In the face of uncertainty, hope prevails

After organising a long-desired six-month stay in South America, Davide leaves his country in an extreme situation due to Coronavirus. When he arrives in Uruguay, he finds a reality that is very different from his initial plan.

Exactly two months ago, I left my beloved Bologna to begin a six-month exchange period in South America, in Montevideo, Uruguay. I had waited for this chapter of my life for a long time, the desire to bet on myself and go to the other side of the world was indescribable, a desire that was born after my first Erasmus period in Spain. Yes, I was ready to face a new challenge, I was ready to look for novelty, that novelty that distracts me from the boredom of everyday life that, many times, each of us must face in our families, at work, at university, in our friendship circles.

After saying goodbye to everyone, I moved to the Uruguayan capital, charged and full of curiosity to live this experience that I knew would leave an indelible mark upon me. I was able to escape the lockdown in Italy, because of Coronavirus, by a few days. Seeing what then happened in Italy, I felt lucky to have arrived in Uruguay on time and to be able to live this experience, since the virus had not yet reached Uruguay. Of course, like everyone else, Uruguay and I also started to deal with Covid. In view of this emergency, especially in view of the many departures of other international students, questions began to arise about what to do: to return or to stay. With great awareness (or unconsciousness) I decided to stay here. In the face of uncertainty, hope prevails, the desire to live this experience to the fullest, even without knowing how the situation might evolve.

The situation is obviously not the best, it is not the situation I imagined living in. Boredom, loneliness and the impossibility of discovering this reality have left a great bitterness in my mouth. However, in such a moment, when it would seem crazy to be positive, two events occurred that made me change my perspective. Two events that I would never have imagined before I left. The first was discovering that my older sister is expecting her first child. Finally, in a scenario of death and illness that both Italy and my loved ones are experiencing, a great light, a sign of rebirth. The second, which seems even more absurd to me, is to have re-started participating in School of Community after several years. This event makes me laugh: starting a gesture like this on the other side of the world with complete strangers and, mostly, adults. This unexpected event has redeemed me from my condition of boredom and passivity, leading me to ask myself why I approached this community and, above all, a community that is not mine, the one I have never experienced.

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After a friend invited me to participate in School of Community, I found an attraction, not in the gesture itself, but in the faces I saw on the computer screen. Unfamiliar but immediately friendly faces. This event surprises me, this attraction to follow these people makes me feel alive and grateful, even though I cannot enjoy this South American life as I would have liked. Let us be realistic, in practice, nothing has changed in my daily life: online classes, thesis, cooking, movies, repeating all this everyday. But I must admit that even in this situation I am living in - which is surely incomparable to other situations in Europe, I still have the luxury of being able to go out whenever I want - I feel that there is something attractive, something that keeps me awake, something and someone that makes me think. Honestly, I do not have the courage to name this attraction, I do not know if it is the same one that John and Andrew saw and followed, but I know that it is present in my life, also here in Uruguay, even in this period of quarantine.

Davide, Montevideo, Uruguay