In March 2017, Marta, a former teacher of mine arrived in Lisbon. She had been to Colombia and told me that my friend Anna sent a package for me.
When I had met Marta, she handed me a tiny woven box, that fit in my palm. In it was a note and a pair of flower earrings. In the note Anna wrote to me how the earrings, I am inheriting from her, and the box, used to be a storage for her fallen tooth when she was a kid. Now, it travelled all the way to Lisbon for me, carrying the note, the earrings and the scent of flowers from her yard in Bogota.
“For the tender flower — I think of you. So far away. Where ever you are.”
Many months ago, the biggest fear I had, were no match for the realities of today. These days, in the time of difficulty, in the face of a New Corona Virus, taking away those we love, and putting us all to the test, I realise more than ever, how we cannot win if we are not together as one. As long as someone in the world is in peril, no one will be safe. So, although we are told to be distant, it does not mean we should be shut off. In a contagion, all must be healed. We must find a way to re-think the systems already in place, and see how we can become more inclusive, and build security for each other. Especially because things like this may happen again.
I think of all of the people I love who are far away, and all the people I will never know.
Sometimes, I catch myself wondering how I got here. So many plans I had made, that lead me somewhere else. It’s as if I built my plans as destinations when they were really steps toward where I was supposed to end up.
I arrived in Taipei in the night.
When she was pregnant with my sister, she travelled on a boat with our father to go to an island a couple of hours away.
On the road. I don’t remember to where.
I left Lisbon almost suddenly. My lease was up in a week, and my internship at Terratreme had just finished. Winter was leaving. I knew it because I began to sweat profusely during my bike rides to work – that never happens in the winter. In winter, I’d bike in the biting cold morning. Eventually I felt the skin on my face break because the cold made it dry. I continued biking anyway, without moisturiser, I thought I was invincible, but a couple of weeks later when my skin broke, I had to buy some finally.
This time a year ago, we graduated from our masters. It was a very swift two weeks moving from a DocNomad, to just Nomad. In the last week of our course, we all flew to Brussels for our graduation. I remember that week in Brussels so well, so much that I feel like not much has changed since then. But here we are– it has been a year! I had forgotten that I took my trusty film camera with me along for the ride, I got some prints done yesterday and to my surprise, found a roll of celluloid immortalising the last months of our masters.
If I never again encounter a period of life such as this one,
I have developed a habit of drawing lately. It all began one day when I was at a miradouro and saw two friends talking with the city as their backdrop. It reminded me so much of my friends who would hang out with me on the roof of our home to watch the sunset. And the ease of the conversation brought back an ease I had experienced some time before.
I met Anna two years ago, sometime in September 2015. She had knowledge of the discount tickets that you can purchase so you can go to Caiscais for an unlimited amount of trips for a week. I think it was a summer treat program. We became really good friends after that, until now.
This photograph was in the summer, in 2017. After our program had ended and we had decided to gather as many times as we can before we all flew to our next destinations — a destination that we will not share. It was summer, then, in the two ‘then’s that I describe.
As the sun start to set later and later, and the sunlight gets stronger and stronger, I realise that soon, it will be summer again. I wonder how many more Annas will I meet, Annas with knowledge of discount tickets that can bring you to Caiscais for an unlimited amount of instances within a period of 7 days.
Thiago visited from Bazil last weekend. His film will be in Clermont Ferrand. I just moved in to a new apartment with a shared balcony. I’ve always wanted a room with a balcony — since I was 7. Now that it’s here, I realise that I had not gone so far as to reach the edge of the balcony that I finally have. It’s winter and the farthest I’ve gone is two steps out the door.
Tomorrow, at first light, I will take the last three steps that will bring me to the edge of this balcony and do what I’ve always wanted to do with a room with a balcony — wake up early in the morning, storm out to the end of the balcony and rest my elbows on the edge as I watch people pass by.
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.
We moved to Hungary last month. We had to get used to the place so we decided to get out of Budapest for a day.