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  • hannahlbryans


April 2023 was when I met Maria Isabel Eraso and I think it was one of the fastest evolving friendships that I’ve ever had. I was staffing a creatives seminar in Paris and it was before I lived here permanently, so I flew in and was given a two bed room for the three week seminar. At first I wondered why there were two beds and days into my time there, I was cooking in a shared kitchen space when this Colombian curly girl poked her head around the door.

“Are you Hannah? Hi, I’m Isa and I’m your new room mate”

I can’t lie and say that my stomach didn’t sink. It was far from anything personal but I was just really enjoying my own space.

I also can’t lie and say that I was the friendliest.

“Oh! Haha! Cool! I will make some space for your stuff so that you can move in”

She left and I stared into the pan I was cooking with.

I felt like I had no capacity to share a space with someone.

Honestly I felt like I had very little capacity for people in general. Although it's my nature to befriend anyone and everyone who crosses my path, I had just come out of a very rough period.

This period was filled with betrayal, false accusations and relational ruptures.

This period left me with a new cautiousness towards the people around me and it was like I was seeing the world through it's lens.

The same things that used to energise me only drained me.

The thought itself of making new/more friends drained me.

I knew that I needed healing, and I thought that it could only come through being alone.

Normally I’m the kind of person who makes a lot of effort with the people around me. I like to make them feel seen, known and loved. I ask intentional questions, get to know them and care for them.

But those days I just felt weirdly unlike myself. I had no desire or capacity for any connection that didn’t come effortlessly.


That evening I was sitting on my bed reading when Isa began to move in. She was relocating from a room full of girls across the hallway, and as she popped in and out we started chatting.

It was effortless.

Often I'm the one making big efforts to get to know people, which I don't mind, it comes naturally.

But as Isa and I talked, I realised that that’s who she is too.

I could feel that she is someone who cares deeply for the people around her,

Effortlessly. So effortlessly that she doesn't realise that it's in her nature.

So naturally that when she asked “what’s your story?”, I felt so comfortable that I told her my whole life story, from childhood to the recent series of events that had made friendships seem like an effort.

I cried as I shared and she just listened and cried with me.

There we were, two complete strangers, an Irish girl and a Columbian girl, sitting on the floor of our bedroom in Paris, sharing our life stories with each other.

Because yes, I asked her the same question and my tears only increased as she told me her life story.

She spoke of the highs and the lows.

Her struggles and her wins.

Her love stories and her heartbreaks.

And then, most interestingly, how she ended up across the world in Paris, sitting on the floor of this little room, opening up her heart to this complete stranger.

Hours passed as we chatted on the floor and suddenly it was midnight.

“Girl do you know what time it is?” I asked.

We checked our phones, were shocked and bounced up and started getting ready for bed.

As we did our skincare routines the conversation faded from deep to lighthearted.

From shedding tears to laughing a lot.

And as I went to bed that night,

I knew,

that despite thinking I didn't want another friend just 24 hours previously,

I had just been gifted with one.

And that was only the beginning of one of the most beautifully effortless connections I’ve ever had.

One that got me contemplating friendship on another level and led me to believe in platonic soulmates.

Because although we’re so different, we share a weird amount of commonalities.

There were moments where Isa really felt like an older me. One that had been through many of the same things and spoke into my life like a big sister.

As I woke up every morning to golden light seeping through the curtains, she was already awake, doing her makeup in the corner, basically completely ready for the day.

And as I sat up, adjusting to the daylight, she started telling me things.

“You’re strong, you’re powerful, you're beautiful. It’s going to be a good day today. Know that you are loved and don't let anyone bring you down.”

She reminded me to not shrink myself to make others comfortable.

She reminded me to not be scared of anything that could come my way.

And this was not a once off thing, but an almost daily thing.

Then at the end of every day, as we got ready for bed, we debriefed the day's events.

Isa was like an angel roommate, sent at exactly the right time.

During the day our lives looked very different. She was doing a six month music school and I was staffing a creative seminar that only lasted three weeks.

But in the evenings we just chatted in that room, or turned the building we were staying in’s communal living space into dance parties (there was not much in between)

Isa has a fast paced mind and a beautiful energy. One that needs to interact with the world around her vivaciously. One that is creative and bubbly and intelligent. Yet deep and caring and compassionate at the same time.

It’s funny because on my last night there, we sat on the floor of our little room as I packed my bags and she told me “Hannah you know that I’m really bad at making friends? I just have my people but rarely connect like this with new people, especially not this fast. This is so not normal for me.”

I told her how surprised I was by that and also how healing her friendship was to me.

It seriously redeemed a lot of the rough experiences I had just come out of.

She encouraged the deepest parts of me and told me to dream big and go after everything that I had told her I wanted to do.

One of these things being moving to Paris.

I really didn't know the timeline of when I would be able to move. All I knew was that I had to go home to Ireland to get my tonsils removed (lol), take time to recover and then go from there.

Also that I did not want to hunt for an apartment for ages.

I needed something to happen effortlessly.

Fast forward to July and Isa and I had brunch in my new apartment, that I had moved into just a month previously.

The apartment had come effortlessly.

And once again, so did our connection.

1 comment

1 Comment

Maria Elvira Eraso Vanegas
Maria Elvira Eraso Vanegas
Aug 02, 2023

Thank you for sharing your story of Isa. She is one of, if not the most beautiful individuals, I have ever shared my life with. I am so proud of Isa and grateful to you for now being part of her life. I love my sister with all my heart and hope she keeps shining a shed of light in other people's life just as she did with you.

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