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A pat on the Back

A pat on the back…you did well.

The ending is almost here and I am about to close that subject of my life and open a new one. That is how life is, right? Reflecting back to my time here, my project and my life over all, I would say that I am left with a bitter sweet taste. My project here and the organization I was volunteering it probably was a good fit for me, it kept me busy and creative, inspired and happy (the most of the time). The important aspect was that it was in the field of my studies (Pedagogy). There were times where I was tired and overwhelmed but on the other hand it gave me so much. I gained experience with children, a close to actual work experience and the strength to stand on my own and be in charge of my life, far from anyone how could do that for me, we all like to lean on others sometimes.

My life here, socially speaking, it was very limited and damaged I would say for the pandemic. For 5-6 months we were leaving in a quarantine and a curfew which really influenced, negatively the whole idea and expectations of a project like ESC. The intercultural and multicultural aspects were almost gone as travels were gone and there was also not a possibility to meet locals or even other volunteers in order to interact and feel as a part of something new, young and dynamic. Though after April things started to be more open if I may say and I actually discovered the city of Bratislava, parks, river, bridges, museums, galleries, bars, pubs, restaurants. Of course, I met and bond with locals and other internationals in Bratislava, volunteers and citizens, it was and is a different place for me now, a whole new experience.

Most importantly my time here gave me a clear view and perspective on life, what and how I want to do in life! Difficult times and times of harmony, sad times and pleasant times, I took the good along with the bad, through laughter and tears. As a friend of mine told my when I was starting this journey, “Don’t be afraid of life, Leave!”. Now I am going back to Greece but not defeated and scared but full of ideas and inner strength to bring my plans to life and pursuit my dream of becoming an actor. Looking back to my year here I have no regrets and I definitely give a positive pass to all of it. A life lesson is learned through ESC.

If I may I would like to close here with a verse of a very beloved poem of mine: “I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life…” (Henry David Thoreau)

Text a foto: Ioannis Chatzidakis

Ioannis je dobrovoľník na projekte Európske zbory solidarity v detskom centre Hlavička. Projekt bol podporený z projektu EÚ Európsky zbor solidarity.

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