This is not what I thought my next post would be.
If I have any regular readers out there, you may have been wondering where I have been. I apologize for the cliffhanger. The last you heard from me was in July 2019. I was about to move home to the U.S. after a three and 1/2 year move to Belgium with my family. My next post here was going to tell you how that move went and how repatriation went. It just took me longer than expected to get around to it.
We made the move. It had its ups and downs. We repatriated. It had its ups and downs. There is a lot to say. I still intend to write about it here, hopefully soon, while it still seems relevant coming from me. In fact, I was drafting posts about it all and pondering when to finalize the first one when, about a month after arriving home, I had an unexpected health scare that threw me for a loop. Things slowed down for me. Rest, health, and family time took priority. Maybe I’ll write more about all that eventually, too. I haven’t decided yet.
Bottom line, I am okay, but to be honest, I lost my creative mojo for a little bit and have been trying to find my way back. I was trying to figure out how to write the closing of RB Abroad and how to frame and shape what came next.
And now here we are, facing Coronavirus. I am freaking the f*$% out. I am an anxious person on my best days. Face me with a global health pandemic that threatens everything I care about, I’m going deep into some panic. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about trying to find some distraction. Trying to do something else with my time and my thoughts.
I have been moved by the viral posts, especially last week, of people on “lockdown” gathering on their balconies, singing together or cheering for healthcare workers. There’s one with a guy on one patio playing keyboard and another guy on another patio playing saxophone, playing Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On which had me actually bawling. I’ve seen touching photo essays of people out on their balconies, uniting while divided, getting as much fresh air and sunshine as possible. It inspired me to make my own photo essay here.
It got me thinking about my travels and the photos I have taken capturing both patios (or as Europeans tend to say, terraces) and windows, mostly in Europe but also on other continents. Under normal circumstances we take for granted these spaces that connect our inside, private worlds with the outside world. In this unimaginable moment in time (if we are following expert’s guidelines and staying home) we rely on these spaces to help us break free from confinement, help us get fresh air, and help us connect with other humans at a safe distance.
When I’ve traveled I’ve often been interested in views of these spaces from the outside – how people use them and make them their own. I’ve found it therapeutic and distracting to look back through my photos and compile them here to share. Maybe they will give you a little distraction, too, if you need one. I hope you enjoy them, and I hope you can enjoy whatever window, patio, terrace, or space you have in the world today.
*this post’s cover photo is from Koksijde, Belgium during a parade.
I close with this woman in Naples. You may notice most of my photos don’t have people in them. I tend to avoid taking pictures of people without their knowing, just out of respect, but I couldn’t resist photographing this woman. She seemed to exude the essence of Napoli to me. People everywhere, balconies everywhere, laundry drying everywhere. I loved experiencing that gritty, bustling city. It had such a unique spirit and vibe. As I hear the sad news continue to come out of Italy, I can’t stop thinking about it. As I look through my photos and think about my travels in general, I can’t stop thinking about all these places and all the people in them and this crazy, painful tragedy that we are all experiencing together.
Wherever you are, take care and be well.