One of the perks of living and working in the bush for me have always been uniforms. Strange thing to say I know, but for a girl that is incompletely uninterested and un-savvy about clothes, fashion and makeup, uniforms have been –ironically- entirely liberating for me. When I was 19 I went through my own uniform phase of jeans and white T-shirts because everything else required too much effort and a specific personality skill I do not possess. This personality trait has always been in complete contrast to my Italian relatives and the Venezuelan society of straight hair, pearl earrings and skinny jeans I grew up in.
The Italian girls in my family have got fashion down to the T, they wear high heels, always look spot on and just have this flare that my hippy soul will never possess. When I was 16 Fede and I were coming back from a wonderful Coffee Wednesday when insightfully she said to me that “if I ever get a daughter that dresses like you I will commit suicide”. Since Fede does love me and I know she wasn’t coming from a bad place, I suddenly realized that when reality hits you in the face you can do two things: either take it, or change it… I clearly just took it considering my fashion sense hasn’t changed since then.
Moving to Kenya for a few months brought some of these thoughts back to my mind. If I was to leave in a camp and out of one suitcase, khaki bush clothes where in order and a few sweaters just in case. I packed for a purpose and I thought I had been highly efficient until our bags got lost in Rwanda and ended up in Nairobi and subsequently in the Masai Mara, with no clothes other than the ones we were wearing: closed shoes for exercise, tank tops and a comfy jersey.
The morning after our arrival in Nairobi we were finally setting out for another grand adventure, the lack of clothes wasn’t going to stop us. I felt like Dora the Explorer, I had Spanish, a backpack and the sheer excitement of seeing a new place for the same time.
I felt unbeatable.
Until… I realized that reality often doesn’t meet our expectations.
“Punfi, I don’t know what happened but I look like a crazy person. I could be an explorer to the outside world. Look.”
“No, you look like a crazy car lady that went to the shops”.
“So basically none of it works for you?”
“No, You should have worn your vellies with those jeans, and perhaps another jersey. That would have been better. But it’s ok, it’s you”
In a fit of laughter I realized that even my boyfriend’s sense of fashion is better than mine. I felt like Dora on the inside but to the outside world I looked like Elvira. Lucky for the both of us he knew what he was getting into from the very beginning, because what this photo doesn’t show is that to this day I still wear different colored socks underneath it all. I got power in my hidden madness.
Ps: Fede, if she is a girl, I will buy her her first pair of All Star Converse shoes.