Today is exactly 2 weeks since I packed my things and stepped into a new life in sunny Barcelona.

What are my impressions of the city of Gaudi’s masterpieces, the warm wind from the sea and being a FCV volunteer?

In agreeing to quit my favorite job in Moscow and become a volunteer, I tried not to have too many expectations. If you’ve ever changed jobs, you know that, first, you become a student again. Read, study, absorb to put the bricks of new information together. You study the history of projects, organizational culture and observe the life of the office. During this period, every day is filled with much new information that the days fly by at a double (or even triple) speed. (Let me remind you that Spanish or Catalan are not my native languages).

At such a speed, it is very important not to tire yourself out, to give time to put the information in your head and catch all the important details and meanings (new concepts and terms). I read about FCV activities and priority goals a lot. It seems that for a long time I have not read so many memos, project descriptions and results. Since the main activity of FCV is related to learnings activities, starting with learning was the most logical step. And I can say that I like to absorb the experience created and accumulated by my colleagues.

It is impossible not to mention the team of diverse and experienced people, whose are giving me incredible inspiration. How much can they do and how much energy they have!

Working with them is a motivation to do things which make me better, while supporting them, because with their example, I believe with all my heart that the sea can be knee-deep! I like the way that results of each project resonates, generate new ideas and suggestions, and makes you move forward in the desire to help the organization.

I want to note that volunteering is inextricably linked with the life of society, with its goals and guidelines, with the life of the city and its pace. It is a continuous analysis of goals, problems and results. What is this important? What is Catalan society striving? Where the help is most needed? Therefore, I consider getting to know Barcelona and its inhabitants an important stage of immersion in volunteer tasks.

I started my acquaintance with the city the best possible way: joining the Barcelona Marathon. I like to start my exploration of a new city with a morning run, and I was lucky to see almost the entire city in the most dynamic version ever. A Marathon day is more important to me than a birthday. It is a great opportunity to meet the locals, see how the whole city comes out to the streets to support runners, and become part of the event. Only in the Marathon you can see Barcelona filled with a human river of runners, thousands of colorful, bright, happy, strong and impetuous people.

It means to run through the very heart of the city, driven by the roar of support, making the best days of the year, and emotions that can only be felt here.

If you have never said to yourself “I am a marathon runner” and you have never wiped away tears of happiness at the finish line, then, still, there is a place to love your city in a different way.

I discovered the Nike Box, near the Port Forum, a unique Sport center which is also a space for creativity, talent and mutual support, you can choose any workout of your choice, and start your way to achieve big goals (run with a trainer or a Marathon), which is free (if you are registered in the application). After all, if you have a body, means that you are already an athlete.

After running a marathon and training in the Nike Box, my body wanted to lie down, but I decided to see what there is around Barcelona, and, since one of my favorite means to travel is by bicycle, I went to Montserrat on an old bike (a gift from my landlord) despite of my tired legs.

If you want to go there, get ready for tough climbs, steep descents and incredible views! On Sunday I had the time to follow the 60 KM road and look around.

What else have I managed to do in these 2 weeks?

  • Be sun-burned while jogging after work, because it’s difficult to deny the appeal of waterfront running.
  • Play football and be part of the yard team (thanks to my landlord, who reminds me that Thursday is the training day), while waiting for my football boots to arrive from Moscow.
  • Learn how to ride a scooter, buy vegetables (get a watermelon as a gift and learn some words in Pakistani as well); go to the Olympic area and watch the dawn behind the hills; draw my first sketches; learn how to cook barbecue and real Spanish paella; get used to the sharp cry of parrots on a tangerine tree, as see them catching cherry and apple blossom; observe the dawn on the beach and walk more than 150 km.


The project ‘Volunteering for Peace‘has received the support of the European Solidarity Corps Program of the European Commission.