COUNTRY OF PROVENANCE
Avicenna #20quarantine stories – Let’s start!
Where does the word quarantine come from? The Persian Avicenna in 1025 theorized the 40 days of isolation to prevent infections’ spreading. #20quarantinestories
Giselle and the missed marriage because of covid19
Ten years ago, I was in Argentina, I lived for some time in Buenos Aires and there I met Giselle who became one of my closest friends. We travelled together, our families met, despite the distance we are part of each other’s lives. We met in Barcelona last summer and Ale, her boyfriend, had just asked her to marry her.
Initially she didn’t want to celebrate with a big party, but I told her that it should be neither small nor large, but a party of exactly the right size to contain all the people she wanted next to her to celebrate her love and her new family! Thus, when she returned to Argentina, she began the preparations for the wedding.
It was supposed to be on April 10th, I bought plane tickets and booked a room in a house at the Tigre. The Tigre is an area outside Buenos Aires, on the delta of the Rio de la Plata. I know that place thanks to her, there is a fantastic atmosphere with greenery with stilt houses on the water of the canals.
The dreamed party
I dreamed of a party with many little lights to decorate the garden, a beautiful bride, and the hosts happy of all those people who came from various parts of the world to celebrate them. I imagined a night of Italian-Argentine music and food, to dance the “tuca tuca” with Giselle on the notes of Raffaella Carrà, to meet all the important people in her life … I had bought a long blue cotton dress for the occasion.
Instead, something uncontrollable happened, something that left us all terrified and blocked everything, forcing us to stay closed in our homes for our own good and above all that of others.
The first few weeks Italy was in the eye of the storm. I often heard Giselle to update her on the state of things and when I realized that there would be no possibility to leave, I told her with a boulder instead of my heart that I could not go to celebrate her, but I wished her the best wedding in the world!
The missed wedding
Giselle was very sad… after a few days, cases of Covid19 also occurred in Argentina. Initially, they were Italians that had arrived in Buenos Aires from Milan. They were just a few dozen, but then the government also closed everything there. Giselle, however, had already decided to cancel the marriage.
What is the point of celebrating when the world is so scaring around you? People would not have been calm; guests would not have enjoyed that moment of celebration … and above all there are things that we cannot control. As much as we try to organize something down to the smallest detail, we plan the future and try to teach time and space to our liking, life does not depend solely on us, there are things that escape from our hands.
Imagining planning everything would be like thinking of grabbing water. It slips away, cannot be captured, leaves only a sense of “wet” on the hands, sometimes pleasant, sometimes less. So is the situation we are experiencing … and then we might as well accept it for what it is. Life is unpredictable.
The beauty of the unpredictable
I thought about when we had organized a trip to Turkey with Giselle and there was a coup. So, I proposed a camping trip, starting from Rome and arriving in Corsica. We changed places every night, assembled and dismantled the tent, inflated and deflated the mattress, ate fish, drank Corsican beer, we let ourselves be lulled by the summer and what had to be a cautious “fallback” turned into one of the most beautiful journeys that we made together!
When we hear ourselves on video call and think of everything that could have been and has not been in these two months, the complicated situation in Argentina, especially in the favelas where there is no social distancing and the victims are not counted, what is going on in Italy – which is the land of her ancestors – still so shaken by the virus … a sad look escapes us and then a smile, because life is this and gives us the opportunity to be together even if only virtually.
At an ocean of distance, we are with a heart full of joy that beats fast at the thought of all the things we lived in these years since we know each other, at the love that has come for both when we had almost lost trust, at the next time we can hug each other again… I will take her by car to some corner of our beautiful Europe singing a song at the top of our voices and being grateful for what we have: each other.
The cover picture is from Mia Marinkovic on IG @mia_marin_kovic
December 2020 update: the quarantine in Argentina was one of the longest in the world. It began on March 20 and it was only in December that it was possible to circulate within the country again (with distinctive permits and social distance measures). Even with these measures, they do account for 1.5 million cases, 40 thousand deaths, a shattered economy and deepening of social problems. We do not know when the marriage could be, also because in March there will be a new guest in the family. Giselle and Ale are waiting for their first daughter, she took them by surprise as much as the pandemic. She will be named Roma, in honor of the city that stole their hearts, Giselle’s Italian origins and the city that saw Elisabetta, the one who writes, growing up 😊