At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 has been difficult for so many people across the world. At the beginning of the pandemic, we reached out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We wanted to identify and share both the positive and negative stories emerging from the situation. Over a year on from the start of the pandemic, we’re reaching out again…
Originally from Madrid, Santi works in our WCIA Communications team. He has a background in Communications, Latin American Politics, and Spanish teaching. He reached out to Danilo Napoli, an Italian national based in Brussels, Belgium working in the private sector.
Here’s his story
It was April 2017 when I moved to Brussels from Milan. At the age of 26, I had already a stable job in an international financial institution, a good network of friends and a pretty bright professional future. However, I felt unhappy. It was not challenging enough for me, and I was eager to work in a truly international and multicultural environment. What is better than Brussels, the capital of the European institutions, the heart of Europe?–I thought.
It did not take me long to find a job in Brussels, and I still remember that exciting feeling during the one-way flight from Milan with destination my new European dream. Known for its polyglot and multicultural daily life, Brussels represented an enriching experience for me. However, I suddenly woke up in spring 2020. With the Covid-19 pandemic, I found myself in a new apartment, new flat-mates, no professional project, and lots of free time to think about life. I started asking myself the most dangerous question: Are you really happy in your life?. Little by little I realized that I was no longer happy, and was living my daily life as a routine, with no passion.
“I […] was living my daily life as a routine, with no passion”
The pandemic triggered a deeper personal introspection that made me understand that my priorities had completely changed in such a short time. I realized how important my family is to me, and how much I would love to be closer to them. Therefore, I have spent quite a few months working remotely from my parents’ house in South Italy. I also understood how much I miss my own culture, where human relationships are really close and warm (sometimes too much!). And how important it is to re-connect with my passions, creativity and interests that I had long abandoned thinking that I didn’t have time for that. I started drawing, writing poems and making delicious cakes, which have always been my biggest passions.
“I started drawing, writing poems and making delicious cakes, […] my biggest passions”
Last but not least, I have realized how fragile we are as human beings, and how important it is to help each other. Empathy and solidarity are even more important with the current global health crisis. If I should find a positive aspect in this Covid-19 pandemic, it would definitely be all the personal introspection and changes it made in my heart, and how it contributed to change my personal vision of life.