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October 2023

Hi! Dober dan! Bonjour!

I’m Emilie, 18, from Belgium and I’m the new volunteer of EPI. It’s kind of crazy to start writing those blogs because I still remembered when I was reading all of the previous volunteer’s stories to have an idea of what living and working in Piran looks like. And here I am!

I arrived in Slovenia on Saturday 30th September, quite late, because my flight was delayed (of course). And actually, compared to previous volunteers, I wasn’t alone. The other new volunteer was also coming from Belgium. So we met at the airport and we made all the way to Lucija together. I have to say that it’s quite nice to not be totally alone in a new place. On the shared taxi, the GoOpti, the driver told us a bit about Slovenia and the place where we were going to live for the next months. He gave us some places to try that are good and not too expensive.

I started working on Monday, which gave me Sunday to settle in. Everything was closed but Varja kindly took us to the only shop open in Piran.

If I’m being honest, moving abroad isn’t so easy and the first two weeks were a bit difficult for me because I needed some time to adapt to the new environment, the new work, new language, new life! But it’s really a beautiful place and the weather was still warm which allowed me to enjoy sunsets every day, swimming in this really salty sea and simply enjoying the sun.

On the first weekend here, we took the bikes (we love those ones) and cycled to Koper, the biggest city on the coast. We also stopped by Izola (lovely town by the way). The road to go there is really nice, especially because it’s safe for the bikes and the walkers, which is not always like this in Belgium. Croatia is only at 25 min by bike so we also crossed the border of Croatia and cycled for two hours there. It’s crazy how the landscapes are different from there.

Of course, we’re also working. The first week was calm, so we had the time to learn board games and get to know the kids. I knew almost none of the games so it wasn’t easy to remember all of the rules and let’s say that I lost a lot of the games. We started Slovenian lessons on the second week and this language sounds soooo complicated, that’s crazy. Right now, I can proudly say that I can count until 100 and introduce myself. But basically, that’s all I can do.

We also went to Ljubljana one day to meet one of my friends who is also doing an ESC project and another volunteer. The weather was the total opposite of the previous day. It went from summer to autumn in less than 24 hours! How crazy is this? Ljubljana is at only 1h15 by car from Piran and it was so cold there. We didn’t expect it. But anyway, it was really nice to spend times with a friend but also new people. We walked around the city, climbed to the castle, then decided to go for a hot chocolate. If you come from Belgium or France or a neighbouring country, trust me, those are absolutely not the same as we have. Here, it’s literally melted chocolate with just a little bit of milk (but really just a little bit). I mean…It’s really good but finishing your cup is kind of hard.

We also went to Bled and Bohinj. Those two lakes are really beautiful, and even more with all the autumn colours. Yes, it rained all day but we still enjoyed it and we’ll definitely go back.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see more about this country, to meet new people, to start new things and to keep learning.

See you next month!