Each one of the friends I’m introducing to you, reminds me of how many different people I have been. How many personas I wore. But I can also see my own pattern.
The first time I saw Rossella, we were in class, at the university, waiting to give an exam on Contemporary Art. I was with a friend and Rossella arrived breathless and a bit worried. She came to us – we didn’t know her – and she asked something about the curriculum etc. She said she just read the book the previous night, because she didn’t have time. She was beautiful and in that moment looked a bit tattered. So I thought she was one of those not very bright people who, even though registered to Humanistic Studies, never had read a book outside of school (yes, I met a few people like that).
I was very wrong and very quickly I found that out! As we were following different courses, we didn’t have a chance to spend much time together back then, but after we graduate, we started a Master together and we bonded more. She is a very sensitive soul and all her inside beauty emerges from everything she does. She is a very talented illustrator and an excellent cook. When I saw her office during the video call, I was amazed by how she transformed the empty space I saw a few years ago in a cosy corner for her creativity.
But the thing I love the most about her house is the view from her kitchen’s window. Rome. Home.
I’m Rossella, but most of people call me Ross. I currently live in Rome, the city where I was born but I have lived in many places. I love to travel, meet new people and get to know different habits and cultures thoroughly, that’s why when I had the chance I lived several months or years in other countries. I really enjoy reading, walking, cooking and I love taking care of my plants (of which sometimes go out of control like my giant avocado!😅) Another of my greatest passions is drawing. When I draw I can make my thoughts flow and I can transmit my emotions and feelings ♡
I speak Italian because it’s my mother tongue.
I speak English cause I lived in different Anglophone countries. I speak Spanish cause I lived two years in Barcelona and as a souvenir I decided to get a spanish husband back.
Credo ci siano molti tipi di solitudine. Essere soli in determinati momenti della nostra vita è qualcosa che serve alla nostra crescita, alla creazione della nostra indipendenza. Così essere soli vuol dire poter contare su noi stessi, imparare ad ascoltarci e conoscerci. Amo essere sola in questo senso. Amo avere del tempo per me e dedicarmi ai miei progetti, alle miei passioni, poter riflettere lucidamente. La solitudine che invece mi spaventa è quella dell’abbandono e della perdita dei miei cari. La consapevolezza di non avere più dei punti di riferimento, come la propria famiglia o le persone che amiamo, questo sì, potrebbe gettarmi in uno stato di profondo sconforto e solitudine. Questa è la solitudine che non vorrei.
I believe there are many types of loneliness. Being alone in some moments of our life is something that help us growing up, the creation of our independence. So being alone means being able to count on ourselves, learn to listen and know ourselves. I love to be alone in this sense. I love having time for myself and dedicating to my projects, to my passions, to be able to reflect clearly.
The loneliness that frightens me though, is abandonment and loss of the loved ones. The awareness of no longer having points of reference, such as your family or the people we love. This yes, could throw me into a state of deep despair and loneliness. This is the loneliness that I don’t want.
I’m not a person with hundreds of friends. I’m quite particular in choosing the people I want to spend time with. I always look for something meaningful and/or weird in people. Otherwise, I’m not interested much. But this doesn’t mean that I don’t try, almost desperately, to find those shine in every person I meet. So imagine me when I moved to Dublin and constantly met new people. I was very much trying to find someone to share my interests and time with. One day, in the English academy I was paired with Alaitz to do an exercise. When we finished I asked her if she knew who Cillian Murphy was, because he was coming to the Olympia theatre and wanted to go. She said yes, she knew him (but I always suspected it was a lie, lol) and she would have loved to go with me and see the play. So off we went for my first play in an Irish theatre! It was a lovely night, we had dinner and enjoy the cheapest and farther seats at the top of the theatre. We roasted there (it was very warm!) and we probably understood 15% of the dialogues, but still were very excited for the cultural experience and for a new blooming friendship.
I am Alaitz and I live in The Basque Country. I am a primary school teacher and I love my work. My hobbies are climb mountains and cooking.
I speak Basque because it’s my mother tongue. I use it for my work and with my family and friends. I speak Spanish in some shops and with people who don’t know Basque. I speak English when I travel.
Niretzat bakarrik egotea, ingurukoekin sintonia desberdinean egotea da. Hau da, batzuetan jendez inguratuta egon gaitezke baina oso bakarrik sentitu, beste batzuetan aldiz, inguruan fisikoki iñor izan ez arren, gehien maite ditugun hoiek ondoan ditugula sentzen dugu, bakardadea zer den gogoratu ere egin gabe.
In my opinion to be alone is to be in different attunement with your surroundings. You can be surrounded by people and feel very lonely, or you can be with no one around, but feel the people you love very close to you, completely forgetting about loneliness.
I don’t remember exactly how I met Stefano during my university studies, but it was probably through mutual friends. He is the biggest introverted, but once he gains a bit of confidence is a very interesting person to be around.
During my years in Rome, he was one of the people who tried to upgrade my musical knowledge. He also was one of the friends I most enjoyed to talk about cinema with. I still remember when he first told me about the new series of Batman by Christopher Nolan. I was never interested in superhero movies, but he told me “No, this looks so interesting! Nolan is going to rebuild the image of Batman in a much darker way!” And hell he did!
But something that I really loved was when, talking about something that had happened, we started creating a whole story about it and imaging to transform it into a film or a novel! Well, I actually referred to him as “the screenwriter”!
I was born in Avellino but I lived in Rome for ten years before moving permanently to Seregno, in Brianza, where I found peace and serenity thanks to my partner. I will have forever the vice of Art as my main form of expression. As a journalist, musician and writer, Music, Cinema and Literature are the three universal mothers who will never abandon me. It’s in my nature to unite them in every moment of my existence to continuously give life to productions that express, together, the vision I have of the world and my probable role within it.
I speak Italian because it’s my native language. And when I feel comfortable I show off a terrifying mix of Campania and Roman dialect with Lombardian inflection that would also frighten Pasolini. For several years, I have been strangely very familiar with English (more American than British). This arised in a somewhat singular way. For sure my academic path and my passions have guided me through the deepening of millions of records and the vision of various anglophone films. But only after an English language exam at the university, which included a conversation on a film of my choice after the usual written grammar test, I began to feel more confident, so much that I can even hold a conversation. Who knows, maybe my mind had learned to do it even before then, without even realise it.
Sono cosciente del fatto che, per molti, stare da soli è motivo di enorme sconforto, immobilismo, depressione. Non è così per me, almeno non lo è più da molto tempo. Per quanto io possa sembrare immobile anche a me stesso nella maggior parte dei momenti vuoti o apparentemente statici e insignificanti, ho imparato a conoscere questo aspetto come, in realtà, una continua occasione naturale di apprendimento e ideazione. Nei momenti di solitudine, sia fisica che interiore, anche se il corpo a volte non risponde come vorrei, la mente assimila e crea mondi possibili, ipotizza suoni e li riversa in opere di ampio respiro, crea strutture per storie che forse non racconterò mai ma i cui brandelli finiranno sempre in qualcosa di mio pugno, fosse anche solo un articolo, due accordi o qualche appunto sparso sulla scrivania. Per mia natura, stare da soli vuol dire avere l’occasione di continuare a guardarsi dentro anche senza averne consapevolezza.
I’m aware that, for many people being alone is a source of enormous despair, immobility, depression. It is not so for me, at least it has not been for a long time. However motionless I may seem even to myself in most of the empty or seemingly static and insignificant moments, I learned to know this aspect as, in reality, a continuous natural opportunity for learning and ideation. In moments of solitude, both physical and internal, even if the body sometimes does not respond as I would like, the mind assimilates and creates possible worlds, hypothesizes sounds and pours them into wide-ranging works, creates structures for stories that perhaps I will never tell but whose shreds will always end up in something in my hand, even if it were just an article, two chords or some notes scattered on the desk. To me being alone means having the opportunity to continue looking within yourself even without being aware of it.
Nami is another of the people I met in the English academy when I moved to Dublin. She is very shy, but I am quite persistant, so I managed to make her living the European life, lol. The first time we went out for lunch together she explained that in Japan it is very uncommon for a woman to smile in public, because that behaviour can be misenterpreted by people (specifically men). But she couldn’t stop laughing in the restaurant when I was trying to show her the different shades of smiles that can be used: the friendly smile, the pick up smile etc. I think she relaxed a bit about her public behaviour after that day!
During the years we have collaborated on her craft brand, moNamí, which was a lot of fun for me, between building her website, logo, photographing the products etc.
I’m Japanese. I’m living in Japan.
I speak Japanese. It’s my parents tongue. When I talk with myhusband, I speak English, because he is French.
Also I had lived in Ireland for 4years and half. When I was leaning at the school, I spoke English with my friends.
Being alone it’s usually a meaningful time to relax. Enjoying a relaxing time. Enjoying your favorite flavor of coffee, read your favorite novel, listen to music, play games, etc. But when a person is forced to be alone, it becomes a bit cramped.
However, refraining from going out is important for today’s society. In order to protect the important people around me, I’ll put up a little now and refrain from going out.
The first time I met Claudio in person, it was in the corridor of the craziest hotel of New York, something in between a Wes Anderson movie and Il ragazzo di campagna di Pozzetto. He flew from Santo Domingo, more or less surprising each of us (that was a family trip).
He is an hombre de corazón, extremly generous and the latin version of Tarantino’s Mr Wolf: he solves problems.
I’m very happy to have him in my family. I’m pretty sure no family reunion will be boring with him around!
Claudio is now in lockdown in Venezuela, where he travelled to visit her parents. He was cought by the sudden lockdown and flight cancellation, so he’s now divided from his wife and children, until people will be allowed to travel again.
The tragic thing about the Covid situation in Venezuela is that many cities suffer from sudden blackouts, due to the disgraceful “goverment” that has distroyed the country in the last 15 years or so. Can you imagine to live your quarantine without electricity? No tv, no internet, no oven, not even light to read a normal book?
I live in the Dominican Republic but with ties to Venezuela where I was born, with Italian roots.
I am a Dentist, University Professor and consider myself a man of the world. I have lived in 4 countries and I am still looking for more.
I speak Italian because I lived and grew up surrounded by Italians and Spanish because I was born in Venezuela. I speak a bit of English, but when I do so I feel like a baby. Improve my English is the pending task of my life!
Estar solo me hace sentir libre y en busca de mi yo interior, ser libre de horarios o de críticas, de compromisos, me ha hecho pensar más en mi mismo cómo ser humano y mis proyectos. También en la importancia de la familia y de mi esposa, hijos, padres, amigos y equipos de trabajo.
Es como redescubrir con nuevos propósitos.
Being alone makes me feel free and in search of my inner self, being free of schedules or criticism, of commitments. It has made me think more about myself as a human being and my projects.
Also in the importance of the family and my wife, children, parents, friends and team members.
It is like rediscovering life with new purposes.
It’s strange, with Marimina I always feel like I’m standing in front of a representative of the ancient Greek culture. Maybe it’s because she’s actually the only Greek person I’ve ever met.
Greek culture has always fascinated me since I started my classical studies in high school. The mythology, the language which is still present in our daily conversation, the philosophy, the theatre, arts, architecture… Greece gave so much to European civilization!
Marimina with her wit personality, her culture and her elegance embodies it all. (I mean, she looks elegant even in her yoga outfit!)
My name is Maria and I’m from Greece. For the past six years I’ve been living in Ireland, where I completed my studies and now working in community as a pharmacist. I’m very passionate about my job, particularly when it comes to helping or taking care of people. Although I enjoy being around people, communicating, connecting or socialising, I am a great introvert! When I’m on my own, I love reading books, learning new languages or taking up classes like yoga, dancing or cooking/baking. Another great passion of mine is traveling and learning about different cultures and traditions. I spend most of my days working, but when I’m off I like keeping myself busy with various activities. My dream is to discover my true passion and use it to inspire other people and create a positive impact in the world.
I speak Greek because I’m from Greece and it’s my mother tongue. Just to clarify, I speak modern Greek like most Greek people, although I was taught ancient Greek at school which I can understand but almost never use on my daily life. I speak English as I now live and work in Ireland. I know how to speak French but I only use it when I m traveling or want to read or speak with my French friends. I am learning how to speak Spanish…It all started with a crazy group of friends/ “family” and I guy I fell in love with, and now my goal is to become fluent in it. I don’t speak neither Italian nor Portuguese but as most people assume that I come from those countries and start talking to me, I can understand a few words and engage in simple conversations.
Being alone to me means…
Ευκαιρία για αυτογνωσία και επανασύνδεση με τον εαυτό
Opportunity for self-knowledge and self-connection
(Αυτογνωσία pronounced aftognosía, is a Greek word meaning the knowledge of one’s self Αυτός/εαυτός = self, γνώση = knowledge) I choose this word because every time I’m alone, I feel alone or I get to spend time alone I find more marvelous ways to reconnecting with myself and discover something new about me.
The third part of the Isolation Portraits Project ends here. Share the article if you liked it!