Ivan is like no one I’ve ever met, and not just because I’ve never met anyone from Colombia. He’s a self described vagabond who, even though English is only one of his five languages, speaks more eloquently than anyone I know. Could be that latino accent I suppose. Or it could be the fact that he’s a citizen of the world who has lived in more countries than I have apartments. That narrative earns him an outlook and understanding few can share. His lack of peers in the field must leave him for want of a little empathy. Showing up in a new country with no home or job has got to be tough, even if he won’t let himself admit it.
I’ve only moved to another country once, twice if you take into account being born in Italy but for these purposes I will not. I moved to Boston when I was 21 to do a semester at a Fine Art school there. I cried every night for at least a week. I don’t really remember why specifically but breaking a safe tie is jarring. I cried when I moved to Toronto too and this was the safest place I could have ever landed. I guess it’s fear of the unknown, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of being alone. Ivan has made a life of voluntarily existing in this state of anxiety or as he calls it - anguish. And that is where we found our common ground. We’re a couple of nervous wrecks from opposite Americas.
Our other common ground is of course our one mutual friend who met Ivan when he lived in Mexico City, then again when they both lived in New York. She connected us through email suggesting ”you guys are mythical with your names and stature”. No pressure. I’ve been trying to show him a good time including this Sunday afternoon coffee . After two weeks he’s gotten a job, a place to live and is already running into new friends on the street. He’s going to be just fine.