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.
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-,
1 anno di volontariato europeo con il nostro partner greco You in Europe.
Stiamo cercando un/una partecipante italiano per un progetto di volontariato internazionale (ex SVE, ora Solidarity Corps). Il progetto si svolge in Grecia (Nea Moudania, vicino a Salonicco… sì, sul mare!) presso il nostro ottimo partner You in Europe. Da settembre 2020 a settembre 2021. Tutto è gratuito per il volontario: il viaggio viene rimborsato, viene fornita una stanza singola in alloggio condiviso e un pocket money mensile.
Alloggio: i volontari alloggeranno in 2 appartamenti. Ogni appartamento ha 2 camere da letto, bagno, soggiorno, cucina. L’appartamento è attrezzato per soddisfare le esigenze di base del volontario.
Pasti: i volontari ricevono 120 euro di indennità mensile, che saranno spesi secondo la loro volontà. Possono cucinare nel loro alloggio. Paghetta: i volontari riceveranno una paghetta di 150 euro al mese per le loro spese personali.
Formazione: i volontari parteciperanno all’arrivo e alla formazione di medio termine, organizzata dall’Agenzia nazionale. Inoltre saranno formati per il loro lavoro.
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!
I am back here to start the 2020 with a lot of energy, new experiences and food, of course. For the Christmas holidays I went back in Greece to see my family and my friends and enjoy some time in my home.
My feelings were mixed…
Before even leaving from Faenza to start my trip back to Athens I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to return. I had to stay in Italy to see how is Christmas time for the Italians and have this experience, too. But, my tickets were already paid and I couldn’t chance my mind so easily -after all, I think I already told you that I don’t have that much money to spent…-.
So, I returned in Greece and I landed in Athens. After a long journey I was finally home, in my bed sleeping during the afternoon because I was really tired from the flight and the change of the environment. I woke up at the right time to start my first night out in Athens and meet my friends. And that is how everything started….
I spent a week in Athens going out every single night and having fun. Of course with a bit of sleep and a lot of food. I saw all my friends and we had so much fun that after a point I almost forgot that I live in Italy now. After this fun and exhausting at the same time week, I took the bus to visit my parents and surprise them. They had no idea that I am going to my hometown to see them, even though they were literally begging me to go I was always telling them that I don’t have the time. Their reaction was precious!
I spent New Years Eve with them in our small village, in which they have a small, beautiful and traditional coffee shop. It was exactly what I needed after the previous week. I relaxed near the fireplace, I drunk coffees and hot chocolates, I took long walks with my dogs and I ate a lot for an other time. I also helped them if it was needed.
After 4 days with them, I returned to Athens to start getting ready to come back here, in Italy, in the magical Faenza. But, I never expected that for another time I didn’t wanted to go away. I got comfortable in Greece, with all these people around me that I love and it was really hard to come back here. I had to sit and think about all the positive and negative things to realize for another time that the opportunity to be here is amazing and I don’t want to change a thing.
Hello from the other siiiiide (a little bit of Adele suits this sad article),
I am the Greek one, the known, the entertaining one that likes to speak about her weekends, Italian food and drinks. This blogging thing is starting to kinda like me…
My last blog was a travel blog, giving you some new information about Brisighella, a small but beautiful city of Italy, just ten minutes away from Faenza. So, I covered the travelling part and I am coming for another time to talk to you about the drama part of the everyday life of a volunteer in Faenza.
Well, we are doing international projects and taking this amazing opportunity that European Union is giving us. Of course, there are a lot of good things to tell about this experience, but there also some bad things and this is the main reason that I am writing this article.
Let’s start from the good parts so we can proceed to the sad and difficult parts…
One of the best things is the contact with the new culture. For me the Italian culture wasn’t so unknown. I was studying Italian Language and Literature back in Greece and I had a basic knowledge of the language, the culture and the Italian lifestyle. In this way, you might never read from me that I have a huge cultural shock or something like that. Also, as the time passes by I am realizing more and more how similar are the Italians with the Greeks. Regarding the lifestyle it is like I am still living in Greece, going out the same amount of time, be socialized and it is not a big deal if I talk with people I don’t know. The only difference is that I am speaking Italian.
Another really interesting fact is the job that I am doing here. It is not a regular work, you don’t feel like you are having a boss upon your head that anytime can start screaming at you. Also, it is pretty cool the fact that as a volunteer there are a lot of things that you can do. I mean, I am a volunteer, if help is needed and I can contribute, I will be there. In this way, the activities that I am choosing are a lot and different also. I am really enjoying this variety of occupations.
But, sadly I have to move one to share with you a really difficult part of the ESC life and in general of the life living away from your home. There are times that you are feeling home-sick and that’s logical. Your friends and your family are away, you are talking with them on phone or Skype but there aren’t next to you when you need a hug. Especially the first days of the arrival in a new country, a new city and society you have this feeling all the time. You are feeling alone…
Here comes the EVS opportunity to shine up your day and put some other volunteers beside you to share this experience and of course these emotions. When you are with people, even unknown at the moment, that you are sharing all these new things; it could make you feel more safe and loved and can help you to overcome a little bit your loneliness.
So, one of these guys, next to my side, sleeping in the next room of mine and sharing the everyday life in work and in the apartment, was Raquel. She was a Spanish, crazy and really interesting girl that we lived together for 2 and a half months. We became friends from the first moment -but no, to be sincere, we needed about a week to be sure-. We used to study together but in the middle of studying we started talking and stopping at midnight. Raquel was the reason that I put apart my fear and stress to talk in Italian and I actually started communicate with the locals. She, Greta -our other flatmate that I am promising that I will write something about her, too- and me had a lot of fun, a bunch of amazing moments and an extraordinary everyday life.
But, in conclusion, and of course the reason that I said that this is one bad and sad parts of the international volunteering experience, the project of Raquel finished and she had to return to Spain. We had a party, an after party and a tearful goodbye session. I still can’t realize that she is gone and I am expecting her to return for a trip in another city of Italy or something like that. In any case, I hate goodbyes, I am really bad at those…