In previous diary entries I have talked to you about the courses that I've been taking. I suppose you could have gotten to think that I would have lots of leisure time. Well, additional to those courses, I am contributing about twenty hours a week with research at the Archive of Architecture and Construction of the University of Puerto Rico [AACUPR]. This job has also enabled me to meet very good people, in addition to putting me in contact with the primary sources which include blueprints, watercolors, and other documents generated by the best modern architecture production in the Island. On the other hand, I collaborate as an Teaching Assistant of a design course in which I am also getting to know some interesting students. These activities in addition to my courses occupy most of my time during the week, in the campus of the University of Puerto Rico. It is a wonderful place to work, with a profuse vegetation and a sensible ordination of the campus so that it is a pleasure to tour it.
On the other hand, I would not want to forget to collect in this diary the difficult situation that the country lives in right now. In the last few months, the government has fired more than 23,000 employees (know that the Island has a population of a few more than 4M); imagine the proportion of families affected. To that effect today there's a National Strike with great repercussions and which final route ends in Plaza Las Américas, a mall that proudly shows its emblem of being the biggest in the Caribbean). I hope no altercations occur, despite that the citizens' mood is comprehensibly more and more agitated.
I write this third chapter in what would be the theoretic midpoint of my stay here. I don't know yet the date of my return, or if my route to Spain will take me to a new country to know or a friendly embrace to encounter... I hope I can determine that soon with the idea of buying the tickets and reassure those who wait for me in Spain. These thoughts about future travels, countries or destinies have brought me to some reflections about the condition of the travelers, their questions, their searches, their comprehension of the local scene... to which have helped the great gift in form of a book that has come to me flying from home: "Invisible cities"... I leave you with some of these thoughts.
Marco enters a city; he sees someone in a square living a life or an instant that could be his; he could now be in that man's place, if he had stopped in time, long ago; or if, long ago, at a crossroads, instead of taking one road he had taken the opposite one, and after long wandering he had come to be in the place of that man in that square. By now, from that real or hypothetical past of his, he is excluded; he cannot stop; he must go on to another city, where another of his pasts awaits him, or something perhaps that had been a possible future of his and is now someone else's present. Futures not achieved are only branches of the past: dead branches.
'Journeys to relive your past?' was the Khan's question at this point, a question which could also have been formulated: 'Journeys to recover your future?'
And Marco's answer was: 'Elsewhere is a negative mirror. The traveller recognizes the little that is his, discovering the much he has not had and will never have.'
Ítalo Calvino. Invisible Cities.