Montevideo is bigger than I remembered and the rain has been falling almost continuously since my arrival a couple of days ago. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s grey. People hurry to get to their destination, focused on the path before them. I long for the familiar streets of Mercedes, the town where I suffered loneliness and consuming self-doubt – but also found love and friends.
The first week, I hardly leave my boyfriend’s room. I can’t believe it. I thought I had left my old self behind – but here I am, anxious and sluggish again, just like one year ago. My creativity has died, I have nothing to write about and my camera sits unused in the big bagpack I borrowed from my dad. I keep postponing my photo shoots because I can’t find the courage to venture out, facing people and the new environment.
Then, on Tuesday of my second week here, I finally have my first shoot. My model is Mikaela, the first girl who contacted me via Instagram to volunteer. Even before meeting her I knew we’d get along perfectly. She is one of those incredibly open, lovely and warm people – just the right person to break the ice that has kept me immobile for over a week.
The sun finally shines bright, but it’s winter and the wind is rigid. I choose a spot next to the sea. I adore the sea and it’s one of the things I love most about Uruguay. We realise too late that a homeless person is sitting next to my chosen spot with his bags and blankets, but Mikaela doesn’t mind so we’re photographing next to him. He is amused; I’m sure he hasn’t been entertained so well for quite a while.
Mikaela fights bravely against the freezing water that dampens her feet and legs and the unyielding wind that gives her goose bumps. I love the sea behind her, the wild waves, the blue sky and the wind. Freedom. I’m alive and happy, doing what I love. I want to capture the essence of the place, the feeling that fills me here at this very spot (tell me in the comments if I’ve succeeded).
And just like that, the ice breaks. I’m back, my desire to create is overwhelming and I’m eager to shoot again. The same week, I have four more shoots, exploring different locations, seeing the old with new eyes. I don’t worry about getting robbed anymore and transform into the version of myself I love so much. Confident, creative, passionate.
I’ve finally arrived in Uruguay.
I hope you’re doing well! <3 I have SO many things to share with you guys and even though my days are busy, I am definitely going to blog more often in the next few days and weeks! Take care :*