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Hello and welcome to part two of my fall-winter-blog! We should be around 31th of October now. One month since I arrived in Slovenia. Reason for me and Emilie to celebrate our first monthly volunteering birthday with a little celebration song to ourselves. As it’s Halloween-time we also planned an escape game at Epi for the kids, played games and participated in the “Festival of taste”.

What happened around that time as well was that Ibon had to leave us, because he got a great job offer in Spain, his home country. That was a little sad because we just started to get to know each other better and then it was already time for a last drink. But things happen for a reason so I was happy for him. During the week I played a lot with the kids and had a few nice chats in the youth club in Epi Piran. I think doing this youth club in general is a very nice opportunity for the older ‘kids’ coming there to have this time together, chat, talk about things that are in their mind and just doing what they feel like. But also for me it’s great to get to know everyone better and also learn a lot from them, because I admire how incredibly smart they are. From the other things I experienced, Strunjan was definitely a highlight as well. When we arrived at the tip and were offered this wonderful view of the Moon Bay, I stopped for a moment and marveled, as I would never have expected something like this, especially not 1 hour’s walk from our apartment.

Another nice place we visited but a little further away was Trieste. The first time I crossed the borders of Slovenia (apart from the airport) and got into the Italian flair. Italian, Italians, Italian food and Italian pictures.

That was a Saturday in the middle of November. On that Sunday we went to Ljubljana for a film festival. We were all very confused and a bit disappointed by the Spanish movie we had chosen, which is why none of us could give it more than a 5/10 rating. That was a shame, but it was okay, because the hot chocolate on the terrace afterwards tasted all the better.

The week before the on arrival training was a tough week for me, so I was glad when we went to a volunteer in Kamnik the weekend before, to go for a hike together on Velika Planina. That was a stunning small village in the mountains. A lot of kilometers to walk and you arrive there with stunning views.

To cover such a long distance, I realized how stupid it was to buy hiking boots only the day before. I would say – my own fault.

Monday morning we set off from Ljubljana to Zreče where the on arrival training took place. On the long journey there, I got to know the other volunteers, which was very exciting. One thing that was a little pity was that many of them already knew each other from a volunteer club and other things, so at first I was worried that groups might have already been formed, but this was absolutely not the case. Shortly after the arrival, I found myself in a large seminar room of the hotel with around 30 other volunteers. This seems like an impressive group when you were sitting in a circle. Although we had such a large number of very different people from different countries and of different ages, we soon developed an incredible group feeling, which I would never have expected. We grew into a tolerant, deep, trusting but also energetic and humorous group. A few highlights during the week in general were for me the musical parts, be it singing together in different languages, playing instruments, dancing, and even learning the cultural dances of different countries together. There we had a lot of fun. One day was spent developing projects in small groups. Together with my group, we decided to make small pieces of paper with sayings, questions, etc. and then distribute them all over Zreče. The aim was to give something to the people walking past, to make them happy or smile and perhaps to get them out of their daily routine for a moment. What particularly touched me about this experience was the (not always expected) openness of the cafés, stores and restaurants towards a few young people and their handmade notes. Unfortunately, we didn’t see how many people took notes or responded to questions, but for us the most important success was the way we felt after. The creative training sessions and methods of our lovely trainers were also a highlight in themselves, some of which really made me think. But I will also remember some very profound conversations and all the fun evenings we spent together as a group.

If you’re wondering what we ate the whole time, then I tell you to better ask what we didn’t eat. Because if you had a lack of food during this week, I do not believe that you were a participant in this training. On the way back, accordingly I had to carry not only my backpack, but also all the delicious desserts, from which of course you HAD to try a bit of everything. I have to admit, it was a successful training, that opened new doors in my views and ways to think. And so it ends here already with the middle part. Have a lovely winter people and stay warm and healthy:) See you soon!