I just came home for the holidays. This time my homecoming was quite different from all the others I’ve had in my life. This time, it really meant something. Although I have lived abroad during almost 1 year and 1 month in a sum of all my programs and exchanges, coming home from my first time working as a long-term volunteer abroad seems to be having a more profound impact on me.
One hundred and fifty two days away from the comfort zone in hometown will not only make you appreciate it more, but it will also make you appreciate the simple discoveries. The let down from a half of a year working and traveling abroad is inevitable. What you learn about the world and yourself can be so profound, that it is sometimes difficult to explain. To put so much into words others can grasp is next to impossible.
But only the first part of it is over now. Starting a new chapter of doing volunteering in actions, a new year in life that will certainly not be the same. Currently now, I live and volunteer in Zagreb, and it provides wonderful things, people, and a beautifully unique culture I am quick to love from the early beginning. Along my travels into this world of volunteering, I happily offered descriptions of my strengths to put some new initiatives and projects on the map of our intercultural and non-formal activities. Coming home conjures up numerous emotions, many of which are as individual as the person experiencing them. For me, there is no closure and little anticipation, returning home is just what needed to be done. My exams should be completed and I had to come back to my cat and to all the closest people I can’t live without.
Living abroad will change you. You will gain experiences and knowledge that will have immeasurable impact, but it is your friends, your family, and your home that will welcome you with open arms. They will want to hear your stories. They will want to tell you theirs.
I found myself being critical of home because it can’t offer those experiences. Kirovograd isn’t Zagreb, just as your home isn’t an adventurous far-off destination. They offer different lessons and experiences, but valuable lessons just the same. It is the never-ending learner’s spirit in us that makes us more able to recognize these important things.
Now I’m scared but also excited for everything that lies in front of me during the second part of my ESC volunteering activity that I’ve been dreaming for a while. I am mentally getting ready to be overwhelmed with emotions, smells and tastes. I am already physically ready to welcome all those familiar hugs, kisses and strokes I’m missing for now.
The project “YOU are the EU” is funded by the Agency for Mobility and EU programmes withing the program European Solidarity Corps.