traveling is a story and I am a story-teller

Úti Sztorik

It was definitely more than a year

all about EVS part 2

2016. október 06. - Úti Sztorik

I few days or weeks ago I have written a blogpost about my EVS year, and I promised that I will write another one, since so many things happened and getting to know a new culture is full of stories and experiences. Allora, here is the second half of the questions! (And the answers of them.)

A pretty random picture from Verona because I like it


Working:
This is a (or the?) big topic of my life (and so of my friends). In Italy I was doing my voluntary job in the office of InCo, an association which helps youngsters to find mobility programs (like volunteering abroad, Au Pair, etc.) founded and supported by persons who lived abroad (or moved to Italy), so experienced the whole process of “meeting a new culture” and, just like me, loved this process. 

I have arrived to the office!
My tasks: were very colorful. I had this period at the beginning with creative tasks (like editing videos or posters) + office work (like writing to foreign partners in English) + communication stuffs to do (like Facebook page, websites). Then I had in every week two hours which I spent with old ladies (played cards, made a walk, led the gymnastic with and for them). And I also participated in the so called parallel activities made by the volunteers of different nonprofit organizations in the topic of healthy lifestyle, conservation of the nature or inter-culture and mobility. And in the second part of my EVS year I had more out-of-office tasks like helping in the organization of a youth exchange and a voluntary camp in Kosovo or participating in a festival for children. Besides this, because of personal reasons, I made another voluntary job with alley cats and I lived with mentally disordered people for more than a week, so I basically MADE EVERYTHING one can do in a year in social sphere.
One of the kittens
The best part of my job: was that I saw the sense of it and I was motivated. If it was about the office work, knew that I was helping youngsters to have amazing experiences. If it was about the old ladies I knew that I gave them some nice time. I made cats healthier and gave them food. I watched a Star Wars movie with a mental disordered[1]lovely guy which makes everybody’s day better (even if there is Jar Jar Binks in it). So, the best part was that I saw the inner sense in everything I had done, and they weren’t just about profit. I used to be very idealist even before the EVS, and I became more idealist during it, because I had the opportunity to experience this feeling. And to see how my colleagues love their job which was also a big motivation.
 
The hardest part of my job: to be a volunteer. My voluntary job had big responsibilities[2], and officially as a volunteer I did not have any. So it was hard to situate myself: I was told to be a volunteer, but I felt the responsibilities and effect of my job as an employee. So I had this period when I felt responsible for everything, but in the meanwhile asked for permission for every (sometimes little) things I was going to do… I needed to control myself, and to let it go, and just do what I thought to be good without fears. And I had to finish situating myself and asking what the hell I am. I know that it sounds like a first world problem, but this can have an effect on your work or your feelings, so it is kind of a big deal, and looking back to my EVS period, this was the biggest deal, not when I did not speak any Italian, was tired or had communication problems.

 

Me as a quasi "youth leader" with my Bosnian, Italian and Spanish people
(in a Star Wars T-shirt)
The funniest story of my voluntary job: well, probably I am missing something, but I love this story, so I will tell this one. At the beginning I did not speak any Italian, but I already work with the old ladies who did not speak any English (or Hungarian, surprise!). But they spoke some German, so they were nicely speaking with my German roommate. With me, we were kind of stuck, between the levels of “Ciao! Come stai?” and actual conversations. So I had my afternoon with this old lady, Silvana, who later turned to be one of my favorites, sarcastic humor but caring personality with a little melody and sometimes moody periods. (I am kind of going to be like her when I will be 92.) So, she just came into the room, she saw me and then asked the lady who was working in the house (in Italian, but I already could understand her): “The Hungarian one? Again?” and then she just left the room without saying anything to me!! I was just sitting there and thinking about my unknown language… Later on, when I’d learnt Italian, we played the cards, spoke a lot and even made an interview with her about her traveling stories.
With Silvana's back (because of privacy reasons)
(But it was also nice when I was at the festival for children. I was in the creative part, so I started to copy-draw Disney characters, Rapunzel and Mulan, and after that the children were chasing me and asking for pictures! They were cute and scary at the same time!)
One of my drawings at the children's festival: MiniBZ
(there is my very artistic signiture, too:))
EVS-life:
EVS life has a particular meaning, I guess. You have to opportunity to meet young people like you from 18 to 30. And they are like you: they are motivated enough to challenge themselves in another country and usually they are interested in the topic their organizations deal with. But they are also very different: they are from different countries, they don’t speak your mother tongue (especially if it is Hungarian!), they have different social background, but they are living the same experience like you. Amazing!

 

Crazy but lovely friend-group :)
The most amazing thing I have seen: sh*t, it is hard to tell. Probably the Giardino in Merano. A colorful, beautiful garden among the mountains. Or Pompeii. If there would not be so many tourists… A slice of the history. Or probably the cemetery in Milan. I could not stop thinking about the stories behind the graves and their sculptures.
 
The most amazing thing I have done: okay, it is not an EVS thing, but when I was abroad I told one of my Hungarian friends that his life is not going to the right direction and he should change… And he decided to! I am so proud of him – and of myself, because I feel like there is a good progress. (And because I have this “I am an amateur psychologist, telling everybody who asks or does not ask what to do with his or her life”-issue.:D) 
 
Favorite festa with my EVS friends: is probably our first tiramisu party (and the next two ones:D) with my roommate. We had this big mansarda(attick) in the house with kitchen, toilet and with space big enough to dance, so we decided to make a festa there. (And some others later.) And our first festa was about doing a lot of tiramisu and eating it together. This was the first time I felt like that house is my – our home. (But I also loved my birthday party at the lake which is a big surprise, because my birthdays usually really, really, really suck.)

 

My tiramisu always smiles!
Any special holiday: well, Christmas was special, because I have spent it in that house with the mentally disordered persons with my ex-EVS-boyfriend, so it was reallyinteresting. Especially the part when I told my mom: “Guess what! It is almost Christmas, I am not at home, but not even in Trento or in Italy, because I came into a third country to visit my EVS-boyfriend you basically don’t know about. And how is your day going?”. Luckily, my sister was there to prevent the third world war.
 
My Easter was this kind of “Hello, Ági, I am Life and here to make you suffer”. I finally went home and I was sick all the time, so bye-bye good, old, missed Hungarian food! Bye-bye active holiday and fun programs!
 
My birthday party was fantastic, because I decided to not care, so I just told to my friends that: “Hey, let’s go to the lake and bring some food and drink on Saturday. BTW, on Sunday I am going o have my birthday, so you can say me Happy birthday.”. And apart from the heart attack I had when it started to rain, it was the best idea ever.
 
The hardest thing in being an EVS volunteer: there were three, I guess. I did not like the place I lived. I mean it was a really nice house with nice persons, but the owners of the house did not let me feel totally at home: we could not have any guests (not even family members) to sleep there or they forgot to tell me that I was going to have a brand new roommate in my last month there… There are some volunteers who are luckier in this, and there are who are unluckier, I have heard every kind of stories while I visited many volunteers in different cities who could host me. So, with living issues you have to be lucky, I guess. 
 
The other part was being away from my friends and family. It was not about missing them: we could speak, and I had a so busy life, I did not have the time to really realize I missed them. The hard part was about NOT being there for them when they needed it, when something bad happened. And it is kind of hard to come back and see that there are still problems, even if it is not my fault.
 
And the third part is about love, of course, because in every EVS-story there is a love story (or more). (Okay, not in every single EVS-story, but in most of them.) And, according to a Spanish friend, they ALWAYS end up with breakups. Well, I don’t know about all of them, but mine ended up with it. Still, it is a funny story, I mean, who else would call her mom with the sentences above? :D
 
Home:
Living behind Hungary was not as hard as expected, maybe because I knew that I was going to return and there was Skype, emails, Facebook. But, still… 
 
I missed: tejföl. Okay, I should say something not food, should not I? :D I missed the Liberty Bridge from Budapest where we always sit to speak, drink and watch the city by night. They closed it this summer, so more people could sit there, do yoga or whatever, and I was not in Budapest!!!
 
I did NOT miss: negativity, resignation and depression. Okay, I know that not every Hungarian feels like this, but there are this basic pessimistic point of view we have and it was nice to be in a world where more dreams can come true. Or where people believesmore dreams can come true.
 
Regarding to persons I missed the most: my sister’s daughter. With everybody else I could communicate just by words, but she does not speak, so Skype was out of the options. On the other hand, I always wanted to hug and kiss her, so Skype was still out of options.
 
Regarding to persons I DID not miss: Hungarian politicians.
 
Another very long post, so I am finishing now. The year in Italy was one of my bests, if not the best itself. (So far, but hey I am just 25, so I gonna have so many ‘best years’, I even won’t be able to count them!) The hard thing is to finish and to continue this experience in the very same time. The really hard part of EVS is ‘EVS afterlife’.
 
So, there will be another post about it, I guess. Or not. But I still miss it.
(Not a big surprise. I know that every EVS friend of mine is secretly crying at home after this nice year. ;))




[1] I really hope that this is the politically correct way to say! ^^

 

[2] But I think, every voluntary job has even if it is not an office job, but you have to deal with people with less opportunities or something like that. You have an effect on actual persons!

 

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