If yes, this is your chance, if not think it a bit more…
Noored Ühiskonna Heaks is coordinating an European Solidarity Corps volunteering project called ”Fellowship of volunteers”. They are looking for 9 volunteers to youth centers, kindergartens and disabilities centers around Estonia.
The aim of the project is to develop the key competencies of volunteers, promote volunteering and active citizenship, as well as give hosting organisations valuable experience that engaging a long-term volunteer offers (cultural background and new knowledge, fresh ideas, etc.). It is also a very practical learning tool for the volunteer: a possibility to try a variety of different tasks considering the interests and skills of the volunteer and at the same time learn a lot about Estonian culture and multicultural cooperation.
Another week passed by and the everyday routine before Corona virus comes closer and closer to us. Regarding the ESC routine, we started our activities and adding more each week if it’s allowed but the part of travelling is still a bitter story, At this point, you’re allowed to transport away from your region, but still the fear of using the train is making me postpone my travels. That’s why I’m choosing local and go for little trips and adventures in the city or near by.
This week I decided to speak about the nature. The same nature that we all missed this spring and we’re like craaaazy every time that the weather was perfect and sunny but still we couldn’t go out and enjoyed it. So now that we can enjoy it, are we actually doing it?
To respond to my part- rhetorical question, I’m trying to visit the nature and enjoy it as much as possible. In any case, we have to consider also the general mood of ”I don’t want to do anything” that have followed the lock-down.
This week the weather was awesome -until today that it’s raining and the mood has transformed from ”sunny, joyful and spring” to ”grey, moody and autumn”. I took this chance of good weather to move around the city and a bit further. First I visited Parco Bucci one of my favorite parts in the city. After almost three months I was back there and it was amazing. The last time that I was there it was winter and the nature had a whole different palette of colors. Keeping in mind my last image of the park I can easily see the huge transformation that happens to the nature with the change of seasons. Another thing that I observed and enjoyed was the sound of the animals. Being used to the city sounds closed in my apartment, it made me so happy when I first heard the ducks and the other birds singing in almost total silence. It was magical.
My other small trip near by Faenza was in Rio Cozzi . It is a small outdoor area that people go to do outdoor sports riding your bicycle and climbing. I was the least sportive person there and took a long walk around the park with the big trees and the beautiful flowers blossoming in every corner.
Hello again my beloved readers and I’m sorry for my disappearance. It’s been hard for everyone and hard for me too. After almost two months I can try eventually to be productive and active again…
We are happily moving to phase 2 of this lock down situation and the atmosphere here in Italy is certainly better. This week finally we can move easier around the city, drink our coffees, see our friends, go to the beauty salon-it’s a necessity- and try to enjoy the last days of spring until summer comes. In all of these activities of course we can add the use of face mask in everything we do from now on.
Let’s start from the begging and talk a bit about EVS in Faenza and the lock down. I wrote various articles in the past for the EVS experience and the amazing opportunity that I had, coming to Italy for a year. The true sense of EVS and all the similar European Union funded projects for young people is the chance to visit a new country for an amount of time and explore it. ”Travel” is the key word and I was ready to travel a lot this year. I did it also as much as I could before the lock down, but now everything stopped. Of course, life goes on and I will continue traveling if I’ll be patience and wait until the situation calms down. IN an case, the lost of these two months of my EVS experience is a bitter piece in my mind, all the travels that I could do, all the new places of Italy that I could see… thinking of all that is making me a bit sad and angry.
From my last trip before the lock down in Dozza…
But we will always have to think the bride side of life and there is one now; our chance to go outside again. This week our EVS activities have started and we went back to the office in the morning. Only this small step is enough to give you some confidence after all these months locked into your house. This week I had the chance to go outside and understand better how important is to take a walk sometimes and socialize with people in your life. Without these the past months I felt lonely and stuffed even though I could grown myself in many ways.
So this week I walked every morning in the office and enjoyed it so much. I had a coffee, a lunch. an aperitivo and a dinner and again I really enjoyed them. It’s been so long and now it seems the best…
Hello, Hello again from the beautiful Faenza that I’m currently see only for the window of my room. Sounds a bit depressing isn’t it?
The truth is that the situation is depressing and boring and sometimes so frustrating, but you can’t do anything to change it. I mean you can do a lot and we all heard plenty of things that will help improve the current situation and all of them end up pretty much in the same way, ”I’m staying home”, ”Resto a casa” and ”Μένουμε σπίτι” -I had to write something in Greek after all this time-. So, we have to stay in and find new activities every day to do. Okay, to be honest there is no need to change activities every single day, but if there is anyone out there that is as much active as I am could understand that I need to change activities frequently because either I’m finishing everything really fast, either I’m getting bored after a while…
After almost a month in ”quarantine mode: ON” I arrived to one and only conclusion, you have to chill. Yes, it’s the only way, it’s easier and you have to do this. You can combine ”chilling” with plenty of activities, for example the well known ”Netflix’n’Chill” or ”Working’n’Chill” -recommended more for ESC volunteers all around Europe, that the work isn’t so much and not so obligatory-, ”Studying’n’Chill”- especially for university that even though the online courses have started still you don’t know how is gonna be this semester’s exams-, ”Eating’n’chill” -because all of us, guys, we eat a lot these days, so let’s just chill while eating so will metabolize it better” and last but not least ”Exercise’n’Chill”-because with the quarantine a new, profound love for gymnastics started, but if you’re like me that all my life I wanted to join the gym and I never did, you certainly have to chill and exercise otherwise next morning the only you could do is ”Bed’n’Chill”-.
In conclusion, Chill, Chill and Chill and everything would be all right!
As for me, I pretty much do these kinds of chilling that I gave as examples above. The first weeks I was hooked to Netflix and I was ready to finish it all. This was my first hint to start ”Chilling”. Now, I’m only watching Netflix after dinner and it works for me. Next activity is the association’s work that isn’t a lot, but it helps the time to pass. I’m currently working and elaborating with other volunteers to write an International Mobility project (Youth Exchange), I’m always thinking new stuff to add in our social media and I’m working on things that I want to implement after the lock-down -when I will feel the sun in my skin and I will dance in the rain like the influenced by movies girl I wound become-. After, I’m cooking and cleaning, but always in a chill mood because you really can’t cook all you fridge in one day and then need to go to the supermarket the next one and the same with cleaning, if you clean all the apartment once the next day you’ll have nothing to do. I also discovered Playstation lately and I can assure you that is a good way to spent some meaningless time. Last, I’m trying to study a bit for my exams, but in this case I was chilling before the lock-down and I’m still doing it -after all these years I grew up wiser and I realized that I’m a last minute kind of person regarding studying, so I’m respecting and loving my self, no need to push me-.
My beloved readers -if you exist- I think we’re done for today. The lock-down lifestyle isn’t the fancier but it’s necessary. To avoid mental break-downs my advise as I told and retold above is to ”Chill”, in any case and with any activity of yours.
The subject of this week’s article is pretty obvious and easy to think about it. CoronaVirus, Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that influenced millions of people worldwide, killed a lot of them, closed borders and set the world in a Quarantine mood. I’m not going to give you general information about the virus, to present you the current situation or give you numbers of cases and deaths. I’m only here, blogging and speaking about my EVS experience in Italy as always…
So, I stayed… It’s over a month now that the situation in Italy became serious. First, the schools closed and with them our EVS activities that were pretty much related to schools and kids, as I described in my previous blogs. For around two weeks I had almost nothing to do and I had to stay in the house as much as possible. I can say that at this point I hadn’t really realized the seriousness of the situation; the numbers were still low and the people seemed cool, even though they were staying more at home and bars and restaurants weren’t so full as usual. At this point I had the chance to go back in Greece and spend some time in quarantine, but yet I would be with my family and it would be easier. I decided to stay in Faenza for several reasons, but the main one was that I didn’t want to risk get infected neither infect other people without even knowing it. Also, I didn’t know when this situation will end…
Supermarket reality the first days…
The next week the association start giving as activities to do from home and helping us to deal with the quarantine situation. I didn’t realize before now that it is really hard to live a global crisis like that so far from home and from people that you’re counting on. So, as you could easily understand I had my ”blue” moments, too. Actually the majority of the moments at this point are ”blue” given that each time that I open articles to see the numbers of cases always are bigger and bigger and you’re just feeling far and far from home.
Leaving a bit apart the plethora of thoughts that I have, I manage to feel better through work and activities that the organization gave me. I started some yoga lessons and I did workout from YouTube -like everybody at this point- and I tried to study a bit for my exams. Of course, the house like any other house in the world is cleaner that has ever been and I am cooking like crazy, because I’m running out of things to do in the house pretty easy.
The latest lock-down found me in the position that I already was, it wasn’t for me a big surprise that we should stay home, we should stop going to the supermarket every day and we should be careful. The only change was that I stopped cooking so much and start a diet for the 5th or 6th time this year.
Reading again all these that I wrote above I just realized that I wasn’t funny at all at this new blog -eh, it doesn’t matter, we aren’t always funny.
Two of the reasons that I miss Greece…
I want to leave you with some food for though this time. I read a lot about solidarity, social awareness and new profound respects for human lives and I strongly believe that everybody should take a moment and think about all of these regarding what’s happening in the world and the new needs and issues that are created. Anyway, one of my results and I really want to spread the word about it, is to cancel 2020 and start using 2021, it will just take the stress out of my shoulders…
Until the next time-that I promise I will be funnier-,
We are official a step before Carnival and me, from the lovely Italy, I couldn’t be more excited to live this period in the country of one of the most famous Carnivals worldwide; Carnival of Venice.
Of course, except the famous Italian Carnival there are also a lot of particular and popular celebrations all over the world, that I hope I could visit some day. Let’s take a look to some of this places…
NEW ORLEANS- MARDI GRAS
One famous and particular celebration is the Mardi Gras of New Orleans. The parades and masquerade balls are organized by krewes, social clubs that date back hundreds of years in New Orleans. This carnival celebration is popular known as one of the most debauched celebrations in the traditionally Puritanical United States. This masquerade tradition is accompanied by another particular one, the King Cake, in the colors of justice (purple), faith (green), and power (gold).
RIO DE JANEIRO- CARNIVAL OF RIO
Who doesn’t know the most famous Carnival of all? If think there is nobody that never heard of the Carnival of Rio De Janeiro. This celebration is full of colors, feathers, parades and samba dance for days and days. The first Carnival in Rio started in 1723, and today it is held to celebrate the gods and honor the the great waters. Over 200 samba schools, or communities who decide to attend Carnival together, parade the street with colorful floats, dancing, and decorations.
TRINIDAD- CARNIVAL OF TRINIDAD
And continuing with the famous carnivals all over the world, in the second place you can find the Port of Spain, Trinidad. After the Carnival of Rio is the second most colorful and popular one. Performers and dancers prepare their costume all year for the celebration, with giant feather headdresses and sequins. The main attraction is the music and dancing, with Soca music being traditionally featured, as well as music from cultures around the world, including Calypso, chutney, steelpan, claves, and drums.
LONDON- A CARNIVAL IN AUGUST
It’s sounds a bit weird after all there exotic places that London -with all its seriousness- hosts a famous Carnival, too. London’s Caribbean Notting Hill hosts a carnival with influences of Jamaica, Trinidad and other West Indian Cultures, every August. Given that is rooted in Caribbean Traditions is also plenty with colors, dances and exotic music.
Moving to the central Europe, you can find a really interesting carnival tradition in Belgium and in particular in the city of Ghent. Ghent is home to one of the strangest carnival celebrations in the world, Binche. Only Ghent natives are allowed to dress in the whimsical masks, called Les Gilles during the Binche festival.
INDIA- GOA CARNIVAL
This festival is a MUST- meaning that I have to, I need to, go there once in my life-. Originated to Portugal, the Portuguese people brought their Catholic traditions and festivals to their colony of Goa, India, which has morphed into a spectacle that’s a fascinating blend of Hindu and Catholic customs. This Carnival is considered one of the most famous and beautiful in India and millions of people visit it every year.
So, I don’t know if you read my last blog, but for those that didn’t I was influenced about my favorite thing, travelling and I talked about my ideal destinations for 2020.
The very first one was Brussels, in Belgium and to be sincere I told that it wasn’t ideal and I booked this trip because it was cheap. I can honestly tell, I was wrong!
First things first this trip was really quick. I landed in Brussels Saturday at 7.30 o’clock and I flew back Monday at 7.00. It was from the start a small and economic trip. I also had the luck to find a cheap hostel, but really nice in the center of the city.
To do a good presentation of the trip, I have to start from my co-travelers, which were two friends of mine from Spain. We started all together our trip from Faenza to Brussels Saturday afternoon, first using the train and then the bus to arrive to Bologna airport. From there a beautiful, sunny Saturday of this February we took the plain to go to the less sunny and extremely windy Brussels. We have seen in the Internet that the weather wouldn’t be by our side, but we didn’t expect that.
Our first night, Saturday night we didn’t had the chance to do much. We arrived in the hostel at 11.00 o’clock this night and we were also a bit tired. We went for a walk around the block to grab a bite and we ended up to grad a couple of beers, too. For those that they don’t have a clear idea about Belgium, I have to say that is famous for the beer, the waffles and the french fries -which as I learned in a free tour were not French at all but Belgian and they named them French the American Soldiers of World War 2 that hearing the Belgian people talking French and eating the fries, they thought that they are French. Until this day, the name remains ”french fries” and the people of Belgium are trying really hard to change it to ”fries”. So, if you want to help them, just start to call them ”fries” and spreed the word.
The next day we had a full plan of visiting the city center and see all the sights. What we didn’t knew was that in Brussels this day, they had an ”orange alarm”, that means that the weather was really bad and the wind so strong and the most of the people were actually afraid of going out of their houses. And the strangle was real! We fought with the wind, we got wet from the rain and we were cold the whole time, but we saw it all! We walked the center alone and then we booked a free walking tour; we tried the traditional street waffles and the fries that are double fried to they can be crispy outside and soft inside; and last but not least we drunk different beers that is a MUST once you go to Belgium.
Saturday went by smoothly even though the weather was extremely bad and the wind tried to hit me in the walls several times. As the night was coming one of my friends had to go, return to the airport, because she had to catch an early flight and there wasn’t a midnight bus. So, she did, but the weather played a tricky game with us again. Of course, the wind couldn’t stop early on Monday morning and the fight of my friend got canceled twice. She had to spent more that 12 hours in the airport waiting her flight back home.
On the other side, me and my other friend had one more day to spent in Brussels and we took this chance to visit the famous European Parliament. The Parliament is placed in a centered quarter and it was really easy to find it. I wasn’t impressed from the building actually; I expected it bigger and nicer. Except that, I enjoyed the sights of it. There is a place that called ”Parlamentarium” that is helping you to get more information about the European Union, its formation and history and also there is a European History Museum. Unfortunately, I had only the time to visit the ”Parlamentarium”, it was interesting and gain a lot of new information.
After these two days of moving around, watching and tasting new things, we had to return. We took our flight at 7.00 o’clock and thankfully we didn’t had a problem with the wind that was continuing being strong. We landed in Bologna around 8.30 o’clock only to discover that the wind followed me here. But, I will survive….
P.S: I also got tested for Corona Virus when I landed in Bologna. That thing is becoming bigger and bigger, right?
and continuing with English as usual. So, I am Danai from Greece currently based in Faenza, doing my EVS and trying to figure out what life is going to bring me this new year. I ran out of themes to write -usually I am writing about my life and my experiences, but these past weeks I haven’t done something new and exciting- and I decided to write where I will go this year and where I am hoping to go.
My first trip for 2020 will be in Belgium and it will be soon. I am planing to go to Brussels this weekend, from Saturday 8th of February until Monday 10th of February. It is actually not ideal. One month ago I was searching a cheap destination to go with a friend that comes to visit me. At first, we wanted to go to Paris, but the tickets for a weekend were really expensive. After, we said to go to Berlin, but again the tickets were expensive and my EVS pocket money can’t afford them. Third option was London, but my friend had already been there and she wanted something new. So finally, we decided to go to Brussels. Everybody was like ”What there is to see in Brussels?” or ”It is not worth it!” but it doesn’t bother me. I’m going on a trip, I’m in trip mode and after all we have always to believe in the mainstream motto ”It doesn’t matter the destination, but the trip”. I’m 100% ready to survive with waffles and french fries for 2 days and to see all the nice places there.
Spain, Malaga & Granada
OK, this is most certainly ideal! I’m pretty sure that I talked to you a lot about the pros and the cons of my ESC experience and in general of this European opportunity for young people. So, my organization except of writing European mobility projects and a lot of other activities, is accompanying schools to trips abroad. In this way, I’m going in Malaga and Granada this March. My role there isn’t going to be responsible for the kids of course, but to help the teachers to communicate – the majority of them aren’t speaking in English-. From the first announcement of this trip I was absolutely excited and I’m looking forward to visit the beautiful Andalusia for another time. I was there a year ago, in Cordoba and Seville, but I didn’t have the time to visit Malaga and Granada. I really can’t wait!
Another ideal destination is Berlin. I always wanted to travel in Berlin, is a capital full of history, so beautiful and with one of the most famous and amazing nightlife. I remember that the first time I started think about a travel to Germany was 3 years ago when I did my first visit to Prague. I said at that point with my friends that we have to go, but as usual we never did. This year I decided to visit Berlin even without my friends. I am planing to use a weekend in this summer to move a little bit northern and visit this beautiful capital.
Italy, Cinque Terre
And I’m moving back to the country that I am currently living. I surely want to visit the whole Europe, but also as long I’m staying in Italy, I will try to go to as many places as I can. Cinque Terre, is a part of Liguria and it’s one of the most popular summer destinations not only in Italy, but for the whole Europe. The colorful small houses up on the hills and the breathtaking sea view from above it makes this place irresistible. I am planing to do there at the end of April or early May and I’m hoping that the touristic period will start after this months, so I can find some peace and quiet in this wonderful environment.
This is a destination that I MUST visit this year. I planned a trip two years ago, but it got canceled and until this day I’ m frustrated for that. This year, I hope the things will be better and I will have the chance to travel to Lisbon. I’ m dreaming to move around to this full of colors capital and use the most beautiful tram of the whole Europe to transfer. I also have a friend that lives in Galicia -an autonomous country of Spain, near to Portugal- and we can make this trip together.
That’s it for now, folks… I don’t want to continue writing destinations because: 1) I don’t have that much money to move around Italy and Europe and 2) if I start I will never stop -don’t even let me started with my ideal destinations in Asia-.
It’s me, Danai and as every Friday from now on I will be here giving you details about my ESC project and my life in Faenza. If you read and remember my last article, I was talking about January, my little first taste of 2020. We are only watching the previews and I am already tired, like really tired…
I spent my January between two countries, Italy and Greece, while studying and actually dying from boredom and of course travelling and changing zones of hour. After, the first difficult weeks, I returned, for good this time in Italy, but it is just for 2 weeks since I am flying to Brussels at the start of February -you will learn all about it with plenty of photos and a huge blog post.
In any case, since I came back to Italy, I am feeling really empty regarding my energy batteries. Living like a nomad for only a month made me realize that I am getting old. You can laugh as much as you want, but since my birthday -2 weeks ago- I am feeling a grown-ass woman of 25 years old, that I have to eat healthy, before 8.00 a.m and sleep a lot. This is a clear sign that I need some rest, it’s not logical for me to feel old.
But guess what… my body might need some rest but my head is all about the outgoing side of life and is yelling at me all day YOLO (You Only Live Once). So as you can imagine, it’s been 6 days now that I am living again in Faenza and I was out the 5 of them.
First, when I returned I had to see some friends that I has been literally a whole year since the last time I saw them. We went to a sushi place in Faenza, which I love from the first glance. It’s an all you can eat place with 20.00 every person and you can literally take everything on the menu. In the start I though that the quality will be low, but nooooo, everything was delicious, really really tasty. I ate until I was ready to pass out on that little table, still full of food and I return home only to realize that since I returned in Italy I have to get use again the waking up at 8.00 o’ clock every morning. I got over in as a drunk a glass of water trying to digest all the food and went to sleep.
Since that moment the 8.00 o’clock awaking became again a habit. And so on my days kept passing with coffees, aperitivos, pizzas and drinks that gave not only calories, but also a bigger need to sleep and relax alone, away from all; ”JUST GIVE ME A BIT OF SPACE” I was saying to myself while I was getting ready to go out again. Yes, I have to say that I am an irony with a pair of feet, really you have to stop taking me seriously.
The weekend came and my bed was waiting for me. Saturday free, Sunday free, what could it gone wrong? Yes, I forgot I am making plans without even thinking about it, without consciousness, without checking…
Long story sort, I spent the whole Saturday in the streets, the bars and the restaurants of Bologna. It will be unfair if I say that I didn’t had a good time, I love Bologna as a city and I had a really good time with plenty of friends this Saturday. The only black and bad thing is as usual Trenitalia with all the train delays… I had to wait almost an hour to the cold and melancholia station.
‘TGIS” (Thank God Is Sunday) was my new moto before even start walking in Faenza after Bologna. And finally, I stopped. I stopped making plans, I stopped going out, I stopped changing 5 outfits per day and I had my Sunday to sleep, rest and chill on Netflix. I did nothing -except an aperitivo, but it was really close to my house, doesn’t count-. It was nice and relax, but to keep on grumble a little bit more, as I told you before the awaking at 8.00 o’clock has became a habit again, so even though was Sunday, I woke up around 8.30… but all good, really tutto bene!