Griffith Collective: Pablo Tognetti
Name: Pablo Tognetti
What do you do at Griffith?
I’m studying a Master of Arts and Media. I think I would really love to have a work opportunity here, to work for maybe a couple of months. I like the environment. In Argentina it’s not so common this kind of campus, we have big building and that’s all. They are European architecture, but I think I prefer this, it’s more modern and you have different careers all in one place, we have one building for one career, another building from one career, so if you study medicine you are in one place, if you study law you are in another place, so you don’t meet people because you’re in different parts of the city.
Why did you choose to come to university?
That’s a good question… basically I had been working for 5 years for major companies in Buenos Aires, and I never felt in my place, in my right place. I just worked because I was in the working environment; I was going with the flow. But one day I started thinking, ‘why am I doing this? Is this really for me? Why not go for a change or look for new horizons?’. So I started looking for studying abroad, my two alternatives were Canada and Australia you have really similar policies for international students.
I think I was looking for an escape from Buenos Aires; I was just trying to escape from my life in Buenos Aires.
But it’s such a beautiful place.
Yeah I know, but I was trying to escape from my life! And I’m 30 years old so some time in your life you have to draw this point and just go for another thing, if not all your life you will be living whatever you are living and maybe you are not happy with all of that. It’s a hard decision but I felt it, I felt it! I need to travel and to be here and meet people, and talk to people and have new experiences!
What’s your story? Where did you come from and how did you get to where you are now?
These are philosophical questions! I think right now… I am thinking about my friends back in Argentina. I was always kind of a black sheep from my friends. For example I always look for alternative sports, circus or capoeira for many years. Meanwhile my friends were playing football (soccer), they were living these regular lives, and they were comfortable with that, and that was not my case, I need new things all the time. I get really bored with things… so quickly sometimes! But when I found this thing that I really love, ahhh. I flow with my feelings, when I love something I feel it, when I am passionate about something I just stick to it. But first you need to look for that thing, and first that’s not so easy. I don’t know it is life I think. It’s a journey; it’s a circle a constant search for whatever it is you are searching for. So I think that is my story.
That’s why I’m here; I think I’m a little bit crazy. But it’s okay, I prefer to be crazy and not to be like an ordinary guy working in Buenos Aires.
You have a day off to do anything you like, take me through your ideal day, from morning through to night?
In Buenos Aires, we are not used to waking up so early, first of all. So I think I would not get up at 6 o’clock like in the Aussie style! I think I’ll wake up at 9 o’clock. For sure I will go to the beach. I love to be at the beach, I love the sun. I love to be in the weather. I love to feel the sun! I will have my own space maybe to write, or maybe just listen to music. That space! That little box where you are on your own where you can write.
But on the other hand I really like to be with people and love to chat or meet people. So maybe I will meet with my friends, to have lunch. We love food in Buenos Aires. I would look for an awesome place to eat something. Eat meat! Ahh I love the meat in Buenos Aires. I miss restaurants from Buenos Aires! It’s not easy to find here, like really, really good restaurants or bars. So I think I would go to the best place to have lunch… with friends of course!
And maybe I would like to go for a surf or circus training, just doing some sports that I love!
For sure I would end my day not at 6pm like you are used to here! I would end my day at like 11 or 12 o’clock or 1am in the morning!
I love to stay up late, reading, just chatting with friends, eating or having a beer!
Sounds like a good day! Sounds like yesterday!
What’s a good piece of advice you have been given and who gave it to you?
I don’t remember a person. I remember lyrics from different bands. There is one band I really love! Maybe you know about them because you were in Buenos Aires. ‘Soda Stereo and Gustavo Cerati’ he passed away one week ago. He was in a coma for 5 years for an overdose. But ‘ahh’ his lyrics are so cool! I don’t know if the translation will be right but in Spanish he says ‘Una eternidad esperé este instante’, ‘I’ve been waiting for this moment all eternity’. That’s perfect. It’s such a short sentence, with lots of things going on. I always remember this, when I am doing anything, like training, at the beach or talking to a friend, or meeting new people or whatever… That’s the moment! Right there! You have been waiting for that moment!
Tell me something you have learnt this week, or this year and how it has changed your outlook on life?
I am going to be a godfather, to one of my best friends daughter. He’s waiting for his daughter I think she’s going to be born next week. And it’s so crazy because I’m in Australia, and he’s in Argentina. He’s really old fashioned, old school. He needs the perfect family, the perfect job, the perfect car and the perfect future and the perfect whatever… but he’s been my best friend since we were 10 years old. It’s so awesome to have this best friend who is totally different from me! Our perceptions of life are so different. And when he told me ‘I know you will be in Australia and I don’t know if you are going to come back, but I want you to be the godfather of my daughter’, I started crying! It was so big for me! He’s going to have a family! I’m just sitting here talking to you at uni and he’s going to have a family!!
I started thinking about it, what are we doing here in life? He’s going to have a family, I’m studying here abroad, and I don’t know when I’m coming back. Life is so big; you have all these adventures, experiences and different paths.
What is your biggest challenge right now?
I wont go for the boring answer like finding a job or whatever… basically I need a job, but that’s not the answer!
I think it is to open my mind even more. I met a girl from Norway, guys from Nigeria, from the UK, from Canada, from Germany. For me it’s so interesting just to chat with international students and notice the kind of clash of cultures, it’s so awesome, how they manage… for example, silence. It’s so interesting for me, in South America we tend to talk a lot, we use our hands a lot, and this girl from Norway, she is super calm and she does not use her hands at all and for her, silences are not uncomfortable at all. It’s like the conversation itself needs silences. Those different little things from cultures, are so interesting, I just love it! Love it! I don’t know why but I love it!
All of the time I’m looking at different details, here I try to generate eye contact and it’s not so easy. And in South America it’s so easy! Just walking down the street you have eye contact all the time with people that you don’t even know! Maybe just for 3 or 4 seconds, that eye contact is so interesting sometimes. Here it is so difficult, I walk down the street, I cant get eye contact for 2 seconds, it’s like the people are walking over there in their own minds.
And almost the opposite of that what is one of your happiest memories?
That’s a difficult question… I love music but my parents I don’t think they really love music they just listen to music. There is this awesome Brazilian poet he is called Vinicius de Moraes, his writings and his lyrics are really deep. And when I was a kid I just listened to that music because my parents were listening to that music. Obviously I didn’t know anything about Portuguese. So for me it was just the music itself and random words. But then I learnt Portuguese, for three years. And I started going through all his songs, lyrics and poems.
It was just such an awesome moment to connect what was going on in that lyric with something that happened a long time ago when I was a kid and my world was only to be happy and not to do anything at all. That bridge between these two moments, it was so awesome! I think I almost started crying. It was so cool to understand what was going on with that song and to link it to that happy memory from my childhood.
If you had to summarise your life philosophy in a few sentences, what would they be?
I just love to live in the moment. I only have one tattoo it’s in Spanish it says ‘pura vida’, pura vida is a kind of carpe diem but from South America. For me that’s my philosophy, when we are talking about life it’s ‘pura vida’, it’s like this is what you are living! Go for it! It’s so important, trust in yourself and go for your passion that is so important! Go for your passions always. Sometimes it’s a difficult road but it’s worth it! Go for your passions always. That’s my life.
And lastly what characteristics make you a part of the Griffith Collective?
All my life I was really shy, for example I love to write, and all my life I hid my writing. I don’t know why maybe I was not prepared for the critics. For me being here, is breaking with that idea, and just opening myself to people, to really be myself, and to share my writings, my ideas, my thoughts and my culture.
Interviewed by: Mindy Davies | Instagram: @mindyrose |