My Argentinian friend


1982.
The Falklands/Malvinas war is drawing the world’s attention. Argentina and the UK are fighting over some British overseas territories in the South Atlantic. The conflict only lasted ten weeks but had important consequences for my life as a primary school kid in Italy.

Silvana from Buenos Aires moved to Italy with her family and joined my school. She joined my class.
We became friends. Very good friends.
Afternoons went by with us playing in my garden, mixing Italian and Spanish while trying to communicate, making up new words and laughing about them.

Silvana and her family left a couple of years later, back to Argentina. I found their destination address on one of the removal boxes parked outside their flat after they had left, and wrote it down. A few weeks later I sent a long letter to my friend. And our friendship continued thanks to our many handwritten messages that crossed the oceans for years.
I promised Silvana that I’d visit her as soon as I turned 18. But I couldn’t keep the promise. Life takes funny turns. We eventually lost contact.

Then Mr Zuckerberg invented Facebook.
And I found my friend there.
She was still in Argentina while I had moved to the UK in the meanwhile.

Fast forward to 13 November 2015, the day I took the 4:30am ferry from Colonia del Sacramento (Uruguay) to Buenos Aires just to go and see my Argentinian friend for the day.
As I exit the ferry arrival area I see her. She looks at me…we cannot contain our excitement…it’s been 31 years but it feels like nothing has changed!

And here is us, as kids and now:

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