I arrived in Canada on the 23rd of August of 2016. When arriving to my sister’s apartment in Peterborough, and before starting to unpack suitcases, she took me on a walk, excited to show me the downtown area. We walked from Murray St to Simcoe down Water, and we returned up George. It felt far. In Tegucigalpa, I do not walk very much. I travel on a motorized vehicle to most places that I have to go: school, restaurants, friends’ houses, grocery store. I was not used to walking. Crossing streets was scary, as I could not gage the speed of cars. So I would wait and wait, and headlights could be 2 blocks away, and still I would wait until the end of the street was empty. I felt dumb. The grid system that aims to simplify and systematize location was incomprehensible to me. I would get lost, and miss busses, and walk in the wrong direction for way too long before wanting to look at Google maps and acknowledge how lost I was because all that I walked wrong, I would have to walk right back. And I was not used to walking.
I did have patience with myself. I easily recognized that this difficulty came from never having to stop and ask myself, “where am I?” Out of need, I taught myself coordinates. North, South, East, West had never seemed useful. In Tegucigalpa, one locates oneself more easily by landmarks than by coordinates, as the city is far from being designed using a grid system. You just have to know what streets to take to get to where you are headed. You can also join some Whatsapp groupchats where people send updates on traffic, protests, and police checks—so that you can take an alternate route. Here, one side of the river is East, the other West; Trent University is North; Landsdowne, South. Life changing knowledge, really.
Being outdoors, on the same level as outsides of buildings was intimidating. I’m only ever on insides, not around them. When in Tegucigalpa, I spend a large part of my day commuting and stuck in traffic—inside a car and physically separated from others (things and people). One time, on my way to the terminal, I walked by Artspace. It seemed cool. The big windows, you know?
My name is Daniela. I am an international student from Honduras. I am currently starting my 4th and final year at Trent University studying International Development and Cultural Studies. I am very excited to be intern at Artspace throughout this academic year and work alongside experienced artists and curators, and a great team that keeps this place together. I am also writing a thesis regarding questions of place, space, identity, diaspora, and nostalgia—hence the dramatic train of thought that I am sharing as an introduction of who I am. I think that it says more about me than this part does.