Three hundred eighteen. Is this any number? Not for me. It let me discover many things, learn some others and meet amazing people. This story begins on a rainy Tuesday in early September, waiting for a long time for a bus in some city, running with all my suitcases and, of course, missing the train. Some months later, I would see that it would be my ”normal” life in that country.
After the train ride, I could read: Zagorje Ob Savi. I put my feet on the ground, took a look at the clock while I said: »joder Miriam« and hug my coordinator who was waiting for me. Some hours later, my flatmates, Juliane and Guste, came to my room saying »Let’s go! Our first day! «. During some days, we were getting to know our workplace, Mladinski center. So many coffees and talks about ourselves.
Guste, started her project at the school while Juliane and I did some activities at the center. Once, I met a woman, Simona, who invited me to collaborate in her project. The following Wednesdays became »cooking Wednesdays« where I could learn Slovene recipes and show them some Spanish food. At the same time, Nina, my coordinator, offered me to collaborate at kindergarten so I said yes!
Every Tuesday I was there, trying to communicate with the kids while they were improving their doctor skills putting bandages on me and saying »follow me« to play different games. They didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Slovene it was super nice, there are other ways to understand each other. I joined them on some excursions, games and sports!
Apart from working in these places and at the MC, I wanted to do something else. I was searching for other things to do and I found Varstveno delovni center (VDC). As I already said in one of my blogs, it was a great experience, I was very comfortable. They are so friendly and they taught me how this place works and I became their little ”Spanish teacher”, making me happy to see their enthusiasm for learning.
Then, the times came when the streets were decorated, people were singing and I felt how the cold came. Yes, I am talking about Christmas. I went back to Spain to spend this time with my family and friends. In January, I was ready to come back to the cold that people were warning me about. (Then it was not a big deal).
So, where were we? Oh yeah, when my mind was again in Zagorje I was continuing with my activities but I added one more, ”čaki, čaki” Or maybe two? Three? Well, it doesn’t matter. I was collaborating with Slovenska filantropija in Ljubljana. I went just for a few times because then corona virus came, but during this time I could talk to refugees about their situation, I learned so much about their countries, we were studying Slovenian language and playing some games. A great experience!
During this time, I was participating in the Cirkokrog’s workshops also in Ljubljana. Every week I could enjoy good company and learn more about circus stuff.
A few weeks later, everybody talked about a new virus in China, »but come on, it is so far« people said. Two weeks later, we were suffering the confinement. All places were closed and I had to work at home. It was not the best moment in my life but I had time to think about myself, I was more in contact with my Spanish people and I did things that I hadn’t done in a long time like writing and drawing. At the same time I was disappointed that my plans disappeared but better times always come so when the situation was better I started again to do some things and I got a new flatmate, Luka, he’s from the seaside and tries to teach me some Slovenian words, but… come on Luka, people from Zagorje have to understand me!! He is also crazy (in a good way) but with this type of people, you live the best adventures so I’m really happy!
As you know, its summer so Mladinski center filled its calendar with activities. It is nice for me because I can be more in contact with people of the town.
During all this time I was learning piano at the music school, I always wanted to try it and when I came here I taught, why not? It was a super cool experience and I got a lot of knowledge about that.
I was also practicing martial arts at Klub borilnih veščin Pon Do Kwan. It is a really nice place and I feel so comfortable there.
Although all the above was amazing, I can’t forget to mention my free time in this country. So many experiences: improving my English, discovering new places, missing trains, sleepy days, meeting other volunteers, trying different foods, freaking out in the nature, sport days, spending time in peaceful places, going to parties… in short; travelling, travelling and travelling with people from different places that you find along the way. Believe me, this is the best part, I’m speechless, it is really hard to explain that you feel living all this experiences, I can only say that if you have the opportunity, do it! Don’t wait more and live all this for yourself.
Therefore, this is it. Three hundred eighteen crazy amazing days. “Now, it’s time to leave”, keeps repeating in my mind, but my heart doesn’t want to believe it. It’s time to say goodbye, remember all the good things trying not to cry and give the strongest hugs, but before I go, I would like to thank:
Nina Nahtigal and people from Mladinski center Zagorje ob Savi for giving me wings and making me discover myself,
People from VDC, for teaching me that everything is possible and for making me feel at home while I was there and thank you Tadej for giving me the opportunity.
Urška Vidic, for me, as you said, becoming a little pianist.
Slovenska filantropjia people for making me feel free and letting me form part of other people’s lives.
PUM-O people for teaching me that life is funnier when cooking.
Urška Pavlovič, for sharing her art lessons and letting me collaborate in that.
MC volunteers, for sharing their time with me in daily centres and teaching me new games.
Cirkokrog people for being such fun people and teaching me a different way of seeing life.
People from kindergarten for being super kind and for trusting me while I was there.
The man at the train station, for giving me good talks every day I saw you and for sharing with me his love for the animals.
The ESC people and the rest of the people who were part of my life at some point for making me happy, making me enjoy this experience and for giving me the best of you.
To you, my great discovery, for teaching me the value of the words and for being the best friend I could have.
See you around Spain and remember:
“Fill your life with experiences. Not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.”
Miriam Sanchez Hernandez, ESC volunteer