Cristina in Vigo, spring 2017


…And here I am in Portugal.

15 Jun , 2017  

Cristina arrived in September, from Romania, to do her EVS coordinated by Agora Aveiro, in Maternura.

Almost 9 months have passed and so we asked her to write a short summary of her Portuguese life. We are sharing it with you here:

“…And here I am in Portugal, Aveiro, 8 months after my arrival in September. It has passed so little but at the same time so much has happened. I barely remember how it was in the beginning, though I remember the overwhelming feeling of happiness and excitement that came with wondering about what this EVS project was going to bring me. Well… it brought me everything. All sort of emotions, from sadness to euphoric states of mind. So many things happened so far, and so many are yet to happen. So, let me start from the beginning. My voluntary project consists of «working» with children in a kindergarten. At first, I was putting on much stress because of it, so many expectations. And, as we all know, the higher the expectation, the greater the disappointment. So, after a while, I started to act and think in a more flexible manner, more globally, until I realized that my EVS does not stick only to the technical part, which is Maternura. It is much more than that. At a certain point, I realized that my EVS actually has a lot more to give me outside of the Maternura doors than inside. And it was there that I´ve started to learn. To learn about social interactions, about the Portuguese culture (that I am in love with), to organize events, to manage conflictual situations (or how to avoid them), to administrate my small monthly budget, to slowly walk the streets instead of running all the time, and finally to enjoy every single sunny or rainy day that life brings.

Somehow, I found myself thinking that I am so lucky to be surrounded by the people I am here. Some of them are super inspiring, others became my family, there were also passing by-ers that left some deep prints on my soul, some of them are still acquaintances that are always there when I feel the need to be among people. The children that I work with are a special part of my project, with a special place in my heart. In the beginning, I had the idea that I was the one who had to teach them. But, in the end, it turned out to be that they were the ones to teach me. These little human beings have so many things to teach us, «the adults». To be ourselves for instance, or to be honest and free, to sing and dance whenever we feel like, to choose what we love to do, and then love what we have chosen. I know, it sounds cliché, but it’s really like that. And, of course, they teach how to love unconditionally. My favourite part is when they come to us out of the blue and give us kisses, even if they are dirty as hell. It no longer matters that they left some «ranho» on our cheeks or a bunch of mud on our T-shirts. It feels so right to give them a hug and make this exchange of affection.

Moreover, during all this time, I’ve been travelling a lot within Portugal and outside it as well. This country hasn’t stopped surprising me with its nature, monuments, cities, people, and events. Every place I’ve been to is unique. I took some capoeira classes, for 3 months I’m doing rock climbing, I went to the theatre (Portuguese play), visited museums, and swam in the Atlantic Ocean. These are things that I’ve done for the first time in my life. The emotions and experience I’ve got are incomparable, unique in all the aspects.

Of course, there were moments of sorrow, homesickness, nostalgy. There were times when I wanted to give up on all of this, on this «once in a lifetime » project. I felt like this wasn’t bringing me anywhere but, fortunately, I was wrong. Most of the time I miss my family and friends from my country, Moldova. It feels like I’m loosing something inside (the connection, maybe), but all in all, everything I’m experiencing here is so worth it.”

Associação para a promoção da cidadania ativa