They continued talking and sharing their experiences and feelings of being foreigners in a country. As Jules listened to each of their stories, she grasped what she’d been sensing for the past few weeks without being able to put a name to it. After so many years abroad, she felt like an outsider here, only this was the country she’d been born in and where she’d lived almost her entire life. She was curious about how they felt in this city that had become their home. She found it funny that they all had a favorite spot in the city, a favorite place to eat, their most hated bus lines, and hilarious stories about their nosy neighbors. They too had faced the hardships of being alone in a foreign country, of trying to understand cultural differences and a new language or slang and adapting to another culture while preserving their own. However, the hardest had been having to find jobs in a struggling economy and starting from scratch with nearly nothing. Her experiences had not been as extreme as theirs, and she only had feelings of admiration. Hers had been an adventure, seeking academic knowledge and a deeper understanding the world; theirs had been survival.
They spent the entire afternoon together. They said goodbye, exchanged numbers, and arranged to meet up again soon. Jules was bummed to call it a day. She had completely forgotten her worries and felt like she was back with her group of friends from abroad, exchanging details about their own countries around the globe.
She started walking back home with a slightly different mindset. She was starting to feel like things might not be so bad, and she would not feel as out of place anymore. As she continued, she started seeing her city through different eyes. She tried to recollect all the things they had told her about their own first impressions, their feelings, what they liked and disliked in Montevideo. She tried, as she’d done elsewhere many times before, to see the city through virgin eyes.
She slowed down her pace and allowed herself to look up. She paid attention to the buildings, the old ones and new ones – graffiti included –, the shape of the road, the monuments. Then, she focused on the skyline, the horizon above the water, the people on the beach. She tried to imagine their conversations, their hopes and their concerns. She saw the sun go down, and people clapping, as if congratulating themselves for living another day.
Slowly, she felt a huge weight lifting from her shoulders. She was appreciating her city in a way she never had. She’d always taken it for granted, like the background in which the movie that was her life was set. Static. However, she now realized the city was the protagonist, and her life, as the ones of all others, were supporting actors, guests.
She promised herself not to forget this feeling. To continue, wherever life might take her, to appreciate the everyday details that make a city and a moment in life. As her memories of the city clashed with these new perspectives, she saw things she hadn’t seen before. She thanked these new people for having shown her that, despite the cards you are dealt, the game is won by how you play them.
By the time she got back home, she was exhausted. She hugged both her parents and told them she was happy to be there with them; they hugged her tighter, with a mix of understanding and support. That night, they had dinner together and just talked about life, about her future plans, about all the possibilities she now had, instead of only the closed doors and unfinished roads she had seen until today.
She knew her plans would change a million times over the next few months; she was both excited and scared. She spent the following week catching up with friends and being a tourist in her own country. She was now ready to embrace uncertainty and to enjoy it every step of the way.
Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent
January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)
February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)
March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)
April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)
May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)
June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)
July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)
August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)
September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)
October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)
November: To be announced – (hopefully) Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)
December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)
Background – Context
Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)
Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)
Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
Credits: Montevideo, Uruguay – Ramirez beach – DFLC Prints (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed