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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Monday, 12 December 2016

The greatest adventures don’t require a passport

It is sometime around the middle of December. As I’m sitting in my room back home in Žilina, Slovakia after spending extra ten days past the end of my EVS project in Maribor, I find myself wondering how to write this last blog post. It will be the hardest to write – not because I would struggle to remember and put down everything important that’s happened recently, but because my feelings are difficult to put into words right now. It will be almost impossible to not get sentimental and perhaps a little pathetic, but don’t worry, the teary eyes have already dried, the goodbyes and „see-you“s have been said and the old life is coming back for me. But before that, let’s do a recap.

Of course the biggest thing I have to mention is the StopTrik festival, which I already wrote about in the October post, but I have to return to it, since it overlapped into November a bit (the good feelings about it anyway) and Ioana wrote a nice in-depth post about it, so be sure to check it out if you’re interested. I sincerely hope it will be bigger and more fun next year. And the year after that.

At the end of November, me and Nataša went together with Sara (she was sent to Ireland by Pekarna) to present EVS during an evening in the college students‘ club ŠTUK, where multiple organizations offered opportunities to work or study abroad. It wasn’t a big event, but as always, I was happy to spread the contagion of EVS enthusiasm among young people.

Other than that, the month was pretty much about slowly wrapping things up, making a goodbye party with Ioana, doing the last this and the last that, enjoying all the Christmas lights in the city and falling into that weird phase of duality, when your mind feels like it’s split into thinking about two different places at once – anyone who’s ever lived abroad knows what I’m talking about. The feeling didn’t really hit me until the very last few days in Maribor, when I had to start thinking about packing, buying just enough food to take as little of it back with me as I could, and going to work more or less without having to. The last volunteer meetings, seeing „our“ children from Brezmejni svet for the last time to take them to UGM, the last evening out with people I can now with confidence call friends. Hating goodbyes and prefering to simply disappear like I always did, I tried to avoid the sadness until the last moment and when it hit, it stayed for a while, overwhelming everything else. I could write about it in ten different ways and not be satisfied with each interpretation. Everyone has their own.

But I’m back home now and old and new challenges are waiting for me. I feel rusty and my old uncomfortable self is coming back to me – there will have to be a long, hard conversation. With experience, I’m realizing travel has become a big escape (for myself and others), and EVS was no exception. So, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s words, I encourage you to focus not only on physical journeys, but on moral and spiritual ones beforehand. And even though many things are unclear for me now, what I know for sure is that I’m going to tell everyone about EVS and what a grand adventure it can be. Ten months in that one country that’s so similar to the one I come from that it often gets mistaken for it were enough to fully convince me. I had an amazing workplace filled with warm, kind, fun people, a job – no, a mission – I found meaningful and many wonderful relationships, sights and memories. EVS will stay in my memory for a very long time. And to people in Pekarna and Maribor I say: „Se vidimo!“

„The greatest adventures don’t require a passport.“


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