domenica 24 agosto 2008

Finally my conclusions!

Back to the blog! I was supposed to end my story a long time ago but..everything has gone so fast that I really didn't have time (and will!) to sit here and write. But now it's definitely the right time.

So..after we left Croatia we spent some 5 beautiful days at Magdalena's, in Austria, where we have moved to Graz, Regensburg and Vienna. We really enjoyed our "last days" together, and we enjoyed it so much that we have already planned the next stage :-)

Then, once back in my city, I started soon an internship which took me in the countryside between Padova and Vicenza so that I was away five days per week, many many hours per day! (That's the reason why I have been so lazy with the blog!)

Well, as for considering and giving my final opinion about the whole experience I must agree with my colleagues. If I knew everything we got to know step by step during our EVS I surely wouldn't have chosen that project because we were told to get the YouthPass but it turned out in the last weeks it's not possible for centralized projects like ours. Then because we had plenty of bureaucratic problems with our host organization and that affected a lot our work there.

But all in all I cannot say I have a bad memory of it. On the contrary all these problems have bound myself with Madara and Magdalena a lot, a beautiful friendship was born and has been growing little by little sometimes and very quickly during hard times!

I really loved living in Croatia as it's a beautiful country, we got to know very nice people both in the Youth Center and outside, I learnt a lot about Balkan culture(s) and stereotypes. It's been a real valuable experience and I am very happy and proud to have done it.

So, my suggestion to all the people who would like to do it or who don't know a lot about it I would say that it's really worth experiencing life in another country and getting involved in another culture. But it's necessary to get informed as much as possible, checking everything carefully and asking support to their own sending organization as lots of things are not clear enough and you can have bad surprises while you are abroad.

That's it! This is my final response and if sombody has not got it I will be more straighforward: it's an experience which must be done for ourselves as human beings since it's definitely a kind of life's school!

So goodbye everybody..I might let you know my next adventures so..keep on checking my blog every now and then! ;-)

venerdì 27 giugno 2008

last days of EVS..

So..the time is literally running out..2 days left and our EVS will be over..

Probably the impression somebody may have reading the first sentence is that I am quite happy to leave..well, those who have had this feeling are not totally wrong!

But let's start from the beginning..of course not the very beginning, come on!! I have been writing a lot in my blog I think! :-P

In this last week we have prepared a photo exibition with 99 pictures we have taken in all those places we have been in these 6 months! so everybody can have an idea of this experience..
At first Osijek, the first days, getting to know the city, the Youth Center and the people; then our first activities for Cnc, researches and CMS; Sarajevo, Stip..
then the big break due to resident permit's issue which didn't come alone but with lots of other little friends..called problems!

But, as everybody has seen, we didn't lose our strength, we got other ideas in order to be productive while waiting for going back to Osijek!
So we have pictures from TC in Albania, Macedonia, other activities in Austria, UK, Ukraine, Lithuania, Italy!!
I really think it's very nice to watch at all those pictures hanging in the billiard room in Cnc!
We pasted each of them on grey sheets and then each sheet bound to the next one with rope.

Finally we have done a nice PP presentation on whole our EVS which we are showing tonight at our good-bye party at Cnc.

So, as I said at the beginning, there's a reason why I feel I am quite happy to leave..and the reason is very simple. I think we have done our job here, there's nothing else at the moment we can do, just let the people think and improve for next times.

The same for us..these 6 months have been amazing! I think I cannot definitely compared them with any other experience I had until now, and likely I will have in the future.
So it's time also for us to reflect on them (even though I have already been talking on how lucky we have been as the bad luck brought us in beautiful places, let us working to different projects and get to know some special..but very special persons!).

So..should I answer now to the title of my blog?!! Probably not there is still something left here and cuz I think it's worth to let some time go by before giving the final and personal opinion.
Anyway I can say I am happy with this experience (which does not mean I fulfilled my expectations about my EVS and my staying in Croatia..)
I got to know Madara and Magdalena who I have been always feeling close to, even though we were far away from each other for some time.

I am sure we will keep in touch, as all our adventures bound us even more than if we spent 6 months only in Osijek. And I also hope we will be able to fulfill our "personal project"..which is actually starting on Sunday..when we will leave altogether in order to visit Austria!!!
Which country will be the next?!! ;-)

martedì 24 giugno 2008

Last weekend

Today I have been in Osijek for one week and even though it's quite a short time we have been doing a lot altogether!

As I said in my last post we planned to go to Plitvice to visit the National Park and we did it! We left on Friday morning to go to Zagreb first in order to catch a bus for the lakes!
It was totally an adventure as we were not sure about the timetables for Plitvice and second we didn't know where to sleep..of course we checked in internet and it seemed there were lots of private accomodations but leaving Osijek without knowing where we were going to spend the night was a little bit scaring..anyway we do like adventures and we felt full of energy when we left Osijek..although it was only 8 o'clock!!!

The travel was ok and Plitvice definitely amazing!!

On the arrival day we just found accomodation, thanks to a nice and kind boy who was working at the parking reception of the National Park and then went for a walk in the little village where we were staying.
We have been very positively surprised by this young man called Mirko cuz he was very helpful with us from the very first time he saw us or, as I usually say when we travel, when he saw three foreign little chickens!!
He took us in a nice house where we found a very cosy room with a double and a single bed with very pink blankets!!

He would have been our mentor for the following hours but we hadn't still realized it!
He offerd some drinks and talked to us about his adventures as he was ones a deminer in Congo and Afghanistan. So we also had bizarre conversations in our trip to the lakes!

The day after we were ready to explore Plitvička Jezera and..what a paradise! what a sight! That is a place which really deserves to be visited! I have known about it and I have been wishing to go there for a long time as I was told it was beautiful!
So I felt so glad Madara had that great idea to spend the weekend traveling in order to visit at least one of the most popular Croatian places!

We have walked for several hours..from 9.30am to 3pm under the hot summery sun of Croatia..oh my days! it was definitely very very hot! I think I didn't touch any food as I was too busy with water, juices and coll tea!

All in all it was a great day even though half of it was then spent on the bus on the way back..:-(
We reached once again Zagreb and then we took the train for Osijek where at 1am on Sunday we were delighted with some "beautiful" Croatian music..of course we were not delighted and of course it was not beautiful..I was getting crazy with that horrible "Selma"!! Anyhow in half an hour almost I was finally lying in my bed, really really exhausted!

But the weekend was not finished yet! On Sunday we had a relaxing day at home and in the evening we went out to watch the football match..Italy vs Spain! Unfortunately everybody knows how it ended but we had a good time at the cafe' where we watch it.

And then Monday came! it was Mid-Summer day in Latvia so we tried to have a sort of Mid-Summer party for Madara here..

we bought some meat, she took from Latvia the traditional cheese with cummin and finally Magdalena and I went to the shop in order to have some candels and flowers as it is meant to be a celebration of Nature.

It was a really tasting party! Madara cooked very well and I think that even though she was a little bit homesick, she had a good time! And by the way we are planning to do it properly once we will be in Austria, in the mountains!

giovedì 19 giugno 2008

back in Croatia

Finally, after long queues at the bank and post office I collected all my documents for Uni and on Tuesday I was ready to come back to Osijek!

I went first to Trieste to take my visa and then to Opatija where I was supposed to meet Nenad and his Dad to go back together by car.

It was a really nice travel, more comfortable then the one I should have done if they weren't in Istria for Nenad's operation to his knee! So many thanks to my friends who let me travel during the day! (If I was alone I should have taken the night-train to Zagreb and I would have arrived around 5.30am in Osijek..).

So, after a long travel (cuz it was very long just the same!) I reached Madara and Magdalena again in our original house in Strossmayera! It was so great to see them again! It's been something like 2 months since we said goodbye in Belgrade that horrible day I couldn't go with them to Albania..

We had a long long talk! I was very tired but I felt I need so much to talk with them..about everything! What I have been doing in these months, our travel around the Balkans and my stay in England and Lithuania..and of course our situation here in Osijek..

This time is quite different from the previous ones..last times when I went away and then I was back I felt like I had never been away but this time my feeling was completely different..I think it was because of plenty of reasons..first it's summer and the city looks more colorful and lively then in winter, second the house has changed, we miss a lot of things now cuz landlord's old parents took them for their "new" house..and third cuz lots of feelings have changed's easy to perceive differences..

By the way I am glad to be back, we are planning to go to Plitvice lakes this weekend to enjoy our last days in Croatia ;-)

sabato 14 giugno 2008

Pay dirt...Lithuania!

I didn't expect not writing for such long time but after Lithuania I had plenty of things to do once back in Italy..

First of was Lithuania?! Beautiful! Amazing! I knew I would have liked it cuz I knew it was characterized by long and huge green fields, lots of trees and forests and I love mountainous landscapes but.. it was definitely even better than my expectations!

As soon as I landed in Kaunas I was surprised by the light! It was later then 10pm and it was still so light!!! I couldn't believe that! Of course I had studied that in the Northern countries during Summer the day lasts for more hours than in the South because of latitude but when you can see it with your own eyes it's amazing!!!
The reason why I went to Lithuania, to Vilnius mainly, was cuz MoE asked me to visit one of its new partner organizations. We got to know this organization at our last training in Macedonia, its name is Babilonas and it deals both with children and adults.

I went to Babilonas, I saw the rooms they use for their workshops and some of those they had already done in the past..

It was really intersting as they are very well-organized, with plenty of ideas and workshops.

For example they have been leading an initiative for kids in order to make them more motivated in going to school, so they invited some classes to have school lessons in their organization..and the kids loved it!!!

Well, but let's talk about this great experience my dear Max gave me! It was him to suggest me to go to Lithuania before I went back to Italy to collect my visa for Croatia..and I must say he offered me a very special present ;-)

As soon as I arrived, a friend of mine, actually the boy we got to know from Babilonas in Stip (whose name is Domas), came with a friend of his to pick me up at the airport and we strictly went to the forest where they were having a party. It was saturday night and it was very nice to participate to a typical party in the countryside with typical food and drinks! It was very similar to other parties I had in Croatia, but of course food and drinks were different and also people's humour..Lithuanians have a strange sense of took me a couple of days to understand it!! and actually there are still some people I don't completely understand..but never mind! this is part of intercultural learning! :-)

During the next days I visited Vilnius and another beautiful place called Trakai where we rent out a little rowboat to enjoy the lake and the nature all around!
I was positively impressed by the green! Vilnius is really very green even though it boasts a lot of history and monumental buildings.

I have been so lucky with the weather as I was told it had been horrible during the whole spring, raining almost everyday..but those days I have been there it was summer, around 25-27 C, sunny and windy enough not to be hot! so really really great! I also sunbathed!!

As always I cannot avoid mentioning what I have eaten!!!

As everybody knows this is one of the things I really appreciate a lot when I travel!!! hihihi! so here we go with some tasting homemade pancakes with creme and jam! It was Audrius, Domas' friend, who kindly hosted me in his house, who cooked those delicious pancakes for all of us for breakfast!!
Unfortunately, after 4 beautiful days I had to leave, to fly back to London in order to take another flight for usual I spent the night around Europe!
This time I was at Stansted Airport..very busy in repacking my luggages in order to fit with the 15Kg Ryanair allows for check-in luggage and 10Kg for hand was such a tough task but..I won!!! My luggage was 15.50 Kg and my hand-luggage was 9.90Kg!!!
Maybe you need me to make a premise: I was travelling with lots of stuff as I had gone to England directly from Croatia with winter clothes too, as I had been staying in Croatia since the end of January!!
Do not ask where my stuff has gone..most of it was on me!!! I was wearing something like 4 jumpers, 2 jackets, heavy earings and necklesses!! I think I looked quite ridiculous least I didn't overpay!!
So here I am, updating my blog in my brother's room..
I was supposed to go back to Osijek, where Madara and Magdalena have already arrived, last Thursday but I had some problems with some documents for University..what a news!!! I am so lucky with bureaucracy I realized!!!
Anyhow, next week I ll be back for sure, so other a few days to fix these pin-pricks and I will finally see again my dear house-mates and colleagues and of course everybody over there!

giovedì 29 maggio 2008

Two days to go.

The Conference is over and now it's time for me to get ready to leave Coventry.

First of all, the Conference was good, interesting presentations took place. The participants from the six countries involved in the project presented a sort of summary of the workshops they have done in their countries in the previous months. I really liked the one from the Estonian guys, very well done, clear and with interesting outcomes. Actually the workshops were mainly focused on how the interviewed people perceived EU, if they feel to be European citizens, what it means for them, and so on in order to have a picture from different parts of Europe about how people feel European citizenship, if they really do feel part of Europe or it is just something abstract and detached from them and their routine.

As I was writing above, I paid particular attention to the Estonian outcomes. It seems that Estonians are suspicious about EU as they feel they are moving from a union, U.S.S.R. which they have belonged to until a few years ago to a new one. Even though they are curious about EU and everything related to it, economic, political, social issues, they feel Estonian citizens more than Europeans.

Moreover, we had a good time in the evening. We went to the restaurants I mentioned some posts ago. Tonight we will go to Nando's.

All in all everything has gone really well, I am satisfied with my job here in Coventry.

I spent a very good time with Andrijana. This week gave us the chance to spend a lot of time together; even though she had to work a lot because she is writing 6 projects for the deadline of 1st June, we had time to go around!!;-)

Tomorrow she is leaving with Jarek, they will be staying in London at Jarek's. Then my turn will come! On Saturday morning I will leave for Lithuania!!!
I am very very excited about that! A new short adventure is going to start! ;-)

lunedì 26 maggio 2008

Last week in Coventry.
Today is Bank Holiday Monday so..I shouldn' be here, in the office but..I have to check something, like the right time when the first participants at the Conference are supposed to arrive in Coventry today!
So here I am to report my last weekend in Coventry (for the moment!!!).

On Friday night we had a small party to say goodbye to Max..we had a BBQ in Asha House's garden! Actually it is not a proper garden as there is no grass, but I am sure that in the future it could turn in a nice garden!

The BBQ was also not a real BBQ as we didn't have all the necessary but we tried just the same and, as long as it took too much time for the meat to be ready we started cooking in the oven and on the cook too!! All in all everything was really tasting so we had a good dinner!

Then we went out for a drink but at 1am we were already back as Max was leaving at 3.30am..

So on Saturday I was alone, I had a quiet day, doing some house-works.
I had relaxing time as I knew the day after I was going to London..the whole day! And for me, being around in a busy city like London is quite stressful..

I got up at 7 o'clock to catch the bus at 8.15, the weather was awful, really horrible, very rainy but not like usual for England, it was literally pouring!!

So I was very upset as I was thinking what to do around London on my own like that!
Actually I had planned to meet one of my best friends I got to know last year while I was Erasmus student in Reading but when I saw the weather I was not sure anymore he came!!!

Luckily as soon as I arrived at Victoria bus station it got better and better and finally, after some misunderstanding about the place where Emanuele and I were supposed to meet, I foud him out!!!

We spent a really nice day together! We had not been meeting for almost a year as we came back from England in June 2007 and then, when he came to Padova to visit another Erasmus friend of ours in November I was in Budapest..:-(
We had a lot to talk about! Of course we have been updating each other in these months, but when you have the chance to meet somebody and talk face to face, it's easy to tell the whole story again, more detailed and with some funny story! :-P
Now I am waiting for Andrijana and Jarek to come to Coventry..and tomorrow the conference will start!!!