[ENG] 3 words are not enough to define it…

EVS for the one who haven’t been part of it is just European voluntary service, but for me that 3 words are not enough to define it…

Because it was complete, funny, mind-blowing, helpful, useful, challenging, lifechanging and I could continue. Four are the walls that usually obstacle your way in an experience like this.

Many people are not ready to overcome them, not ready to face them, not ready to grow and they surrender and hate the experience, but when you are truly willing to do it you will be able to jump them and achieve your balanced happiness.

The first thing for everybody is usually “Will I find someone to talk with? Or will I get on well with someone?”

Unexpectedly this stopped being a fear as soon as I met the group, everybody for a different reason had something special and non-judgmental, ready to see, learn, listen and live this experience together. Every of us respected the other unreservedly, nobody thought or act as he/she was better than the others. There was a deep bound that was easily intertwined in the same way you do when you are making a bracelet. We were the perfect matching colors for making that bracelet amazing and never seen before and original as we were.

The second biggest obstacle is “Will I be able to fulfill my duties? Will I be enough? Do I really have a worth?” These questions are always in our heart and there is not a moment in our life that we don’t think about them.

We did so many different things from sewing to build stages, from making games to giving flyers, from biking for many kilometers to paint stones, from managing the cooking for fifteen people to parade that made us stop for a moment thinking about that and realizing we were worthy!

I could do something for the project in my own way as the others could do, I could really make the difference. I felt important and I felt part of something bigger and that I was building this bigger something, this youth festival with my own hands for the first time.

The third wall to get rid of is of course “Will I get on well with the organizers? Will they be able and willing to listen to me or to help me? Will they be a reference point for me or only someone who doesn’t really care about me?” This seems usually one of the highest obstacles to jump and sometimes it is because you have to study each others, listen to each others, talk to each others, respect each others and understand each others in a very little time and that’s complicate but not impossible.

It took more time but we did it. Day by day the communication became better and the relationship strengthened, they became for us an important part of our life there without taking away our freedom to discover and be ourselves in that place. They cared about us, they cared about me. I had a little health problem and they helped me as much as they could, they assisted me and took me where I could feel better no matter how far it was. They put aside their lives for some hours or days and give space to me and to my wellbeing. I could never thank them enough for that because not everyone takes care of someone who doesn’t really know so patiently.

And the last but not least is “Will I adapt to the country? Will I feel in some way at home? Will I understand Latvia? Will I feel it?”

For me this wall was quite easy to pass this time because I had already had a long experience in Latvia, so my door trough that wall was already built. I didn’t feel home the first time I was in there, but I felt it this time!

I discovered parts of the country I had forgotten, I had liked and I had lived. I felt their pride, I felt their smiles, I felt their warm, their special kind of warm. We all overcame our fears, jumped our walls, grew up, made everlasting friends, explored the world and ourselves, felt new things, changed our opinions but especially lived and all thanks to this fantastic project.  

The first time I left Latvia, I felt incomplete with an indescribable desire to be back, to have more of that.

This time the circle was completed in the best way but I realized that I will never have enough of this. I will never have enough of Latvia. 

Laura Abruzzo


The project "Young city of tomorrow" was financed with the support of European Commission’s “Erasmus+: Youth in Action” administered in Latvia by the Agency for International Programs for Youth. This publication reflects only the author’s views, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained there in.