In the first article on this blog I talked about my condition, that I call (N)ex(t)pat: I’m not a digital nomadic, I’m not an expat, I’m simply waiting to see which will be the progressions in my work and personal life, so that I’ll finally decide the right country between Italy and Ireland.
Talking about this, the end of the year is always a difficult moment: if my job as a freelance is uncertain during the rest of the year, in december it’s even worse since of the change of agencies and collaborations, and, like in the game of musical chairs, if you are not quick enough taking your seat, you are out. This year in particular I’m definitely in an unsecure situation: a lot of hopes for new jobs and projects but no guarantees on times. Old jobs which probably will end in fifteen days but no sureness about it either. What to do? I don’t know. I’ll see. I’ll survive, as I always did. Something will have to happen, this is sure. For the moment I’m stuck again with my usual december ticket: one way to Ireland and a lot of thoughts.
The thing is: every time I enter a difficult, confused period, in me I find the certainty that the destiny is at the door and some happenings are just its timid knocking. So I want to tell you a story that happened few nights ago, when I thought to see a sign in a simple conversations ended in an unexpected gift.
Genoa is a dangerous city: in its maze-like historical center are hidden criminality and border stories, and turning any corner, entering any narrow street, you never really know what will happen. This is why everyone knows that, especially at night, it’s better to not give too much confidence to strangers, and often you miss the pleasure of a talk for the fear that it will become something more.
I don’t live in the centre and I move with public transportation: full buses depart every twenty minutes from Caricamento, near the Aquarium in the Ancient Port zone, to take people to the west of the city. These buses sometimes are dangerous as a walk in the historical centre, in the best case are just full of drunk, half sleepy people.
Friday night, as I was waiting for the bus, a man came close to me: he had a bag of tobacco and needed a paper. He saw me smoking a hand-rolled cigarette and so he asked. When I gave him the paper, he asked me to roll him a cigarette cause he wasn’t able. Mostly I don’t do this, but I decided to make an exception, so in the while we started to talk. His name is Viorel, he said, “like Fiorello in italian, but starting with V”, and he was coming from Strasbourg. He lives in Italy, but he is romanian.
“Strasbourg in France, sixteen hours of train to come back here. But here, at least, is not so cold.”
He had light eyes and typical features of balcanic people. Smiled a lot. He said he’s happy in Italy and that he is worried for his son, who is taking a degree in Economics in Romania. He was bad dressed and not very clean, but he seemed to not care. He wanted to offer me a coffee, but I declined: it was almost half past one and the one departing was the last bus.
I said him that I’ve never been to Strasbourg; he took out og his pocket a map of the city and showed me one of the main churches and where he had been. Then he gave me the map: he wasn’t needing it anymore, anyway. I didn’t need either that map, written in french, of a city that maybe I’ll never see in my life, but I accepted it and we smiled. On it there’s written, in pen, a direction to reach Genova Quarto’s Church.
After saying bye at his stop I thought of the meeting and of the unexpected gift that a stranger decided to randomly give to me, during a friday night at a bus stop where I never talk to anyone. I thought that a map is a beautiful gift and with a very deep meaning in a moment like the one I’m in, so confused and lost. I think destiny wanted to tell me something: I’m surely lost at the moment, but with a symbolic map, maybe obscure and out of my usual destinations, I’ll find again the way.
Nothing is by chance. Thanks Viurel, happy holidays to you too!