I’m halfway through. The past six months feel so dense and full, it actually is scary that I have the same amount of time to go. I’m celebrating this month, not only with going home to Hungary but also with participating on the mid-term training of my EVS. This post is about that. Credits for the title: Silvia Moriconi.
It happened in the small city of Toruń, a jewellery box of a town not so far from Gdansk, where twenty-something of us took part in the five-day training. My feelings about it are different from those I had on the on-arrival in Warszawa. They are focused on other things this time. To make it clear, let’s see the settings first!
Toruń is wonderful. A jewellery box that looks little from the outside and one doesn’t expect much of it, but when opened it’s full of all the goodies. The main attraction is the Old Town, of course, just as in many other Polish cities. Our hotel is located right next to it so we didn’t have a problem reaching it on foot within a couple of minutes. It includes all the treasures of a Polish old town: beautiful European architecture, funny little statues of people and animals, colourful buildings, pierogarnias, factory and shops of pierniki (the famous gingerbread from Toruń), Pialnia (the famous and cheap pub from Poland), museums of all the local stuff and churches, churches, churches. Toruń is the birthplace of Copernicus; also the centre of the Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Somehow, it is all very important when you’re there; all the history comes together, turns into legends and stories, that you can bake into your own hand-made pierniki. I really had so much fun in that little town, ate amazing pancakes and chocolate kebab, learnt how much I can get for only one złoty, consulted the Leaning Tower if my life was straight enough and pet most of the animal statues to bring me luck in all aspects of my future. I also know now that my Polish is far from enough to understand a puppet show for kids, but I still manage to get completely fascinated if I see Alice in Wonderland illustrations (oh, my god, a room full of them, even!!!). Toruń gave me the magic I needed to clear my head of the work I do in Gdansk.
Now, you see the atmosphere was something from a fairytale, however the training itself felt different. The structure was the same as in the summer: it was built up around our wishes and needs. Still, I am not quite sure if I got what I wanted.
The sessions I considered relevant and useful for myself seemed too short. Yes, I know all about Youthpass now and I have an idea on how to start planning what I wanna do after EVS, but I gained all these information within a single day. The rest of it felt too long and somehow unexciting, as if all the time we spent inside the conference room on the end of our corridor was lacking the magic I found in the town of wonders that surrounded us outside. First this made me sad and annoyed then, after all the amazing food and lack of sleep turned me sluggish, it made me feel uncomfortable and out of place. Probably it was my fault, too; there were a couple of days I wasn’t in a good shape physically, although I was missing the sparkling eyes and the desire to get to know more from the on-arrival training. As many of us, including me, shared during the sessions, we were all really very comfortable in Poland. Some of the people are finishing their EVS within a matter of weeks, others have several months to go, and I felt like we didn’t care about getting to know one another or looking for the truth and meaning behind our projects. We have accepted that things are the way they are and we were long over the search for solutions of things we cannot change. This is all right. How it should be after this time, in my opinion. However, this comfort resulted in a sort of scattered atmosphere in our group, which made me not wanting to be there at all. It killed my motivation at times.
This is all difficult to understand, I know. Maybe I’m just trying to politely explain something I didn’t like at all... Plus, I hate complaining, especially when I don’t have anything to complain about! Also, I know it’s stupid to compare the two trainings I had, but I think I made a mistake of expecting to live through a similar experience in Toruń that I did in Warszawa.
The last ingredient of the Toruń adventures is the people themselves who were there. This is amazing, this opportunity that we can meet with so many different people with so many different stories to share. It shows that our world is not that big and we don’t need to go so far to experience it truly. We don’t need to be afraid and perhaps, this knowledge is what made us so comfortable through the days in Toruń. Comfortable and a little bit careless towards each other, maybe.
Even though, I had the pleasure to deepen the friendships I had had the luck to make on the on-arrival; this was the part I was looking forward to the most. How strange that we build these connections within such a short period of time and then we would want to hold onto them for the rest of everything. It reminds me of high school where we thought the friendships we make were set to stone. Some of them might have been, and I want to cherish the relations I make in Poland and think of them as if they were set to stone because some of them might be... Meeting new people is also a lot of fun; it opens different doors in your life. My French roommate from the training, Justine, is definitely like that: a peculiar person I would want to have as a friend. Silvia and I extended our training with a weekend in the nearby city of Poznan, and we had the pleasure to crush at Justine and her boyfriend’s place for a night. Wonderful people.
So you see, beyond my disappointment the mid-term training gave me so much that I might even feel guilty because of not enjoying it all the way through. It is a milestone after all. The Warszawa period is over, the Toruń period shall begin, and I have all the confidence to say I am happy with all of it.