Isolation Portraits Project – Part 4

Isolation Portrait Project - Part 4

This blog post goes to three countries, two continents and speaks only two languages, the ones closest to my heart: Italian and Spanish.


María is a strong Spanish woman who I met the first week I moved to Dublin. She attended the same English school as me, but she finished the week after I had started. As often happens to people who meet each other at the beginning of their “migration adventure”, we kept contact and we still do. (By now you should know I tend to stick to people 🙂 Maria and I supported each other for 5 years during our crisis, when we missed the Mediterranean sun, better life conditions and trying to find our path in life – or at least a good job.
When she finally moved back to Spain I was shocked but also so so happy for her, because that has always been her goal and knowing that someone has made it gave me hope to do the same (pandemic permitting…) I remember that when I started dating Victor (Spanish speaker from Venezuela), as at the time I didn’t speak Spanish, I asked her to give me her opinion about him, because I believe that when two people speak the same language it takes 10 minutes to understand who you are talking to. On the other hand, when speaking a common foreign language (like it was English for Victor and me) at the beginning you are never really sure if the misunderstandings are due to something lost in translation or something deeper. When she gave Vicor her blessing I felt relieved and I had to say she was right 🙂


My name is María and I´m from Spain (Madrid). I met Elena when I was living in Dublin (Ireland) she was one of my first friends there, 6 years ago already! I was living in Dublin for almost 6 years but last summer I came back to Madrid my hometown. My passion is dance Flamenco, I´ve been dancing since I was a child. I also love to travel and practise outside sports like surf, trekking or running. Also, I love my profession which is digital marketer.

I speak Spanish because it´s my mother tongue and also I speak English because I was living in Ireland for a while.


Pues nunca lo había pensado… Pero creo que es necesario saber estar solos, no digo que me guste estar sola durante mucho tiempo, pero hay muchas veces que necesito tiempo para mi. Creo que ser capaz de pasar tiempo a solas y no sentir la necesidad de tener que estar con alguien más, lo considero como una oportunidad de acercamiento y conocimiento a mi María interior.

Well, I had never thought about it … But I think it is necessary to learn how to be alone, I am not saying that I like to be alone for a long time, but there are many times that I need time for myself.
I think that being able to spend time alone and not feeling the need to have to be with someone else, I believe it as an opportunity to get closer and know better my inner self.


Daniela is my niece (I love to be aunty Elena, even though all of my “real family” nieces and nephews are hundreds of kilometres away…).
I met her for the first time when she was already 11 years old. The occasion was Victor’s family reunion in US, after 4 years of being apart. But when I really fell in love with her was last October when we visited the family in the Dominican Republic for a wedding. She was so grown up! A special little woman. I think that out of all Victor’s family she is the one who gets me more, because I think she is reflexive and a bit introverted like me. And I suspect she has inside a bit of cynicism, which I love! Daniela has a strong personality and a thing for the drama… so I already picture her on a theatre stage with a bright future! Too soon?


I’m Daniela and I live in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I like to play soccer, do crafts and I also like watching movies and TikToks.

I speak Spanish and English because Spanish is my main language and I learned English at school. I also know a little Mandarin and French because I’ve been studying them at school for the last few years.


Para mi estar sola me hace sentir cómoda pero no me gusta estar sola sino estoy haciendo nada. Si estoy haciendo algo como pintando o tarea me gusta estar sola pero sino estoy haciendo nada no me gusta estar sola porque es aburrido. Aunque siempre estoy haciendo algo por el colegio, para entretenerme o también porque mi mamá me manda hacer cosas.

Being alone makes me feel comfortable, but I don’t like being alone if I’m not doing anything.
If I’m doing something like painting or homework I like to be alone but if I am not doing anything I don’t like it, because it’s boring. Although I’m always doing something for school, to entertain myself or also because my mom tells me to do things.


Luisito is Daniela’s little brother and he stole my heart. I literally melt with him. He reminds me a bit of Victor, especially because they both cry a lot.
After a week spent together in the US, he left with Daniela and their mum, Gabi, a couple of days before Victor and I flew back to Dublin. When we were hugging goodbye, I realised he was shaking and sobbing in my arms because he was heartbroken having to leave part of his family again. I was destroyed by it and totally in love. Gabi and Claudio, their parents, have been raising two special human beings and I’m so happy to be a little part of their lives.


I’m Luis Sebastian, I live in the Dominican Republic, to be more precise I live in Santo Domingo. Well, I would describe myself as a happy, active, responsible person. I also like to do various things like playing soccer, playing PS4, being with my family and more, but if I have to describe myself with only one word, I would say I am LOYAL.

I speak Spanish because it is my native language. I speak English because my parents registered me in a bilingual school and I also speak a little Mandarin, because I’m learning it at school.

Bueno para mi sentirme solo no es bonito, pero sé porque es así ahora y ese por qué es por que Dios quiere que aprendamos a vivir más en familia y permanecer juntos a pesar de las dificultades , yo me siento triste, pero me siento sostenido o sea significa que a pesar de la crisis yo me siento POSITIVO porque se que pronto terminara.

Well for me, feeling alone is not nice, but I know why it is so now and that is because God wants us to learn to live more within our families and stay together despite the difficulties.
I feel sad, but I feel supported. What I mean is that despite the crisis I feel POSITIVE because I know it will end soon.


Meet Gabi, my sister in law and mother of the two little ones you’ve just read about. She does one million things in her life and all of them in an excellent way. At the moment she is the manager of a Dental Clinic, a business consultant and a mum. I mean, I know that when you become a mother you are given superpowers, but she goes beyond it!
She is incredibly sweet inside and I found it so surprising how easily I could talk to her and connect with her when we first met, in spite of two very different life experiences.
Gabi had to restart all her life with her husband and 2 little children in another country, because Venezuela, where they are from, is so fucked up that nobody in their right mind would stay, if they have a chance to get a better and safer life.


I’m Gaby, daughter of God, I live in the Dominican Republic, although I am from Venezuela (you probably know why we had to leave our native country). I’m a 36-year-old woman with a beautiful family, a mommy of two wonderful preteens who day by day teach me how to live and be a better person. I dedicate myself to many things, being the ideal help for my husband and trying every day to be the wise woman who builds her house. I’m a professional in the health sector.
I live on an island that has the best beaches in the world. The people are very special, happy and jovial! I’m lucky enough to live where many people go on vacation. My native country is a latent dream and somewhere that I do not rule out returning to one day.

I only speak Spanish because honestly I have been undisciplined in learning English and it is a pending task of mine!

Me gusta estar sola! Siempre me ha gustado estar sola, comer, tomarme un café, degustar algo en soledad… leer, nutrirme y orar. Amo estar en mi hogar, con mis hijos. Este tiempo no ha representado algo incómodo o que deba detestar… Creo que todo lo contrario, es un tiempo de crecer, valorar, analizar, estar en calma. Sentir empatía real por quienes la están pasando mal que son muchos y aprender de esas experiencias para ser más conscientes de los cuidados que todos deberíamos ejecutar. Es un tiempo de reflexionar.


I like to be alone! I have always liked being alone, eating, having coffee, enjoying something in solitude… reading, nourishing myself and praying. I love being in my home, with my children. This time has not represented something uncomfortable or that I should detest … I think that quite the contrary, it is a time to grow, appreciate, analyze, be calm. To feel real empathy for those who are having a hard time – and there are many of them – and learn from this experience to look out for each other much more. It is a time to reflect.

gabi, daniela, luis


The way I met Mattia it’s really from the ’00s.
We interacted with each other on a Facebook post about some film, as we were both passionate about cinema. We kept chatting in private about cinema and one day we even met in Rome! I was living there at the time and he was visiting with his friends from Florence.
I hope one day I can go and see one of his performances at the theatre!


My name is Mattia, I am 29 years old, I am from Florence. I am a theatre actor, I work mainly in schools as an acting teacher and I hold theatre workshops for all ages. In my city, I organize music and theatre events, where I am often the protagonist together with my partner Ilaria, a professional pianist. Because I’ve always been passionate about cinema, I proudly grow my personal movie collection.

Unfortunately, I only speak Italian, which is my native language.
I say unfortunately because I’ve never really committed to learning a second language such as English. But never say never.


Per me essere soli significa non potermi esprimere attraverso la mia arte, non poter salire su un palcoscenico, non sentire alla fine di uno spettacolo gli applausi o anche più semplicemente il brusio del pubblico. Non poter svolgere i miei laboratori teatrali, non poter scambiare idee, pensieri, osservazioni. Non poter discutere su un argomento con nessuno… Questo per me significa sentirsi soli.

To me, being alone means not being able to express myself through my art, not being able to get on a stage, not hearing the applause or even more simply the buzz of the audience at the end of a show. Not being able to carry out my theatre workshops, not being able to exchange ideas, thoughts, observations. Not being able to discuss a topic with anyone… This means feeling lonely to me.


Claudia and I met at University. She studied Literature, while I was studying Art History. If I remember correctly, we met during the wait for a History of Cinema exam. She was ill and almost passing out because of the hot temperatures, so I think I kept her company (and awake!) until when was necessary. We became friends later and still are. She is one of the few friends I visit every single time I go to Rome. She is brilliant but should believe more in herself.  ♡


I was born and raised in the province of Messina, but I have lived in Rome for 15 years. I have been working in a communication agency for over 6 years, as a digital account and content strategist. I like to eat well and cook, if I can. I love books, video games and outdoor excursions.

I speak Italian because it is my native language, English for study and work and some Spanish because of some friends of mine.

Fortunatamente non credo di sapere cosa significhi ESSERE soli. Chi è solo non ha nessuno che si preoccupi per lui o che gli voglia bene. Non è il mio caso. STARE soli invece è un’occasione di libertà e introspezione, che può essere preziosa. Non mi pesa particolarmente, anzi vivendo in una metropoli come Roma è una condizione rara che ricerco nelle escursioni nei boschi del Lazio.


Thankfully I don’t think I know what BEING alone means. Those who are alone have no one who cares for them or who loves them. Not my case. STAYING on your own, on the other hand, is an opportunity for freedom and introspection, which can be precious. It does not bother me particularly, on the contrary living in a metropolis like Rome it’s a rare condition that I seek in my excursions in the Lazio woods.

The fourth part of the Isolation Portraits Project ends here. Share the article if you liked it!