I remember the first day I arrived here for a training course. I went down the stairs of the kitchen and I saw Clara through the glass, drying the dishes. I entered the kitchen and I started to speak with her. A few days later I remember entering again and seeing Indu preparing Flap Jack, I didn’t know what it was and I asked her. She explained it to, me so kind and nice, that I couldn’t take it out my mind for a long time, as I couldn’t take out Clara and all the rest of the people, the place, the forest, everything. “I fell in love”, I said when I came back. One year and three months ago.
The things I’m going to say may sound naïve, childish or even stupid. These are some of the adjectives I’ve heard about me, here too, and I don’t mind at all. I love them. Some people have seen me crying of happiness, here. Hard to believe. Like when Indu thinks I’m lying when I say that I love her food so much. No, Indu, I don’t say it to everyone or about all the food. Something I’ve learnt here is how much I love to be honest, even if it sounds naïve, childish and stupid.
Here I’ve learn that I don’t mind to be naïve. That I love to show my feelings, to cry, to love, to be sad, to figh. Here I’ve learn so much about me, and about others, about how I am and how I am with others. How to deal with so many differences: cultural, political, according to different languages, and religions, or what relationships mean in different countries and context. I’ve learn that the relationships we have with others are mirrors that reflect ourselves, that the way we treat the others have an effect on us, sooner or later. That “you reap what you sow”. And that religious people, agnostics and atheist all have the same fears, and I’ve seen beautiful things like Clara doing Ramadan in name of friendship, without being Muslim.
During my talks with all of you I’ve learnt a lot about how to live in a community, I’ve gone through a lot, trying to avoid conflicts and not wanting to face them, because, let’s be honest, living in a community is not always easy, and our group has not always been the easiest. But my long talks with Wojtek, with Sandy, with Clara, with Lucie have always helped me a lot, because when I arrived for the first time I said to Sandy that I came because I wanted to learn to take care of others, to serve and to give myself. And I don’t know what you think about it, Sandy, but I want to think that the mission has been more or less accomplished. I’m so grateful that you gave me this opportunity, thanks to which I’ve learnt that we are the best version of ourselves that we can be when giving ourselves to the others. And maybe I feel I would change some of the things I’ve done, and I would have done them in a different way, but I don’t regret anything or any moment I’ve lived here. It may sound too epic but since I’ve been here I’ve had the feeling that for all my life it was as if I was sleeping, as if I wasn’t alive. As if I was studying the theoretical part of life: how should life be, what should I do there, how should I feel in those moments, how I should act in this occasion, how should I make things? And for the first time here I felt that the practical part started. Here I loved, I hated, I cried of happiness, and sadness, and disappointment. I met people from around the world, I met colleagues that maybe I will not see again, but friends that I will go visit again and again in all the corners of the Earth
I also faced problems or rejection and trusting, I forced myself to be social, to share a room, not to not so dependent on technology. I also tried to change, to be a better person, not only with my relationships but also through food, exercise, and caring. I’ve had the opportunity to develop new skills that before I’ve never dreamt I could have, like gardening or cooking (or almost trying). I’ve had the chance to show my principles, like annoying everyone around me with feminism, but for a good cause. I’ve always tried to get as much involved as I could, singing in the choir, or being part of peace ambassadors, where I met people that I knew were special, but not in the way they finally were for me
I also fell deeply in love with the forest, and with nature in general, feeling that I belong so much to it that I could never live without it anymore. I’ve cried, danced, laughed, and loved in so many different ways and so many different people that I didn’t know that my heart would be capable of it.
To conclude, Asha m’has given me a lot and also showed to me a lot, about the world and myself. You know, here I’ve had one feeling that I’ve never had before in my life, and it’s that things make sense. I’ve been reading a lot, trying to figure out why sometimes life doesn’t make any sense, and some mornings in the garden, alone, with the landscape in front of me, with my fingers full of soil, touching some seeds that I maybe I didn’t recognize but I did feel, I could feel that everything, for me, made sense. Being here, being present, makes sense
So I just want to say that this year made me think that my life, the practical part, has now just begun. And I know that Asha is going to be my turning point, where everything begins. And I cannot think about any other better wish for all of you, my friends, and for ASHA itself in this moment, that this one, that now at the end of our EVS everything begins.