Amanda Guido Ochoa, a Mexican architect in Lombardy, Italy, is spending her time inside by looking outside her window. "I wonder how my neighbours perceive my presence: there is the window girl, with the melancholic gaze, as if she is waiting for something to happen."
One single person looking outside the window, at a cup of coffee or at a book, no doors in sight. Windows, always windows.
That is a common scene in an Edward Hopper’s painting. When I look at one of his works, I feel certain calm and familiarity, I feel like I could be one of these lonely and introspective characters and now, I became one.
Morning sun, Edward Hopper, 1952 (Picture credit: Edwardhopper.net)
My days start with a cup of coffee while I look at the morning dog walkers - not many of them - walking down the street. I never miss the sunset, not by chance. My favourite moment is the dusk, that time when it is not completely dark. When the sky is coloured in an intense blue, the other windows bathed in artificial light, like another painting that my window frames. I wonder how my neighbours perceive my presence: there is the window girl, with the melancholic gaze, as if she is waiting for something to happen.
'I wonder how my neighbours perceive my presence: there is the window girl, with the melancholic gaze, as if she is waiting for something to happen'
I moved to Italy six months ago from my warm Mexico to study a master’s degree. In the short period of vacation between the first and second semester, the outbreak happened. I decided to stay here, my current home. It is not that I don’t want to go back and see my family. It is just that I want to remain here, where my life is happening right now.
My first reaction was of course, pain. Why is this happening to me? I sacrificed everything I had to come here and now it is over, said my overly dramatic self. But then, my perception changed. I always loved to be alone, to have time for myself. I’m not a gregarious person, I often need time for myself to recuperate from social interaction. So, the part of being alone is not hard.
My window, photo by Amanda Guido Ochoa
Everything I planned, everything I worked hard for is on hold. This is only a pause that we all should take advantage of. I don't say this to reduce the seriousness of the situation or romanticise the quarantine. I know that many people are seriously ill and this whole situation is affecting the social fabric in so many ways.
'It is a call to stop, to slow down and become more aware of our place in the world'
However, that doesn’t mean that we need to live ruled by fear or anguish. This is an opportunity for self-reflection, for self-knowledge, a chance to reconnect with ourselves and gain back our authenticity. It is a call to stop, to slow down and become more aware of our place in the world.
This shall pass. Look outside your window and observe, the world and yourself.