Since one year I am surrounded by diaries. I have always had the passion for writing, but I’ve never dedicated time to write a diary or a private copybook, before a year ago.
Some friends gave me diaries, in various periods and for different reasons, but I would leave them closed, like a decorative object.
I wouldn’t have patience, I wouldn’t do it on regular basis and I used to write once in a while. But something changed and I took a copybook, completely new, with me, from Italy. I have begun writing just since the first day here! J
What can I tell you about my impressions? It’s a complex question, frankly, because I felt and experienced opposite emotions especially at the beginning. Too many thoughts are crossing my mind, actually. I will try to explain you this condition, avoiding to fall in a mess.
There were days I was lacerated into two parts; during morning, after waking up, I felt a sense of depression, and heaviness, but in the same day I could smell a sense of peace, probably never tasted before.
I would walk around the streets, the paths, along the Venta, near the ponds. Those picturesque and colourful images, of a wild nature, approaching the winter, were giving me back a wellness, inexplicable.
Often I would sit on a bench, alone. In one hand my diary, in the other a pen. Nothing else.
I rested there for a long time, one, two hours, in silence. I loved hearing the “sound of silence”, because in the silence the entire nature starts talking with you. When the whole city appears like a foreign movie without subtitles, and you feel as a weird spectator, you become aware that the trees, the lakes, the waterfall, the stones and grass are communicating with you in a universal language. You don’t need translation because you understand their melody. It is as if all nature has got a spirit that from the ground arises to you. I spent enough time simply seeing the water’s movement in front of me. When the wind caresses the surface of the lake, you realize how magnificent it is to move, to dance at the life’s rhythm. We human beings love the ordinary days, the routine. We say to ourselves “I like adventure, I want to change my life”, but in our heart, we prefer a stable life, fixed habits.
Is it really easy to get used to never getting used to something? In my opinion it’s seriously complicated, and I guess that could be hard starting an EVS, so far away from your Country. But I am extremely curious, and I had tried this extreme and amazing experience in Latvia. Many people asked me: “Why Latvia?” and I asked them: “Why not?”. After one month I can say: I had to do it! My life is improving step by step, day after day, for various reasons and in several ways.
Firstly, I was impressed with the white sky. Not grey, not gloomy, but white. Oh my God, seeing that sight made me feel the sublime around me. It was as if I had entered a timeless house, where everything passes slowly or doesn’t pass at all. I felt as in a holy place, like the Buddhist temples you can see in Japan, in the middle of woods. Walking, watching, hearing: sadness and loneliness slipped away from me.
Before coming here, in Latvia, I wrote a short story concerning the concept of time (with its contradictions). Just arrived, I have lived, concretely, what I wrote. The time was relative, was changing and everything around me was dancing in a frantic way.
Before this month I thought that it was an objective time (on one side) and a soul time (on the other), so that we could experience the first one in a mathematic terms and the second one in a living sense.
But now I know that there is the third kind of time: the time of places. It goes hand in hand with the way to interpret the world (of a country or of some individuals), but it’s something more: it is the way of thinking oneself in a particular time dimension. Latvians have a different conception of time, of space and it is normal, wonderful. My best friend is African. In his eyes I see a beautiful world (warm, wild) that expresses another conception of life, time, space, etc. But the amazing thing is that you can find the same, identical feelings, needs, emotions everywhere.
I admit the Autumn is the most suggestive season, because nature manifests itself better. The trees are dead, arid, undressed, yet they are elegant and gorgeous.
One day I stayed enchanted by the reflexion of the tree in the lake. Reflexion turns everything upside down; you see a sort of upside down world, everywhere. The picture in the water is an illusion, but it is real. In this way, loving the nature outside of me, I recovered my strengths and I began my adventure here in a beautiful way. I started observing the Latvian habits, their tastes and their gestures!
I confess that whenever I thought “oh, that’s weird!”, I felt better, because many times in my life I felt weirdness into me, unlike other people. In Italy I often think “I am different”, some people don’t understand me because of my tastes, my ideas, my interests, my fights. Now I think “ the whole Latvia is different” and it is a magnificent thing.
About my project, in particular, I can say that I am surrounded by extremely kind people. They are hospitable, but it isn’t a superficial behaviour, rather it is an authentic kindness.
I like the school, the activities it proposes and the dynamics that things are made with.
It organizes seminaries, excursions, projects and it is opened to new ideas.
I established a lovely relationship with the teachers. It appears productive enough working with them. They also lead me to manifold experiences. I have already tried to row a canoe, along the river, I experienced the famous “Latvian sauna”, a real ritual: it is a mystical adventure.
I started dancing in the school dance group. I am not a great dancer, but it doesn’t matter. I really enjoy it.
At the end I can conclude saying that I have many ideas in my mind and my aim will be not just realise all them, necessary, but impress in the students’ head the love for curiosity, beauty, for thinking in different ways, always.
One of the things I learnt during my studies is that we “must” ask a question, without shame. Asking is the beginning of knowledge and research.
During my On-arrival training I read one expression, on a paper prepared by our trainers. It said: “learning to learn”. I think it should be our task.
I hope I can break the wall of shyness and psychological fear that some students have, rightly. We must tear down the wall! (for using a famous verse sung by Pink Floyd).
Probably I have written too much. Stop. Just one month has passed!
Strategic EVS project “Corners of Europe” is financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union that in Latvia is administrated by Agency for International Programs for Youth. This publication reflects only the viewpoint of the author.