yeah, my grandparents. What can I write about my grandparents? I know that they were all
born here, except for one. My grandfather was born in Malta. And to be honest, I didn’t
really know what Malta was. So I Googled it. I hit search, I hit images,
and bam, there it was. Malta. Holy shit, this place is beautiful. I don’t know why I always
assumed it would look dreary and gray like most of Europe. It couldn’t have been more opposite. I mean, this place looked
like an iPhone background. Everything is bright and colorful, the doors are red, and green, and blue. And the boats in the
harbor are the same colors, and it’s just like, why did my
family ever leave this place? Well, I just figured out what
I was writing for the day. So I picked out the most
beautiful vacation porny photos I could find, and I
compiled them into a post. I figured it was my duty to let the world, or at least like America know, that Malta is like a real place. And you can go there. That night, I go home, go to sleep. You know, not even thinking
about this post anymore, it’s totally behind me. And then I wake up to a
Biblical flood of notifications. (intense music) I’m talking Facebook,
I’m talking Instagram, I’m talking Twitter. Everywhere. Apparently Malta doesn’t
get written about a lot, especially by American media sites. They were pumped. I mean like, super super pumped. (cheers) The people of Malta were messaging me, to thank me for the promotion. But I was like, “What? Thank you for having
such a gorgeous country.” All this attention reached a point where somebody started a gofundme page. The page was called, Get Erin 2 Malta, (The Buzzfeed Girl). And to my sheer horror, the page already had several
hundred dollars in it. I mean, what is happening? I had restaurants and
hotels reaching out saying, “Stay with us, it’s free!” Or, “Eat at my restaurant,
it’s on the house.” This was all super super nice, but I didn’t expect any of it. I mean, I was just trying to write a post. As flattered as I was,
I decided I would just fade into the background
and let it all die down. But, of course, it wasn’t that easy. The next day, somebody sends me a photo. It’s a picture of the
National newspaper in Malta, and in it is my fucking face. This is me in a newspaper on
the other side of the world. Headline reads, “Campaign to Thank Woman for Extolling Virtues of Malta.” This had officially become a big deal. There was so much attention
surrounding all of this, but not all of it was good. The day after the newspaper,
was another newspaper, only this time the writer was not stoked. It was really mean. The article was basically saying, “Who is this Buzzfeed writer,
and why does she think she can half-ass some post about Malta and get a free trip here?” First of all, ouch. After that, I pretty much just wanted to melt into the floor boards. I stayed off the internet for a few days while the talking heads of Malta debated whether I
deserved a dream vacation, or to be buried at sea. (thunder) As is the way of the internet, eventually this did blow over. And the Malta thing just became
a story I tell at parties. Cut to the year of our Lord, 2017. (ominous music) My boyfriend and I decide
to take a trip to Italy. As we’re planning the trip, I noticed, we’re not gonna be too far from a little country called Malta. I figured, you know,
enough time has passed, people definitely don’t remember who I am. I check plane tickets from Italy to Malta, and they’re $35 one way. I’ve literally spent $35 at
McDonald’s, so we booked them. Next thing I know, I’m on
a fucking plane to Malta. Malta. And I’m honestly pretty nervous. Was this gonna live up to the hype? Dear viewer, it did. This place is even more
gorgeous in person. And besides that, the
people are incredibly nice, the food is incredible. It’s perfect. But I kind of felt like
I had come all this way, and it seemed weird to
not at least acknowledge everything that had happened. So I decided to track down the guy who had started that gofundme page. I wanted to, I don’t know,
thank him, or buy him lunch. Or start a campaign to get him to America? I don’t know what I was doing. We decide to grab lunch. He takes us to this little Maltese deli. We’re hanging, and I’m
thanking the guy, Chris, for being so kind. Suddenly he puts his
batera down, looks at me, and he says, “Did you
ever Google my name?” I stopped chewing, and I’m like, “No, was I supposed to Google your name?” He says, “So, you don’t know who I am?” I say, “I hope not a murderer?” Then he asks, “Do you have
20 minutes after lunch?” And I tell him, “Yeah, I’m totally free, I honestly don’t know what I’m doing here in the first place.” So I have zero idea
what’s about to happen. We walk from the deli to this plaza, and there’s this big, stately building, that I’d actually walked past before, but had never thought about. Chris turns to us and he says, “This is the office of
the prime minister.” Oh, cool. Okay, maybe he’s gonna
take us on a walking tour. But then Chris says,
“We’re gonna go inside.” Before we can even ask what’s happening, Chris says to us, “This was
my great uncle’s office.” I’m starting to put two and two together, and he says, “He was the
prime minister of Malta.” Okay, cool, we just had
lunch with this dude, who’s great uncle was the
supreme ruler of all of Malta. And now we’re going into
this fancy-ass building dressed like lunatics. We walk up the steps, which have cannons pointing at us from
either side, by the way. This is the Maltese
equivalent of the White House, and we’re just waltzing in. Inside, it’s exactly what you think. Vaulted ceilings, suits of armor. My boyfriend and I are doing that thing where we’re just giggling and saying, “What the fuck?” a lot. Holy shit, has like Obama been here? Actually no, Obama’s never been here. Wait, Obama’s never been
here, and I’ve been here? That’s like somehow even cooler to me. 20 minutes ago I’m eating tuna in a deli, and now here I am standing, looking at the highest
desk in all of Malta. The last thing they
showed us was the roof, which had the most incredible view of the entire city of Valletta. And we’re standing up
there, talking, laughing, basking in the sun, and it hits me. The only reason I’m on top of
the prime minister’s office, in the country where
my grandfather’s from, looking out on this gorgeous country, is all because I didn’t know what to write for work one day.

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