First month in Bratislava
When I was a teenager, I read Cielo Latini, an Argentine author who in her book Abzurdah wrote "I'm on a flight prone to crash, but I'm still flying." I don't think that this quote had ever made as much sense as it did throughout my 2020.
Until this year I did everything that the system marks as “normal” or “what you should do”. I graduated from high school, went to university and graduated as a social worker. I did a master's degree specializing in the mediation between community, society and family with focus on working with young people in a risk of social exclusion. I traveled, I worked and left home. I planted a tree, I adopted a cat. And when it seemed that I was absolutely in control, that I was prepared to start a life as socially functional adult, something happened that I was not prepared for, that I had never imagined… A global pandemic.
Suddenly it was 5 months of not being able to leave the house, not seeing my family and not being able to make plans for more than a week. Everything was changing, rules were not valid and I found myself not knowing very well what to do. I needed time to think, to adjust to new normal. I needed some security in a world that was changing really fast. That´s when I discovered the European Volunteer Corps Program. At first, all there was were doubts… Am I ready to be away from my city? Can I be away from my family, friends, my partner for so long? Will this negatively affect my career? … And still I kept flying.
I am extremely lucky that when I spoke about it at home they supported me and encouraged me to fly. Even If I would crush, even if I would miss out life in Spain. Because this is the way how I will learn what is a meaning of living. In the past I visited Bratislava as a tourist, went to bars with my friends, walked along the Danube and I was happy. When the opportunity to come back to Bratislava presented itself I said yes. I said yes thanks to Stanka from BDC who made the interview process super easy, thanks to Andrejka (director of Krko) and the nursery school where I´m currently volunteering. These people and institutions gave me a confidence and enthusiasm to pack my bags and come to Slovakia starting March 15th.
It´s been more than a month since I came to Bratislava and the city is not the same without my friends. I fell in love with Bratislava which was overflowing with bustle, laughter and its energy. Because of the virus everything is closed, streets are empty and honestly, it is different experience because for the first time I am here alone. This is a city, where in April it can be 20 degrees and the next day it can snow. You can go from walks throughout the woods with a view of the river with ducks to seeing people who are swimming in the lake in 3º. It is a city where is hard to find two identical buildings, but is a good idea to have a coffee in them. This month was not easy. Slovak culture, language and even food is totally different.
It is not easy to not be able to call my friends and go for a walk and make bonfires on the riverbanks, to take kayak trips or go out to drink vermouth...But instead…I´m learning new things, meeting new people, living in new time. You know… but I keep flying.
Foto a text: Mylena García Vargas
Mylena je dobrovoľníčka na projekte Európske zbory solidarity v detskom centre Krtko. Projekt bol podporený z projektu EÚ Európsky zbor solidarity.