“Liva, stop worrying, there is life after European Voluntary Service, and your will be amazing”. This is what my mentor said to me when I started my way back home. Yes, my EVS is over now, but I still have a lot of stories and adventures to tell from the last months of my EVS. Already now I can tell that, the hole project was amazing, life changing, point of view changing.
Well, I will start with May, because I finished my previous article then. So, May, Jazz festival, preparation for new adventure with other 4 volunteers who arrived in the end of May. In February, my mentor told me that in May will arrive more 4 volunteers, one from Latvia, Germany, Hungary and Spain. And then they came, Laura from Latvia, Leo from Germany, David from Hungary and Carol from Spain. We spend 2 amazing months together, born new friendships, new love for life, nature and everything that we did. I can say that hole project was unforgettable, but exactly the summer was the most charming. Just like the summer.
All of us together, we created video where we are showing our voluntary work, we are showing what we did during our project, how we protected the nature, and how much fun we had, all of us together. Link for the video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW7fyy5-TDs
It’s sad, because we can put all emotions, all adventures that we had during the project, in this video. Together we ride a lot of kilometers, not only with the car, but with the bicycle as well. We visited a lot different cities and beaches. I think one of my brightest this summer memory was Midsummer festival celebration with other volunteers. With other volunteers help, we organized European evening. We presented our countries to each other and others who came to our organized evening. We made food, which comes from our countries and we had small degustation, it was nice and interesting. For us, Latvians 24th June is special, and I really wanted to show how much and different traditions we have for this day/night. So what I did, day before I went to collect special wild flowers, from who after we made flower crowns, this is special Latvian tradition. It was nice to find some the same flowers, just like in Latvia. I asked to boys, to help me with the bonfire. Unfortunately, we didn’t have Latvian traditional beer, but we had traditional Latvian cheese for the Midsummer festival, thanks to Latvian girl Laura, who took it from home. It was really nice to see other volunteers enjoying Latvian traditions, and not only other volunteers, everyone who came. I saw how interesting it is for them to participate in the workshops that we created. Girls really enjoyed flower crown making, boys preferred bonfire. Everyone had something to do. We filled organization with laugh. We were more than just 5 EVS volunteers from AVRIL, I invited other volunteers from Normandy and Bretagne, my friends, from other organizations. Girl from Lithuania, Bosnia and one boy and girl from Austria. All of us together send wonderful weekend.
But this wasn’t our only adventure for all of us together. The hole work with other volunteers was really interesting. One of my favorite activities was going into the natures, when we put the fences to protect dunes from erosion, when we digged the holes into the ground, made the cement, when we worked really hard. All these work we called in one word – “Chantier”, special French word, for who we couldn’t find translation in English. While we were working we created different inside jokes, which understood only us. I got really nice tan, and my sister and cousins can’t laugh about me anymore, like it was last summer, because I was working in the office for the whole summer and I was white, but not this year, I am brown because I was working outside.
In this short time period, I got really use to them, we got close and it was really sad to say goodbye to them. Sometimes I think there is nothing else who brings people more together than a work, which you do together. Of course sometimes there’s a bit too much of these people, that’s why I was so happy that I had my own place where I could be alone with myself and even sometimes invite some of them. And then, again, I had to say goodbye. While I was volunteer, I had to say goodbye quite a lot actually, but this goodbye is a bit different. With this goodbye we say Hi again, we just don’t meet each other for a bit longer time. That is just a matter of time when we will meet again. That is just a new beginning.
The whole summer in general was full of adventures, I participated in the youth exchange and this time I was one of the trainers, not just a participant. We started to work for this project in May and I was working for this project since the beginning, till the end. I helped to the whole team to make the plan for the project, for all 10 days, I helped to prepare other things as well, and then at the beginning of August, our project started. At the beginning it was really strange for me to be one of the teamers. Young people were in my age, some of them older, mostly some years younger, comes and asks me advices, ask how better do this or that. It was really strange, but nice. During my EVS I realized how much I like to work with young people, work with them in different projects, I have very good relationship with them, they respect me, they listen to me. The theme of the project was: “Cool the global warming”. We organized different workshops and activities which came out of this theme, we went to talk with local people about sustainable development, we danced and exchanged our cultures. There were participants from 4 nations: England, France, Portugal and Greece. I was the only one from Latvia, and I presented Latvia as well, I showed Latvian traditional dances, now I can say, there are more 44 people who want’s so come to Latvia and feel Latvia’s magic on their own skin. Portuguese and Greeks prefer to see Latvia in the summer, but every one of them would love see Latvia in the winter as well, because then Latvia turns into the fairytale.
I got close with these young people as well, and it was sad to say goodbye again. New friendships are waiting for me around every corner. We are making plans when and where to meet all of us again. I really want to go visit mostly all of them. Experience simply amazing. Colleges with who I was working with invited me to work with them next year as well, they said me, they can’t work without me anymore. It’s really nice to hear that, because I really liked the work with them as well. I love to see happy and smiley people around me, it’s nice to grow up together with the young people and not only with young people.
Adventure full of emotions, excitement, head spinning. This is how I can describe my project and EVS in total. After this youth exchange I even could take my last holidays in AVRIL, I hosted my German friend, she was EVS volunteer in France south. I showed her magic of the Normandy, we visited some small villages around Coutances, small city where I was living for 11 months, Etrata cliff and famous Le Mont Saint Michel. I was happy and my friend was happy. I didn’t have that much time to relax because my head was full of thoughts, because my project was coming to an end, but still I had a lot of things to do. I had to write my Youthpass, I had to finish the games that I started to make, I had to organize my table, laptop, I had to clean my apartment, and put everything in the order in my head and language. I had to manage to say goodbye to my friends in France, and figure out which stuff to leave in France. Oh yeah, I guess I forgot to say that I am coming back in France, for another project. This will be voluntary work again but a bit different than EVS. This is what I love about life, when you are working, and doing things, life brings you new opportunities. Now I am full of motivation to progress in French. Of course I don’t understand everything yet, but I can talk a bit already, I can fallow the conversation, and I am super happy about that. At the new project I will work more with young people, which is exactly what I want. This experience will be very useful for my future. I will lie, if I will say, that I am not nervous about everything how it will be, but I know everything will be alright and I will manage everything. One cycle in my life is owe now, it’s time for the next one. I can’t wait when it will start.
Now I can say that I have some kind of holidays in Latvia, I am meeting all my beloved ones. Of course head is full of thing that I still have to do, things that I have to manage to do while I am in Latvia. Anyway everything happens like it supposed to happen. It was much easier to say goodbye to my friends in France because I knew that I will see them again really soon. This my new adventure is less frightening, because the language is more familiar, I have friends with who I can go out, all systems I know already, beauty of France and Normandy is in my heart. For my organization, AVRIL, it was sad to say goodbye to me, but I am sure that I will often visitor there. My mentor already asked me if she will need my help, if it’s possible that I will go to help her with EVS promotion, and I said yes.
I am happy to be home, even if it’s just for a short time. It’s really strange to me home, but this strange feeling seems to be normal already. I went home by bus, I spent 37h on the road, I wanted to make my travel a bit longer. I was laughing and saying to my friends, if I would just fly to Latvia, I would never know that there’s new road in Poland.
France managed to steal my heart, EVS helped me to understand what I really want to do in my life, in which direction I want to go. Of course, I’m still searching for myself, but the experience, what I have got is simply amazing. I feel like the luckiest person on the universe, because I had this opportunity to meet all these amazing people, to get new friends, with who we will be friends for long, long, long time. I have learned new language and I even didn’t have a dream that one day I will speak French. I have got to know myself better, I have understood what I want in my life, I have got rid of fears and barriers in my head. I have opened my mind more wider, I have learned new methods, I have discovered new cultures, I have reached my own limits and more and more. And all of this, thankfully this amazing experience. Everyone who is searching for himself, everyone who is looking forward for adventures, everyone who wants to feel, wants to experience something really amazing, I recommend to go and to do an EVS, I recommend to take this adventure. To really go and do, and mostly to enjoy.
Still, I think, I haven’t realized why I France exactly. Maybe I will find an answer during my next adventure, or maybe even later in my life, who knows where life will take me, but I am sure that will be amazingly beautiful. All I have to do is to keep my eyes and heart open, I have to flow with the flow, I have to be happy about every chance that life brings to me. Beautiful, thank you and see you then.