"Of course we all had to endure some situations we would maybe not necessarily describe as our best, but I guess that because we managed to get through them we were even more motivated to stick to what we intended to do here right in the beginning."
Eight months are a long period of time. In fact they are more than half a year. They are longer than one semester at university, longer than any stretch of time you spend in school without having a holidays and moreover, they are the longest time I will have been abroad until now in my life.
Shortly before finishing school I was sure I wanted to spend some time abroad before going back to an ongoing learning and studying experience at university. In fact, I actually didn’t even know what I want to study or at which university. So I imagined my ear abroad to be time of finding myself and what I want to do with my life, but also a time in which I could broaden my horizon while doing something senseful, something meaningful.
Now that I have been living Greece for somewhat a little bit more than 4 months half of my time in Serres are already over. Actually, the remaining time I still get to stay here is maybe 3 months. Maybe even less in regard of working time: we will be gone to Athens for 1 week for the mid-term-training, the Easter Holidays are coming and all of us still have holidays.
But when I am talking about the overall experience in Greece its 3 months that I want to try and get the most out of. When comparing the blog posts of other volunteers in the EU with the ones from us, from others from my sending organization and with ours here, I realized that I maybe missed one experience most of them seem to have made – the halftime low point.
Until now I believe it is safe to say for me that I did not have it. Maybe it is like that, because I have been sick at that exact point of time and wasn’t feeling that well anyway or just because I found possibilities to not let my self be pulled down by any negative happenings.
Of course we all had to endure some situations we would maybe not necessarily describe as our best, but I guess that because we managed to get through them we were even more motivated to stick to what we intended to do here right in the beginning. Family members struggling from health issues or from their age, conflicts between us volunteers, homesickness, broken hearts, good byes and much more.
I really don’t know if you can call us wiser know for what is yet to come in the remaining time we spend here until June, but maybe it did in regard to our future lives. Our project mentor is already telling us all the time how much we would have changed in her eyes since the first day she met us. For some of this change might be visible, for others it is yet to be discovered and accepted maybe, while again others don’t feel like they have changed at all.
We had our first own project together in December, were gone until the beginning of January, had our second goodbyes, travelled in to Bulgaria, did something for the nature in February until we said goodbye again and then there was a second break.
In that break I went back home for a second time in 4 months, not necessarily because I had always planned to but because life went it’s ways and I wanted to participate in an assessment centre as part of my way to find out what I am going to do after my EVS. The result from that decision is not yet clear as the application process isn’t over yet, so I will just have to wait and see. In that break I enjoyed being surrounded by my friends and family and doing a lot of activities with them, which was just as nice as it was stressful.
Still, I think it gave me the possibility to take a step back from everything that had happened in the project until know. Due to the distance this one week created from the tasks and people it was eventually easier to come back knowing that the project will have changed again a little bit since of the exchange of participants in it. As always until now when someone left and someone new arrived the dynamic of the team, the project and of the life in the flat changes a little bit. I was positive to come back knowing that there was probably something new and changed waiting for me, but also knowing that I didn’t really have to miss anyone, because only two weeks later some part of my family would come to visit me over here. This and the fact that the sun was shining like there was no tomorrow when I returned to Thessaloniki guaranteed a very nice start of the second half of the project time.
My hopes for the changed weren’t let down. One of our new volunteers already carried out his very first own project and started working on his next, while the other one is now engaged to give our English lessons. Furthermore, we started planning to make another holiday activity week during the pre-Easter time. I’m sure it’s going to be great.
Moreover, there are other projects with the local university in sight, next week is World Poem Day, International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and World Water Day. So you see there is a lot to do! And we are all excited for it.
written by Karo VR