While I walk in Holland, sometimes I have a look inside its buildings, through the large windows, kind to the precious and rare northern light. Normally it is just a quick glance, but I do not know for how long I stared into this room. Perhaps not more than usual, but I am not sure of that.
The workshop, or study, did not seem untended, I could not see the signs of the time, such as dust or some spiderwebs, even though a nylon bag protected something. In the beginning it was not difficult to imagine the room full of people, maybe students. Still, watching this picture again and again, I have the strong feeling that nothing must have hapenned before the instant in which I took the picture, as nothing would happen anymore.
It is an image that I like not for the decisive moment, but for the infinite immobility.
During the flight that brought me to my family in Italy, I met a Dutch doctor who has been living and working in Italy for more than twenty years. We could not help speaking about how you feel when you stay for a very long period in a Country that is not the one where you were born and grew up in.
It is a difficult topic, it makes me moody, since my feelings keep on swinging between conflicting positions. Inspired by the title of my next photographic exhibition, my new friend told me that he feels “in between” still now. For an instant I thought his confidence was not a big consolation, it sounded more as a sentence. I expected a more definitive solution, even though I appreciated the apparent simplicity of his words.
Then he revealed that it will be the same for me, I will never be completely sure about living there or here. Anyway he spoke to me with a Buddhist smile, strengthening my opinion that it is possible to be happy as an expat, luckily not in exile, but deliberately abroad..
I am a foreign in my own homeland and the opposite at the same time, without regret. I understand it when I leave, when I come back home there and here, when I eat a sandwich during lunch, when I eat pasta during lunch, when someone tell me I am Dutch by now and I do not know how to reply, when someone tell me I am still Italian and I struggle to reply.
On second thought, it is true what is written on the magnetic photo that my angel gave me once. It is stuck on our freezer now, it represents a family in a van full of baggage and it says:
Having a place to go is a home.
Having someone to love is a family.