Our canned life is not over yet: even if we don’t have anymore an official lock-down, it is not time to let our guard down, and we all are responsible in doing our best.
It is not that in the meantime there is nothing to say: rather, the problem is how to rearrange the whole tsunami of emotions and discoveries of this canned life, during and beyond the lock-down, from this observatory in Abu Dhabi.
I could tell you about the story of the Little Match Girl abroad (but “after all, you went to look for it”, ok).
About that pain that hurts and does not heal: an important part of your life is taking place there, in Italy, without you, between yellow, orange and red areas that are suddenly very far and inaccessible.
Meanwhile, here your work, your routines, your little world, even the fierce struggle to keep resilient… in short: every single thing, seems to crumble.
But, instead, I would like to talk about other explorations and discoveries from my canned life in Abu Dhabi, as I have pinned them down during the hard 2020, thinking that every discovery would deserve a post, but then I didn’t find the words, and I think that too many words are not required.
Notes of explorations and discoveries from a canned life
Very random, from my notes:
📌 Realizing the odd coincidences that, just during these times, led you to live between a cemetery under maintenance (!) and a busy maternity hospital
📌 The sirens and the suddenly silent sky.
📌 The alert screaming on your mobile phone, to notify the curfew: the first few times it freezes your blood, and then you learn to appreciate that sound as a blessed friendly voice.
📌 Mask plus gloves at forty degrees, with the sweat dripping, streams flowing from your plastic gloves.
📌 Mask plus gloves plus eyeglasses fogged up by humidity, and how on earth can you clean them when your hands are soaked in those plastic gloves.
📌 [and no, it is not true that we were used to the masks from the sandstorms of past years]
📌 Inventing a “protective suit” to go shopping and craving for an abaya and a niqab.
📌 Inventing a “decontamination zone” in your small apartment for when you come back from the supermarket.
📌 Closed pedestrian underpasses, and “packed” benches.
📌 Packed Corniche.
📌 Municipality workers cleaning the streets, painting the railings, taking care of the trees, planting flower beds, and in every gesture of their work, seeing the celebration of propitiatory rituals.
📌 Ten floors of stairs going down, and ten stairs going up, to avoid the elevator.
📌 Ten floors of stairs going down, and on the mezzanine floor you realize that you have forgotten your mask.
📌 The drive-through test from a taxi, with the taxi driver (more nervous than you) giving you the statistics of the infection in his country.
📌 And also the cashier, the doorman, the colleague, and the call center employee giving you the statistics in their countries, and at the end of days like this you feel like a Johns Hopkins map.
📌 Yalla Italia, ma’am, yalla Italia, habibti, and the pain hurts a little less.
📌 Fear in the eyes of all colors.
📌 The beauty of a smile through eyes of all colors.
📌 Macaques of all nationalities, so merciless, so cruel and indifferent to any pandemic.
📌 Archangels of all nationalities, so generous and stronger than any macaque instinct.
📌 Corniche, immediately after reopening, with the beach divided into circles, the turquoise water and unknown birds fishing for breakfast.
📌 Greeting each other among strangers, in some way not stranger anymore.
📌 Getting on the beach in your “circle”, finally being able to safely remove your mask, feeling the scent of the sea, “that scent of Abu Dhabi”.
📌 Discovering how green Abu Dhabi is, and resist the temptation to hug a naam tree.
📌 Runners over forty degrees, who, only a few months ago, would have taken their car just to cross the road.
📌 Stray cats puzzled, and the dedication of all those who have taken care of them.
📌 Finding yourself on your balcony, in the middle of the night, thinking how to put together the jumbled puzzle of your life, and discovering that there are “dirimpettai,” in balconies in front of you, who in all the languages of the world are sharing your same feeling.
📌 The excitement when, after so many months, for the first time, you hear an airplane roaring again.
📌 Working on line.
📌 Iftar online, Easter online, Christmas online, New Year’Eve online, Birthdays online.
📌 Chatting, messaging, connecting on line, and the online nausea.
📌 Chatting, messaging, connecting on line, and thank goodness there is the online connection which, like a tide, brings you back precious pieces of your life and, as if by magic, brings you new ones.
📌 Feeling like being in the dark and disoriented.
📌 Feeling like suddenly someone takes you by your hand and starts dancing with you in the dark.
📌 Feeling less expat and more resident.