I was walking back home from work the other day when it hit me.
I was thinking, “should I go to the supermarket directly or I better go home first, drop my stuff and then, go to the supermarket? Well, my backpack it’s actually quite heavy (I filled a 3 litres water bottle at work, so that I didn’t have to drink the tap water, as my stomach is still adjusting to Bogotà’s flavours). Also, I have my laptop on me and carrying it around after dusk, on my way back from the market, is not a great idea. I am in Colombia, after all.
I should perhaps stop at home first”. But then, I tried to picture myself: get through the security to access the building, then 6 floors up, remove my shoes, drop my stuff, then put my shoes back again, 6 floors down, get down in the street, walk 10 minutes to the supermarket, queue to enter, shop, queue to pay, walk back home, go through the security, 6 floors up, remove my shoes…only thinking about it made me feel exhausted. But then again, at least my belongings would be safe at home and I wouldn’t have to worry about it while at the supermarket…
Making decisions has never been hard for me. I’m the kind of person that when orders something at the restaurant, then happily sticks with it. Yet, in the last months every decision I had to make sounded very hard. Which mask should I wear today, what time should I wake up tomorrow? This or that book – this or that movie? Every decision had become a struggle.
During this year of lockdown, I stack pretty much with my routine, comfortably sitting in my comfort zone. While I have been used to traveling a lot, in 2020 the first time I took a flight after 6 months at home, I felt nauseous. Everything about the trip made me feel paralised. Yet I took the flight, which brought me back to my family in Italy, and everything went well. I managed to step beyond my new comfort zone and I my heart was full of emotions.
When in March I figured out that in less than 20 days I was going to land in Bogotà, Colombia, I was incredibly excited but also freaking terrified. Transcontinental flight in the middle of a pandemic. What if I have problems at the immigration desk? I’m going to leave behind my family and friends and I know nobody in Bogotà. Besides, my Spanish is very poor and I’m going to have to speak it every day even at work…
Yet, I got on that plane, watched 4 movies and changed 2 face masks during my 10 hours flights, got through the immigration control with a “¡Bienvenida!” and set up a weekly routine call with my loved ones in Europe. I’ve made a couple of friends despite the rigid pandemic measures, and I’m making an effort to speak out in Spanish, hopefully improving day by day. After all, that’s not my mother tongue, but the 4th language I would speak. People are very kind and patient.
Being far away from home in the middle of a pandemic is not easy. Some day it’s thrilling, other days I feel more lonely than ever. Yet, I do not regret my decision to start this adventure, although less than 2 months ago I was so unsure about what to do, should I go or should I not, what day should I take my flight, what if something goes wrong. Well, nothing went really wrong so far. I made the decision of stepping out of my comfort zone and into the unknown, because that’s the way I have had the privilege to spend my life in the last years.
Exploring what’s outside the walls (Fuori Mura, in Italian) is scary, but incredibly exciting. It is what makes me learn – and feel. Stepping out of the walls, may they be material or immaterial, is like a breath of fresh air to me. Online blogging about it is, again, a compelling exercise of stepping outside the walls. Scary, but incredibly exciting.
So as I said, I was walking back home from work the other day when it hit me – Fuori Mura was born in my head. Then, I decided to go directly to the supermarket.