None of my childhood-friends are running past me as I walk down the street to my old school. It’s quiet. All I can feel is the cold wind from the mountain. I pass by the house where me and my friends would all hang around the trampoline and I peek through the swimming pool window of my old school imagining how safe and good life was when growing up here. Knowing everybody, playing everywhere. I say hello to the old couple I meet on my walk. “When are you planning on moving back?” they ask. Not if, but when. And that’s a question that keeps popping up in my own head, even though I only have about six close friends back home - my grandparents included - and a rural village in decline.

 

I’ve heard stories about each house, farm, mountain and forest. Stories about my father, grandfather, great grandfather and great great grandfather. Knowledge, myths and fairytales. It’s as if every hill is more than a hill, it’s a magical place filled with stories from the past: it’s almost religious. My village is close to nature. Actually it’s within nature - with fields around the houses, forests, rivers and mountains. It’s a place where the easiest way to visit my grandparents is by walking down the field, in good old working-boots - possibly passing by some sheep along the way. Many might question why someone would want to live here. But for others this is the only place to live.

 

Some of my friends have already decided. “If my boyfriend won’t move back home, I’ll have to end it with him”, they say. Has the idea of moving back home to do with me being close to my family? Or is it because I feel a responsibility of keeping a village alive, with all their traditions and stories - because I know that young people have to move back for it to exist. Is it because I had a good upbringing, that it’s safe, and a place to both create and live a less stressful life? One of the few places I can feel at peace. Where I can really breath. Or is it simply because I feel that this small village, no matter how different some of the people here are from me or how many traditions and happenings that might sound silly, for me they feel unifying. That I am a part of something bigger than me. That this is my pack. That I can just be me. Or can I?

 

Maybe this project is for them to see me as who I am: not just my grandparent’s granddaughter and my parent’s daughter, but me. Maybe I just want to make them proud. These pictures are my parents, my grandparents, my neighbors and friends, my hills, my mountains and my childhood fairytales and stories. From that fact, everything follows: I want to stop time. I want them and it to live forever.