Before I came to the project I didn’t think I would experience any cultural shock. “We are all Europeans, we can’t be that different,” I thought. And sure, I knew that other volunteers may do some things differently and that I can be even surprised by it, but not so I could call it cultural shock. I must say, so far I wasn’t quite wrong… with one exception.
The thing is that my Italian friend seems to not be worried while getting into the way of a car going 50km/h. I can understand crossing the street wherever she wants instead of going to the pedestrian crossing or crossing the street on a red light when the road is clear. I sometimes do it myself. But walking in the middle of the street instead of the pavement which is just next to it (and is not messy or crowded at all), is something that I can not understand. She says that in Italy it’s normal. I couldn’t stop worrying about not getting hit by a car while walking next to her. I guess I’m somewhere between being impressed and worried about her. I even noticed that I’m picking up this habit as well…
This is not the only difference between us two but for sure it is one that was the most visible for me. All in all, I would say we are quite different and in some cases, we are exact opposites. The beautiful thing, however, is that despite these differences we are good friends. Just because we don’t have similar characters doesn’t mean that I can not have a good time in her company. That really gives me hope that I can improve my relations with people if only I don’t perceive the differences as a wall between us.
This text is not intended to offend her or any Italian. She’s a great person and a good friend. Be the way you are but, please, be safe 🙂
Boris Michalak from Poland
Boris is a volunteer on a short term EVS project the “Deep Roots” in Kazanlak, Bulgaria. Learn more about him in the article: “Meet the Ecofest 2019 Organizational Team“.