European Voluntary Service

This is Pekarna's blog for EVS volunteers. Pekarna is a sending and hosting/receiving organisation for EVS volunteers and their volunteers (send and hosted ones) will keep you up to date about their work.

Evropska prostovoljska služba

Pekarna Magdalenske mreže Maribor te vabi, da se tudi ti pridružiš množici prostovljcev/-k Evropske prostovoljne službe (EVS) in odpotuješ v organizacijo po svoji izbiri v drugo državo EU. Smo pošiljajoča in gostiteljska organizacija EVS, ki mladim od 17. in do 30. leta za obdobje največ enega leta uredi vse podrobnosti za brezskrbno in povsem brezplačno delovanje v tujini.
Evropska prostovoljna služba je del programa ERASMUS + Mladi v akciji.

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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

A month has passed.

My first (and probably last) EVS experience has started even before I arrived in Maribor – skype calls, packing, paperwork, looking at maps, nervousness. I imagine that at the end of all this I will be laughing at how I felt at the beginning, even though it’s not the first time I’ve been away from home for a long time on my own. It’s always more and more enjoyable – some things are different from last time, some are not. You recall an old feeling at a new place or with a new person and things somehow feel familiar. It’s a feeling I get here almost constantly, since I see more and more similarities between Slovenia and Slovakia – not just the countries‘ names and their language, but the political/social issues, the mentality, the vibe, the culture. I often laugh at how learning slovenščina for me is a bit like trying to read with your head tilted to the side – it’s just beyond understandable and somehow difficult. I feel this way about everything here and I’m slowly getting used to it.

So what’s it like to be here, live here and work here, now that I’ve gotten somewhat used to it?

My flat is a huge apartment from the secession era with white walls and doors, creaking wooden floors and windows with blinds overlooking the street and the Drava river. It has five other people, most of them pleasant students of medicine used to EVS volunteers living there, and an old untuned piano. I was also told that there might be a cat coming soon. (I adore cats.)

Infopeka, Pekarna Magdalenske mreže is a smaller place than I thought, but what it lacks in office space it makes up for with connections, passionate people and work. This month was mostly quiet, since the organization was applying for grants, but the pace should pick up over the next few months. Even without that, there is always something to do – meetings with different groups, checking out other organizations in the city, working on things for Infopeka or for myself as a volunteer, attending events and workshops. There were two grand ones this month, both of which I attended as a photographer – a forum theatre workshop beaming with vibes from all participants who surprised themselves and were thrilled by their performances, and a project happening around Europe called Corners, where four artists collect games in different cities and create new ones, exploring traditions and culture behind them. As I’m writing this, Corners is still in progress in Maribor and I’m excited to see what games will be created.

Maribor is a city like any other in Europe, with pretty parts and ugly parts, small corners worth visiting, tens of coffee shops for everyone’s taste and style, more opportunities than I can count and a seemingly endless stream of people, some of which I already meet on the street sometimes. Everything is unfamiliar and wet and cold now, but I only expect it to get better with spring and summer. I will get to know the city and, in a way, make it mine.

A month has passed. Nine months are left and I await them at the edge of my seat.

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