I’m looking at the calendar and it’s already December. My first impression is that I have the feeling that the time passes very fast, but thinking about what I have done last month makes me forget this idea. I really did a lot of things, specially going to Ljubljana on the weekends (there was always something to do there, like going to see the Women’s European Handball tournament).
But the month of November had a change for me. I had my on-arrival training and I met a lot of volunteers around Slovenia.
At the beginning I was a bit upset because it was in Strunjan (btw, I learnt how it’s pronounced two weeks ago). For all of those who don’t know, Strunjan is in the coast of Slovenia, and it’s even part of the municipality of Piran. I had the opportunity to go to a lot of destinations for my on-arrival, and I have the “luck” to have it in the same place where I live. But well, at least it’s in the coast, close to the sea… And Alberto told me that sunsets there are the best in Slovenia!
So, again my luck, it was raining the whole 5 days. I couldn’t even see the sun! And, of course, I wanted to show the other volunteers the views to Italy and to Triglav… They will have to wait for that.
As I said, Strunjan is only 40 minutes by walk from my home. Thus, I took the Parenzana, go through the tunnel, and arrived early to the hotel where we were staying. Before starting with the program, I had the opportunity to meet and talk a few with the group of volunteers from Skofja Loka (it was my first option in Slovenia for my ESC) and meet the other Spanish girl. I was impressed -and happy- about the fact that we were only three Spanish (and from Cádiz, the same region!) out of 24 volunteers that we were.
Concerning the program, I must say that it was great. We learned about our roles and responsibilities, our situation in our project and feelings, solidarity, youth pass, mental health, etc. in a collaborative way through non-formal education. Actually, as far as I remember, this was my first time working with such that methodology and I liked it because I could participate on the talks and listen to the others many times. Besides, we had a solidarity day in which I could bring my group to EPI Piran to play a creative game with the youth.
For me, the best part was to meet the other volunteers. I had a lot of interesting conversations about how and where do we work. Our feelings and emotions with being far from our hometowns made me feel understood, as we were all in the same situation. We also discuss about our cultures, history, Balkans, feminism, consent, lgtb+ rights, sustainability, etc. At the end, I missed to have the chance to stay more days, as there were some moments in which we had to stop talking about a topic because we had to follow the program.
Apart of learning a lot, we did a lot of enjoyable activities. For example, the mid-term volunteers organized a karaoke that we joined, and we had a lot of fun. Besides, we went by boat to Piran to have dinner and, in the night, a few volunteers and I decided to come back to the hotel by walk. It was really nice.
Another thing to be proud of myself is that I went swimming on the beach, and the water wasn’t as cold as I expected. Now I have the goal of swimming on the sea once a month. I hope I can survive to December, January and February… I will keep you updated! 😊
To sum up, I’m very grateful for the week. The accommodation and food were perfect, the group really open-minded and respectful, and the learnings rest forever. And yes, despite all my complains about Strunjan, there were good things: I could also come back home on foot and I was the last person on leaving the place.