Sun, wind, rain, sand – NATURE
Seems like it was just yesterday, when I arrived in France, seems like just few days ago I met all those amazing people from training courses and seminars, other volunteers, my new colleges… But no, I am here all ready for 8 months. That is so incredible how fast the time runes. I have the feeling that I will not have enough time to breath air in my lounges when the time to go home will be already here.
France, yes France… Normandy. In these words, hides so much. Adventures, rain, sun, life, nature, changes, and my heart as well. If we talk about practical things, for example, France as it is, is very big, vide and so different county as it is. The South are totally different as the North. East and the West, so amazing, love it. Architecture, people, landscapes, everything is so different. What of cores is just normal. I am so happy that I have this opportunity to visit this county, opportunity to get better, to really feel the breath of the country. But about my experience and my adventure I will tell a bit later, as I said – adventures.
Sun, wind, rain, sand – NATURE, Normandy, France. These are tho words which discribes my life here in France the most. Winter in France – rainy, wet, for me, personally, I really miss the snow, but it’s interesting to see winter in different condition. Spring – actualy it starts without really noticing. If in Latvi we are waiting when the snow will melt and the nature will wake up afher sleap, then here in France at one moment you just realise that everything starts to blume, birds are singing and theres this special smell in the air. Summer is coming, really fast, but that how is to be in the summer in Normandy I will feel, soon, I hope, because with Normandie you never know. Nature now is big and important part of my life, and I really want that it will stay like that. I think there is no better place where to clear your thoughts, put everything in the order than in the nature. Nature is such a big and powerful word. In the middle time of my EVS, while I am here, most of the activities, animations have been exactly in the nature. For example, nature club with the kids, when we are going out to the meadows, at the small water ponds, when we are searching bugs, exploring them, their differences, talk about their part in the nature, how important is to have them. Together with kids I have filtered the water from the river, to make it usable and drinkable. We have hike with the donkeys and then cleaning the beaches.
Activities in the nature have been a lot and different, next to the rivers, into the rivers, next to the sea, in the beaches and not only. More with kids we have made city plans, just to look to the city from different point of view. Together with my colleague, we have made cleaning products from natural and nature safe products, we have learned how to cook food from the products that usually we just throw away. With one of my colleague and some volunteers we made a garden, now we can see how our work is growing, we builded a green house. Together with kids we made paper from the newspapers, basically we reuse the paper in the funny, interesting and nice way. One of my own favorite activities was work with kids with disabilities. These kids are so true, so nice, they are really interested in things what we are showing to them, I like to see the joy in their eyes.
Different activities that I really like is EVS promotion in the high schools, and not only, meetings with young people. I like preparing for these activities, planning, sharing with ideas together with my mentor, I think we both together are really good team. Our work always is full of jokes, full with pleasant and light atmosphere, and when we are with young people we try to make activities as interesting as possible. I really love to work with young people, I love to see the sparkles in their eyes, to see how interested in they are. I think that is what I want to do after my EVS, I want to become a youth trainer, I want to work with young people. I want to put small seeds in their minds, I want to animate thoughts in their minds, open their minds, encourage them to really do, I want to motivate them, I want to see how shines their eyes because of the joy, because of the happiness and dreams. All young people that I have met, all the people that I have met, those who know me good, says that I could be really good in that, and I am really interested in that as well, I feel passion for that. I think that here in France I have found myself in some kind of way. I know the direction in which I want to go.
Of course that all is not everything that I have done, what I have understood. This more is the formal part, if I can call it like that. These are activities which are connected with the work, but there are much more things that I have done. During my voluntary work I have met so much other volunteers, some of them the projects are ended all ready, and one part of my voluntary work is saying goodbye as well. With other volunteers we got to the conclusion that voluntary work is never ending meeting with the new people and saying goodbye all the time as well. But these are not sad farewell, when you think that you will never meet these people again. These farewell are like promise that we will meet again, soon. When, we have no idea, but we know, that it will happen, for sure.
For me as a true Latvian singing is into the blood. I ride a bicycle – I sing, I walk – I sing. I sing when ever I want, and I really miss my choir in Latvia. I started to sing in the group of ladies here in Coutances. We sing in French, English, and abit Italian, I really like that. Even more now I understand how important it is to me, how big part in my life takes singing. After my first concert with them, the ladies told me that they will kidnap me and will never let me go back to Latvia. They said that it’s really good to have me with them, and they really like me as well. I thought that it was so sweet from them, but my heart anyway is screaming for Latvia’s big choir in the Mežaparks Stage, when the soul just vibrates because of energy what create us all, with our singing together.
Latvian, traditions, our identity and our true nature. That is so interesting how chances our view to the things. When we can have it every day, all the time, we don’t really appreciate them, we think that they are totally compelling. Singing, that is just one part, but I am talking about the traditions. At the Easter time, my friend from Germany arrived to visit me. We spend such a good time together. At the Easter morning I wanted to show her what we Latvians are doing at Easters, I wanted to show her our traditions. We coulred eggs with natural products, just like we do it in Latvia, because I have grow up with this tradition. We went out to pick up some plants, I all ready had onion peel, and I wanted to try something new as well, that’s why I used red cabbage. I had a feeling that my friend at the beginning was quite skeptical, but as she admitted to me later, she didn’t expect that the result will be that amazing as it was. For me it was so funny to see her reaction when she saw eggs in red an blue coulor. And the goul was that they where from natural products. As my friend told to me, in Germany they just paint something on the eggs and thats it, with chimical coulors. Now my friend is going to coulur eggs like we did every year, it was so nice to share that with her. It’s so interesting to look at the people when they see something new, and I love to talk with people about Latvia, I love to share our traditions with them. I have understod that we Latvians are reall nature kids, we are singing song about nature and we are living in a harmony with it. Nature for us Latvians are really important.
Not only once I have presented my country to other volunteers and not only to volunteers. After my stories about Latvia, people are coming to me and saying that they really want to visit Latvia, because all that I have told to them and my emotion, sparkles in my eyes when I am talking about Latvia really motivates them to visit Latvia and really feel it on their own skin. People admit as well that they don’t have that much information about Latvia, if they know something about it. Mostly they know that there is this contry caled Latvia, maybe they know the capital city, about tradions and other things, just some people, really just some, or they don’t know anything. I am happy that I can help people to get to know something new, to really want to feel Latvia on their skin, the our connection with nature…
I think one of the reasons why I have fall in love with France so badly is the nature. Its multiplicity, its beauty. Mountains, valleys, rivers, seas, ocean, forests, dunes, cliffs. Everything. As we know France is much more bigger than Latvia, North – South, it’s like I would be in two totally different countries. I have the feeling that that is the reason why France is so special for me. I was traveling a bit in France West, South, a bit in the East as well, with girl from Lithuania. Us bouth tigether were good team, we had so much fun, I broke a lot borders in my mind, now I have feeling the whole world is open for me. Like it is waiting for me to discover it. We visited cities like Bordeaux, Montpellier, Marseille, Montelimar, Aubenas, Balazuc, Lyon, and other small villages. Amazing beautiful views, breathtaking feelings. People that we met, new friends, just so amazing adventure…
Oh yes, French language. How to say, it’s getting better and better. With one volunteer from Bosnia, we spoke, that our motivation to learn French sometimes is somewhere we are not. So yeah, there is the good answer for that. I have progressed a lot actually, I understand more and more, ok not all words, but I can follow the conversation quite good actually. Some times I am just not sure, if I understand correctly. If we talk about speaking in French, it’s getting better as well. I feel more confident about it. I feel good, I think I integrate quite good in the society. Language as it self I really like, only it’s not that easy to learn it, specially when I get too lazy, or when I just want to do something else. With my colleagues we are joking a lot, they are helping to me, everything is happening, I am moving forward. Sometimes the speed would be faster, but it’s good as it is. I don’t want to push myself to hard, I like the flow. In the shops, I don’t have that much surprises anymore as it was.
I feel really good here, I would lie if I would say that I don’t miss my home, my friends, family, Latvian, traditions. Everything. But in the same time I have feeling that I have so much things to learn, feel here as well. Sometimes I just want to hear Latvian language, just to hear sound of the words in it. For me to sleep in English now is so organic now. In the city where I live now, in Coutances, at the beginning of May was a Jazz festival. I was participating in that as a volunteer and I was singing in it as well, with my group of ladies. I was working in the sustainable development group, we change the rubbish bags, selected the rubishes, it was really interesting actually. I really loved my team, so positive, young people, really nice to work with them. I was the only one who was not French, but anyway everyone was talking with me, we were trying to communicate in English and French. We were trying to help each other. One really amazing week in my life. Our team leader asked me if I want to be in the team next year as well, I said, if I will be in the France, for sure they can count on me. And then I will be able to speak in French. Some of them said, that’s not a problem, they enjoyed talking English as well, it was really valuable experience for all of us. They liked to practise their English.
All that have happened, experience suggests me to think about my new and old friends, about the world, things, feelings, future, objectives, life. I can feel that I am changing, I feel the strength, energy, confidence about myself and inside of me. I wrote that I am in France for some kind of reason, I still think that I am here for some kind of reason. I have feeling, that still till the end I haven’t found it jet, maybe I will understand it when I will back home in Latvia. But I know all ready now that experience, people, everything helps me to open my mind more wider, help me to pull down the borders, helps me to move forward. I see myself in the future more clearly, I know the direction in what I want to go. Nature – it have a big part in my life as well. I think that I had forgot it in one part in my life, or I just didn’t understand that how important for me it is. But now I see clearly, I love the nature and I want to have it as a big part of my life. I thought that nature is compelling, but nature is not just something. Nature is so much more, nature is life, and we have to love it and take care of it.
I am grateful to the God for all of this, for life, for love, for knowledge, nature, experience, people. I love my life, I love Latvia and France. I can’t wait for my new adventures…