Looking Back

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Looking Back
Hello! I am Lilit - a girl from the mountainous Armenia, a country which is small by size, but famous for its sportsmen, like for example the professional box-champion Arthur Abraham (nicknamed King Arthur), the three-division world’s champion VikDarchinyan, the Armenian chess Grandmaster Levon Aronyan, many champions in weightlifting, judo as well and of course, the most famous Armenian singer, songwriter, actor, public activist and diplomat - Charles Aznavour. People in Armenia are very hospitable, ready to help others and the most important is that they have a great sense of humor. All of this information is just to give you a small idea about my country, about where I come from. But now I am in Romania… Three more months and…You will ask “and what?” The answer is simple-my project will be finished. Yes, three more months and I am going home. Time passes very fast, like a bird, which just whispers something in your ears and flies away and till you are able to recognize, that you have heard some trill, the bird is already gone. Now, looking back to all of what has happened, I remember what I was doing last year. Last year I was preparing for my final exams and for taking my certificate. It was really hard and busy period for me, because besides my studies, I was preparing for something else as well. I think you can already guess-I was preparing to come here in Romania, although it was really not easy to make the decision. But as proverb says: “If something is going to happen, it will happen”. For me it was like that. I had no intention to leave my country, especially for one year and go to do an EVS project. Of course, I had the knowledge of what is volunteering, because I did volunteer work in my country as well, but EVS is another type of volunteering, another experience and another change in your life. I am saying all these, because I have experienced it and for this I am really thankful to one friend of mine, who provoked me to take this “risk” and make this step. Thank you very much GurgenBalasanyan!
As I already mentioned, it was hard for me to make that decision, but I guess the hardest thing it turn out to be the moment when you have to talk to your family to convince them that you have made a right decision, that everything will be OK, even though you are putting the same questions to yourself - will it be Ok or not? Anyway I did it, I took the risk and I managed to convince my family. I remember the day when I was having the Skype interview with the president of my hosting organization. Before talking to her, I was very nervous. We had an appointment to have the Skype interview at 10 a.m. by Romanian time. It is two hours of time difference between Armenia and Romania (now it is just one). I’ve checked it ten times, but anyway I was waiting in front of my computer since 08 a.m. by Armenian time, as I did not sleep the whole night ( in my mind was always the thought that there is a chance I did not check well). It was really horrible to sit and wait for the Skype call. When it was just one minute after the agreed time, I was already in panic - O my God!! May it be that I did not check well or I did not understand well? But fortunately I heard the Skype making its ring. The first few minutes I felt tensed, but after I relaxed everything was ok. After our conversation, the president said that she would send an official letter to my sending organization that I have been chosen for their project to work with children. I can say that it was one of the sweetest “victories” in my life. It is just an unexplainable feeling. …It was the end of May. I have already passed my exams and have already graduated. I also had my documents ready and I was actively preparing to come to Romania. The 5th of August - I am here in Romania. My mentor came to picked me up from the airport. She was the first person whom I met here. Afterwards I went to my apartment and got acquainted with my flat-mates. Everything was so different, so strange for me - different country, different people, horrible hot weather that you feel you melting each second. You will ask: “Was I experiencing a cultural shock?” - I did!!! I do not know, maybe some people never had this feeling as for each person it’s individual, but for me it was a huge shock. Imagine… twenty people from sixteen different countries and each one of them with his unique individuality. Different cultures, different customs, traditions, different way of thinking and finally different personalities. You should deal with each one of these things. It was also a big challenge for me, but it was just the beginning so I think it is normal to feel that way. We didn't even realize but we became a big international family.
After few days our trainings started - origami trainings, trainings for the lessons in kindergartens, balloon twisting trainings as well as face painting and shadow theatre. After all of this, the time arrived when we started to go to schools and kindergartens and have our lessons as ambassadors from our countries. At the beginning it was embarrassing to enter the classroom and children attack you with their questions and you are not able to understand even one word because you do not know the language. But this was also a temporary situation because with time we've learnt at least basic Romanian and we've gained more experience of how to deal with the children.
It is so exciting when you go to a school/kindergarten and the children remember you, your name, when they start to repeat your name like domnişoară Lili, but the funniest part is that they start to call you “domnişoară Armenia” – actually they give you the name of the country you represent. The nicest feeling is when they run to you and start to hug and kiss you like they've met a very close and dear person and when you ask them the colors of your flag, they start: “kamish”(karmir-red), “kaput”(kapuyt-blue), “tsinanaguy”(tsiranaguyn-orange). Ahh! Fulfilling! After finishing the lesson they do not let you go.
The same thing happens in the hospitals as well. Children are waiting for you with a curiosity of what they will learn and what activities they will do with us that day. It is a feeling of uselessness when you feel that somebody is waiting for you and especially when that somebody is the one of the most vulnerable parts of society. But on the other hand, it is very nice if you can make even a very small part of their life interesting and useful. Then we did our Christmas campaign. We collected toys from the donations of the children in the kindergartens and schools in Bucharest, made packages full of sweets, toys and fruits and gave all of this to the children in the hospitals we work at, of course accompanied with some beautiful performances from both sides. Recently we made an Eastern campaign as well. This time we made origami roses from napkins and offered them in front of the churches in exchange for a small donation. Imagine us all in red, on a Sunday morning with big baskets full of flowers, in front of a church offering roses. The people were not obligated to make a donation, they just give it according to their will. It took lot of courage to ask people to make a donation, especially when you meet different kind of people - people eager to help, kind, but also some arrogant people who do not even want to listen to you. Anyway there were just few people that can be categorized as part of the last group I was talking about , but everything that we did was for the children who were actually waiting for us and on whom we were going to bestow bunches of smiles so that was the most important thing above all.
There is not such word as lack of events in our project, Even more, we have an upcoming event really soon - a festival, where each of us should teach something typical for our country to one of the many groups involved in the program from different schools or kindergartens in Bucharest. We could choose whatever we want - song, dance, performance. I taught my group how to dance an Armenian dance. I know it is not easy, but I tried to teach them at least the basic movements. It is really interesting when children from other country are presenting yours. I am looking forward to this festival to see my children shining on the stage with an Armenian dance. And again I came to the same point- three more months, after which I will stop to go kindergartens, schools and hospitals, I will not have evaluation meetings each Friday, I will not run after the bus to catch it so I will not be late for my lesson. I will not see my big, international family members and finally I will not be in Romania. Yes, this is the saddest part of my story!
Everything in life has a good and a bad side and EVS is not an exception. EVS is really another part of your life, when you deal with lots of things, with many obstacles, as nothing is perfect. By living abroad and especially in a multicultural “family”, you start to recognize many things, to become more independent, self-confident, more open-minded and experienced, to be able to “read” the people, get acquainted with many other cultures, make new friends… Now when I am counting I have friends almost all over Europe. Isn’t it amazing? Of course it is! But you know it is better to feel once than hear thousand times. So take a risk and do it! It is not in vain - believe me! Otherwise your bird will fly away and you will not manage to hear its wonderful trill ever!

Fifth Edition

5While closing the 4th edition of Scriptamanent, after the final meeting in Izmir, we are already preparing the new call for the next edition of the project. Stay tuned!

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