This (somewhat blurred) photo was my attempt at capturing Belfast’s City Centre in the run up to Christmas. It was dark out, but people were still bustling about, trying to secure those last few Christmas presents before heading home.
Until September, I had only ever spent any real amount of time in the countryside in Donegal and Somerset. There’s such a massive difference between living in a city like Belfast and living in the countryside. That may seem like a fairly obvious observation, but I simply could not believe just how different it was.
It’s not just the size of the place, although that did take some getting used to. It’s not just the vast amount of people, even though that still does cause some problems. The biggest difference is the way the people are. In Donegal, if you walk past someone, you say “Hi” or “How are you?” even if you don’t know the person. Even in Monksilver, people might not say hello to you when you walk past, but they at least smile or nod in recognition of your presence. Here, it seems that everyone makes it their responsibility to pretend that there is nobody else on the street. It’s bizarre. At first, this made me feel incredibly lonely. It felt like nobody knew or cared that I was here. Now that I’m used to it, I find it almost comforting. I know that nobody knows or cares that I’m here, but there’s a sort of safety in that invisibility.
So here is a photo of Belfast, and the people in it. And we can see all of the people in the photo, but it seems that the people in the photo can only see themselves. It’s very odd, but I guess that’s just city life.