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An Italian in London: when #restoacasa is a far idea

“We are setting the biggest example for the rest of the world. So, of course, everything will be fine…”

By Camilla Alcini

“Everything will be fine”. Three words started to circulate on some post-its in Northern Italy, then a hashtag, today a mantra.

“Everything will be fine, everything will be fine, everything will be fine…”

When on New Year's Eve, under the fireworks, we dreamed of 2020, no one would have ever imagined that an unknown virus arriving from China would have been able to upset the lives of an invaluable number of people, of the whole world. We never thought we would see spring bloom from inside our homes, schools closed before June and attend rows of people outside the supermarkets at night. Underestimating a problem is part of human nature and in a certain sense I’ve always believed that it is also an authentic self-defense mechanism, that of postponing until the problem screams in your face to become so imposing that you can no longer ignore it. It is easy to look at past mistakes from a present perspective, and so today we clearly notice the negligence of a few weeks ago.

I’ve been living in London since September, where I started university. Moving abroad means developing duality in every aspect of life: keeping your culture in mind but adapting to the reality that you meet every day. These days, dualism has resulted in frustration, melancholy. The frustration is that of someone who speaks with a deaf person: us Italians in London are shouting, tweeting, sending emails, but Great Britain just doesn't hear, or rather, doesn't listen.

Not even if in support of our screams there are those of experts and above all, the facts come. I’ve experienced strange days lately. On the one hand, the attempt to maintain normal behavior, on the other, updates from my friends and family in Italy. Then there were moments, most of which, when I felt quarantined with my country. Because the worst part of the situation is that you can hardly spend more than five minutes without thinking about the virus. And thinking about the virus for me was reminding me that I am Italian, and that I have to try to contribute even if at a distance, even if only with thought.

“The situation in the UK in terms of coronavirus infections and deaths is four weeks behind what is currently happening in Italy”, said Boris Johnson. So why not take advantage of this time advantage? Often I gave to my country, I am a brain on the run, I am part of the more than 100 thousand young Italians who leave Italy every year to build their future abroad. Precisely for this reason today, from a distance, I can say that I’m proud of my land. Sometimes you have to stop before you run, and we're doing it, you're doing it. It’s on the strength of our resistance and cooperation that we must focus. We are a great people, a people who in complex situations have always shown their ability to go further.

We are giving the biggest example to the rest of the world. So, of course, everything will be fine…