“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” – Lemony Snicket
This quote describes quiet perfect how I felt about making the next step in my life and deciding to volunteer in Italy.
I want to tell you my story and therefore I need to start from the beginning: After living in different countries and feeling the freedom of life I went back into my old job, but very quickly I realised that this wasn’t my life any more. I was back in my “home country” and I felt trapped, trapped in my own daily life. Please don’t get me wrong, I love the country I was born in and I feel very privileged to be one of its citizen for a lot of reasons but I just wasn’t happy neither ready to be back yet…
…once you go back to your “home country”, going to another country feels like learning a foreign language that no one around you speaks, so there is no way to communicate to them how you actually feel and why you wanna leave your “home country” again after just being away for so long. All you want to do is leave, find a new project in your life, get to know a new culture, a new language and new people. For me it’s like a drug you are taking for a while but then you get used to it and you need to change to be able to feel alive again. So I was leaving again to find people who speak the same language as me. Not English or Spanish or Italian or German, but a language where others know what it is like to leave, change, grow, experience, learn, then go “home” again and feel more lost in your “home town” then you did in the foreign place you have visited or lived in.
So, I had a good job and a beautiful home, but I was bored, maybe even afraid that I will end up doing the same for the rest of my life. So, I left, yes maybe I was even running to find a place that would make me happier because it didn’t even took me a month to realise that I need to leave again. Did I find that place? For sure! Do I wanna stay forever? NO! Why not? Because I am a runner. I need to run and try new things before the daily hits me. It is not that I don’t appreciate this way of living but I always feel that there is more to explore before it is too late.
ABOUT MY TIME AND EXPERIENCES IN ITALY…
The last 11 months were one of the greatest experiences in my life. I got to meet and work with all these beautiful people from totally different cultures, I got to spend all this time in a country that is so rich on culture and history that you actually can’t get bored discovering it.
Living abroad in another culture than your own, always comes with challenges. Nothing and no one is perfect, so things happen you didn’t see coming and you don’t know how to handle them best. It’s about finding solutions and becoming more and more autonomous in your own life. Some things you have to face on your own and with my experiences I can say it makes you stronger, more independent and you start appreciating even more, everything you have. You grow as a person and your mind changes. You get a new perspective on life and also of yourself. You find out what is good and what is not good for you. You learn to speak up and step up for the things that matter the most to you and yes, even if you hurt or disappoint some others with some things, it is okay, because we are all humans and it is not about becoming all the same rather than staying true to yourself. It is about being different and learning how to live together and using these differences to make this world a better and not a worse place. I believe that we will never really find out why we got the gift to be on this earth but travelling, volunteering, meeting other people and cultures, anywhere in this world, makes me feel like I found a great purpose in my personal life.
Since I moved to Italy to start my SVE I have had mostly positive but also mixed feelings. I can’t really say that I had a cultural shock because I have been visiting Italy a lot of times before and every time I fell in love with this beautiful country. But also I discovered quickly that nothing is perfect and every country has its difficulties and some people would rather like to live in my country to be „safe“ when it comes to having good living conditions. But let me tell you that it is not about the money on your bank account at the end of the month. I am way more happy supporting this project and living with less than I ever had in Germany.
Our projects are so different of what I have been doing before and some of them challenge me a lot but also I would not want to have it any other way.
After being to Rome for the OAT and MTE I am even more appreciating the place I have found to support during my SVE and I see how lucky I got to have ended up surrounded by people who care so much about you from day one, without even really knowing you yet.
Of course you need to be able to afford this kind of work. Let me tell you, you will not be able to save a lot of money doing volunteering work but you will gain something way more important than that. Experiences, personal growth and most importantly you will learn to give and receive LOVE by simply giving your time.
Some things in Italy are of course different to my “home country” but that does not mean they are worse. Actually I even started to like them and got used to them. I can’t remember the last time I have been somewhere on time, I wasn’t even on time to pick up and welcome my Mom, when she came for a visit from Germany.
I am not questioning myself any longer why people risk there life and cross the street even if it is red, I think I almost died 4 times already doing the same while riding the bike. Speaking of riding the bike it is one of the best parts about living in Torino. The city is perfect to get around by bike and I feel the most free and relaxed when I have the opportunity to do so, which is almost every day.
I was able to have friends visiting me from Germany. I found a great friend in my flatmate. I was dancing on the street and much more….
Now I have only one month left in Italy and thinking about leaving this place already hurts a lot. Because the people I have met here made this place a home, for all of us, and leaving home always hurts. I have left so many places I actually thought it would get easier by the time but I am starting to think it never will, especially Torino is making it very hard to go. I will have to leave and I will feel lost again. This is the hardest thing of living abroad but it is also the very reason why we all run away!
So go! Leave! Live abroad! Run! Take new chances and live your life the way you want it! This is what I have done the last years and I am just getting started!!!
Thank you Eufemia! For letting us be who we are. For helping us grow and explore ourselves, this beautiful project and city.
Y’ALL MAKE THIS PLACE SO BEAUTIFUL!