Last week, I found myself in Viana do Castelo again. I was there in transit, waiting for the next bus that would bring me further up north. It was the place where the fourth edition of DocNomads first had their fieldwork. It was, where we made our first films as a class. That was in the first semester. Now that we’ve arrived at the last, I remember the photographs that I had promised to show them “once we get back to Lisbon”. I’m about a year and four months late, but here they are anyway.
This was what my new life looked like. I first saw it through a tiny window in an airplane.
Two years ago, on New Year’s eve,
I wrote this message last Christmas.
We’ve come this far.
“I seem to want to write to you every chance I get! I must tell you how much I appreciate your patience with these things
In the summer, I visited my friend Agnes, who was staying with Jose in Aldeias. This was the view from the window of that lovely room where I stayed. That was one of the weirdest times of my life. I would usually welcome a wonderful vacation. But the first few weeks of that summer made me very anxious. I haven’t had a summer break since after I graduated from university four years ago. Thinking about not working or not being productive while I stayed in Europe instead of going home sounded ridiculous. One week into summer and I was antsy. We were half way through the program and I had to think fast what I wanted to happen, or what I wanted to do. Thinking did nothing for me other than make me even more anxious. Even more, I had very few friends in Lisbon, most of them were somewhere in another part of Europe for the holidays or they were working a lot.
There was a tall glass cabinet in the house we lived in when I was little. In it were different souvenirs collected by my mom. We were told to never open the glass cabinet because the things inside it were very delicate. At the very last shelf were tiny porcelain houses of white and deep blue. The houses had windows that were crooked. One of the houses’ roof fell slightly to the left. No two houses were ever alike. I wondered in the houses but knew with certainty and sadness, that they did not exist outside of the glass cabinet. While walking around, taking a break from IDFA, I looked at the houses at the canal and realised that the houses, though not porcelain, white, or deep blue, existed outside, the glass cabinet. In knowing this, I knew that I had never been more happy to be wrong about something, I believed to be true.
I went to to Tuscany in the summer.
We went on a road trip last Easter, my friends and I. It was a long one, and we crossed country borders in a car. Yali and I were particularly ecstatic. If you live in an archipelago, crossing borders while driving is not an idea you entertain a lot, and for Yali, she says she can drive for seven hours and still be in China.
I remember coming home one night.
“Fuck it’s so cold.
My boots are so heavy.
Malayo pa ba?
This building is so creepy.
Is anybody home..”
My grandmother buried a seed into the ground about fifteen years ago.
She told me to watch the Indian mango tree grow. She said it would grow like the Gumamela on the side of the road.
But it took long.
So long that Inay never got to see the mango tree grow at all.
We arrived in Budapest in one of the very few days that there was snow. In the last years, snow became a less frequent visitor during winter. Within two weeks, we already had to begin making our first films in Budapest and I worked with Ida.
In January we moved to Budapest. It was winter and the first morning we spent in the city was one of the few days of snow. Winter was an exciting concept because I’ve never really experienced it but it was also very alien. It felt like the city was alien to me or, that I was an alien in it. When the sun started to show, I began taking photographs of strangers. This one, was of a man who just left the tram, I asked him for a photograph but he said:
I tried ask again to make sure I understood correctly
..no. Not me..”
He opened his arms up to the sky, looked around and then finally at me and said:
“Budapest is waiting for you.”
Since then I’ve been working hard to make sure that Budapest doesn’t wait too long, after all, we have barely a month left, and then we are on our way out again.
I was surprised at how many people were already there. The train leaves at 07:45H so I arrived at Keleti very early.
“I used to get a lot of sunsets like this back home but this one is special. You see, I’ve never experienced winter in my life. We have a lot of rain and often floods that devastate many of our lives. But winter is another thing. I don’t think anyone is ever ready to face winter, of any kind, even the people who have lived it all their lives. That day was the day we got our resident visas, after days of uncertainty over not being accepted one because of strange challenges (Balsors) that have left us on edge since we moved in to this flat.
Ingrid is back in Lisbon. At this moment, they might be having coffee at a kiosk near Gianluca’s house. I’m not there now, of course, so I tried to look for photographs of us from when I was in Lisbon.