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February 2024

Finally, it’s time to tell you more about this month. February is usually not a good month for me, it’s the end of winter, everything is grey, cold, and kind of depressing. But this time was different and way better!

As I said in my last blog, February started with my mid-term. The Mid-term training is the second training we have when we are doing a long-term project (which means more than 6 months). I was very excited about it but also a bit stressed, because unlike the on-arrival where Anne and my friend from Belgium were there with me, this time I was going alone. I knew some people from the first training will be there but still, I was worried how it’ll turn out. So on a sunny Tuesday morning, I travelled to Dobrna, taking a prevoz car and 2 different buses. We were a smaller group and I could feel the vibe was different (at first I couldn’t help but comparing the two trainings). The schedule gave us more space to choose what we wanted to do or to discuss as well as more free time. If I’m being honest, the first day wasn’t really good for me as I felt a bit lonely, lost and unsure about why I was there. However, this feeling quickly passed.

During these 4 days, we reflected on what happened since the beginning of our project and what is left, what we’d still like to accomplish. That was of course interesting but what I preferred was the time spending with the other volunteers. As we already knew a little bit each other, we didn’t have this phase of “getting to know each other” and all the basics questions going with it. We could immediately jump into deeper conversations or just have fun. I really enjoyed the evenings spent playing the piano, jungle speed (where I became very competitive) or even chess. It was all about having a good time and good laughs.

The fact that I was on my own also really pushed to reach out to others more when we were eating or in the evenings. In this way I was able to create more connections with people, which I hadn’t done much in the other training. The mid-term ended with an activity called “thermal reflection” that we chose (basically an excuse to enjoy the pool). Unfortunately, a weird virus was circulating in the group and there were only a few of us left. It was a bit sad to end the mid-term with some people missing but I’m really grateful for this week and all the people I met.

After this intensive week, I went straight to Venise for the Carnival with Anne. We spent the weekend there, visiting this beautiful city and watching all the amazing costumes (it’s like an open-air museum). I’m very happy I went and I really like the charm of Venise. This Carnival is quite famous but in a certain way, it stays simple and not too fancy. There, I also met with a friend from Belgium and that was something totally unexpected!

After all this, it was time to get back to work. But only for a few days…Because already, it was national day-off for Prešeren day! With some volunteers, we first wanted to go and visit Škofja Loka but we missed our bus so we went to Kranj (city of this poet) and then we took another bus to also visit Škofja Loka.

Then, we continued in the carnival’s theme, cooked miške and krofs in EPI. I also went to Ptuj to see this very special carnival. Once we understood that the Kurenti were “capturing” some girls who didn’t have a scarf to give, we kind of became scared of them and tried to escape them as much as we could. But of course, at some point, I got chased by one of them and “captured”. Memorable moment. The day after, with another volunteer, we went to see Banksy exhibition (a bit disappointing but thanks to the lady who made us a price) and faced a climate sceptic guide.

The weekend after, my grandparents came to visit me. I took them to Bled, Postojna caves (I’d recommend!!) and, of course, Piran. It was very nice to finally be able to share a bit of my life here and show them where I live for 4/5 months.

The week after was holiday week in EPI, which means we had some activities organised for the kids every day. We did some gardening, went to Škocjan, cooked bread/tortillas/homemade sauce, played board games and walked around Lucija hills. Plus, we were free in the afternoon and had time to enjoy the sunny weather.

For the last weekend of February, we did a hike in Cerknica and another one on Sunday to go and see Peričnik waterfall with other volunteers (only French and German speakers this time !). Usually, I’m not a big fan of waterfalls but this one was impressive. You can also go behind the waterfall  and it gives a very different impression. After that, we still had time (and a car !) so we decided to go and see Zelenci natural reserve. I went there a few years ago in the summer with my family and wanted to see it again with some snow. It was nice and pretty but I didn’t remember that it was that close from the road so we were a bit disappointed but happy to see it anyway.

So that’s basically it for February. March will be my last month here in Slovenia… But there’s still a lot to come!