The End and Beginning of an Era

Luka LavrinMy friends, this is it. I am going home and also leaving home. I am going to write in English for the Narva people to understand. Slovenian is not exactly a language of communication around these parts. There are many last time things I have done or am going to do. Last time going to VitaTiim, last drink with my mentor, last sleep at Kangelaste 10a, last poker evening at Julja’s place, last karaoke & Just Dance & party at VitaTiim, and many more. Speaking of the latter, the party was incredible. With it you have shown me how much you have got to share. I loved everything, absolutely everything. The jingle was ridiculously appropriate. “Tam, tam, tam, Luka!!!” Thank you for the interviews you did with the main host Julja. The suggestive reactions were spot on [AGREE]. The songs truly came from the heart and no amount of wrong notes alleviates the sincerity you conveyed. Thank you for eating 80 pancakes (well, I helped a bit, too). This is one of the things that make an average Slovenian happy. The guests have to be well-nourished. Speaking of food, the Nutella cake, falafels, raisin cake, and other treats kept our saliva flowing. I am finally getting better at Just Dance, but I will practice even more. I have no words left for karaoke. You heard them on Thursday. Thank you for the wishes you gave me. Some of them will come true, some of them not, but they all sounded sincere. I have got so many presents I have no idea where to put them. VitaTiim should create an emergency gift luggage fund in case of such wonderful events.

At this point, I want to make a wish. When I talked to some of you on Thursday, I sensed that you seem a bit lost because I am leaving. I wish you will remember the incredible moments we spent together, yet not linger on them. Do not idolise the past because it often poisons the present. You have so many more fascinating people to meet. Show them that you care. When you are honestly interested in a person, clearly show that. Do not hold back. That person will feel it and respond to your energy. Another intriguing comment I heard yesterday was that foreigners get a special treatment. We are/look more interesting almost by default. Why? Is it just because we come from another country? This is only the first impression which dissipates in a few months. I have realised it is never the language or the culture that defines a person. It is the person’s expression of the culture, language, and their character that really matters in the end. Search for that within the people you share the same language as well.

At this point I would like to say a few words to each and every one of you. I may forget to mention some, but that is just my brain’s inability to remember you all cognitively. In spirit, you are always here.

Elmar, thank you for all the conversations we have had. You were everything a volunteer could ask out of a mentor.

Ljuba, thank you for the first meal I got from a student in Narva. Also, your photos are invaluable as I always forget to take them.

Natasha Mahnova, thank you for the support with our projects. You made it simple and enjoyable throughout the service.

Julia Dem, thank you for pushing my Russian to satisfying levels of communication. You helped me more than you can imagine.

Julia Jefanova, thank you for teaching me how to draw simply and clearly. I have become more confident in this respect because of you.

Irina Karolina, thank you for the opportunity to work with the children. I have learned a lot from you.

Jelena Lohmatova, thank you for all the glowing smiles I have got from you.

Dmitri Lohmatov, thank you for taking care of my finances and for teaching me the Russian “poems”.

Milena Kulikova, thank you and your mother for the beautiful cards and your effort, which will turn out in something brilliant in the future.

Nadya Tsernova, thank you for the conversations and for pushing your English to new levels. I know you will have incredible knowledge to share when you learn more English.

Anna, thank you for the dragon and I wish you all the best with your performances on stage.

Katya Podpovedkina, thank you for the dances. You really learn fast and I wish you get the job we talked about.

Daniele, Bocelli cannot compare to your breath-taking interpretation of the songs. And remain as passionate about football as you are now.

Fruzsi, travel around the world and do not forget to come to Slovenia.

Eva Lange, thank you for talking to me when I need it most.

Teresa, thank you for the Slovenian words I was able to utter in Estonia because of you.

Miguel, your passion for learning new languages inspires everyone around you. And thank you for being an amazing roommate for the last 2 weeks of my stay.

Eva, your saxophone will blow people’s minds. Your musicality is marvellous for your age. I cannot wait to play with you again.

Edgar, I am waiting to hear your trumpet roar in Slovenia. Take care of your sister.

Darya Kuznetsova, thank you for being such a dedicated guitar student. I am certain you will become an amazing musician.

Maria, the Viennese waltz will always wait for you at VitaTiim and Slovenia as well.

Maria Kuznetsova, you and your colleagues made me feel welcome and an equal among your ranks. You were an amazing supervisor and every volunteer should be grateful to work under your guidance and supervision.

Urmas, thank you for your advice on my back and the connections you have created with Slovenia.

Zhenya, thank you for the poker evenings we spent together.

Lena, thank you for the diary, I will fill it with many memories.

Anastassija Lvova, thank you for your sincerity, the visits to Geneva and Russian language cafes.

Kristi Lvova, thank you for letting everybody know I am always ready for anything. J

Vasja, I wish you have a great time in the Netherlands. Thank you for taking care of karaoke and other tech-support.

Kristi, thank you for two wonderful trainings at which I discovered and challenged myself.

Vlada, thank you for all the hugs you gave me.

Alina Lerner, thank you for the first walk around Narva in this year. Keep making people laugh.

Anya Buketova, thank you for coming to my dancing lessons and enabling me to improve my Russian.

Vivien, stay radioactive. I will say no more.

Dominika Zachcial, thank you for the long talks and your laughter which made us laugh as well.

Vera Shaulina, I hope many people taste your delicious cooking and hear how much your English has improved.

Vicent, Malela, David: Sois cabrones! J


Thank you to everyone who has not been mentioned. You helped create the magic in which I lived for the past 6 months.

Huge thanks goes also to my students from the language cafes, musical cafes, and P.E. lessons at the school.

Special thanks go to a person who is the reason I came to Estonia. Galina, last April you changed my life forever by accepting my application. I cannot thank you enough.

The biggest thank you goes to my family and my fiancée Katja, who have supported me immensely throughout my service. I cannot even describe it with words. I will be forever grateful to help me enjoy Estonia.

This is the end of an era and the beginning of another one. I hope you will be a part of the new one as well. Until then, as they say in Russian, До встречи.


Luka Lavrin, EVS volunteer in Narva, Estonia