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Hello lovely people and welcome to my last blog of the fall-winter series. In this part it goes more and more up to Christmas, over Christmas and into the wintry January. So, the on-arrival training has ended and after another long journey back, I slowly started to get into the Christmas spirit. Lights were being turned on everywhere (a big thing here in Slovenia) and everything was decorated and prepared at EPI too. We even met the St. Nicholas, isn’t that great?

The same day, so after our comeback from Zreče, we met one of the previous volunteers, and she was staying with us for a few days. Together we went ice skating, etc. A short time later, I got a visit from a friend from Belgium, and I was really happy to see her again, to show her and talk to her about everything. We had a lot of fun during the days, went for walks, baked, she cut my hair (with !craft scissors!) and we watched the sunset at the spa (totally recommended btw. – as long as you remember your swim suit;) On another day we went to Ljubljana to visit the Illusion Museum, to try the Kuhano Vino at the Christmas market and to go out. Here you see 3 times me showing how long my arms are. First one on the Christmas market, second one during the walk and third in the illusion museum.

We slept in a hostel and here a quick word about hostels in general; no matter where I’ve stayed in a hostel in Slovenia so far, everything has always been very clean and run smoothly without problems (to recommend). The next day we had to go back to Lucija early because I had a Christmas performance with the choir there. It all sounds quite peaceful now, and it actually is, if I hadn’t realized just before we went on stage that I didn’t have my music sheet for the Slovenian song with me. At that moment, I had to use all my acting talent and my Slovenian skills. Luckily, in the end it worked out somehow. Afterwards I had a few very interesting conversations with local people, which is nice, because little things like that make you feel more part of the environment. That was the last evening with my friend, which we spent relaxing before she left the next day. The next few days were getting closer and closer to Christmas, so we did activities in EPI such as baking cookies, ice skating, movie night and played various fun games, which in the end probably made me sweat more than the kids.

The weekend before Christmas, we went to Vienna with 2 other volunteers, mainly to see the Christmas markets. Even though I had already been to Vienna, it was wonderful again. To be honest, the thing that sticks in my mind the most is our search for food. There was always at least one of us who got hungry again, which is why we were constantly on the lookout for treats at the next Christmas market. Or rather raclette, as one person in particular couldn’t get it out of her head.

December went incredibly quickly and so there was only one day left for me here in Slovenia until I flew back to Belgium for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. On this last day, the weather was once again glorious, which is why Emilie and I decided to go to the sea and soak up some sun for the last time before our return to constantly rainy Belgium. I was also able to soak up the sun again, as I had another performance with the choir at the Christmas market in Lucija that day. Afterwards we had a drink together on the terrace (couldn’t imagine doing that in Belgium one day before Christmas) and did a secret Santa. A little tip for everyone, if you don’t have any ideas for presents, get some shrink wrap! You can create whatever you want with it, and I can tell you, I’m still so fascinated during the baking part that my nose sticks directly to the oven glass. Well, that’s it with my Slovenia-story for 2023:)

Although my vacation in Belgium was full program, because I wanted to spend the time well with my people, I enjoyed it a lot. But during the time I was away, things also changed at home, which is why the first week back in Lucija was quiet hard for me, as I had to sort out my feelings. This is supposed to be an honest blog so yeah. On the ‘first’ weekend we went to visit the Skofcian Caves with people from Koper, which was totally impressive and, as the guide said, really like entering paradise… I don’t think I’ve listened so attentively for a long time and remembered as many details as I did on this trip, really somehow very interesting. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside, so I can’t show you any of them. Of course on the trip there happened also some mishaps, but what would it be without. Suddenly, the girl from Koper lost more and more of her shoes during the tour. At least she left a little present for the caves, right? Back at the entrance the rescue came – tape! This was then wrapped around both feet and – yeah enough now;) Emilie and I are definitely also not normal. While it was the girl’s feet, it was once again our hands that when it’s cold either turn into sausages or even die (and then come back to life afterwards, don’t worry).

So why using a weather app when you can use our hand thermometer. During the week, I worked a lot on a presentation and an escape game about the ESC program, that we will present in a school on the next weeks. Also what I forgot to say is that we got another new volunteer in Epi that is from Piran and probably stays for 2 months or something, which is very cool I think. Then it was the weekend again and I went to Lake Jasna with Helin from Koper and we hiked to a hut. It was all kind of magical.

What was less magical, was the 9-hour bus ride, for which my alarm clock chased me out of bed at 4am. To that I say: never again. Despite everything, I’m happy because the result was more than satisfactory and the weather was great. I was exhausted on Sunday and decided to have a chill day. The power cut that followed gave me another order to really chill out.

And that’s it, we almost survived the cold winter, well here it’s actually fine, nothing to complain about in contrast to the north → another reason to appreciate the life at the coast;) See you again for the winter-spring blog!