“Hello Bulgaria”. A letter by Tony, volunteer in Slovenia

Hello Bulgaria, Tony is writing from Slovenia.

I have been here for a month and three days. There were really many things about this time. People are as similar to us as different. They have something traditional that they call “bourek” and is just like our banitsa, and Slovenian “yoghurt” is the same as airyan. Meat has a very different taste, I think the reason is because it is real.

Generally, people are good and helpful, but they really work very hard, which is not the most joyous news for me as a volunteer, as I am expected the same thing. I notice that they are not very open to talk about their feelings, and it isn’t very easy to find friends who I feel as “real”. Many people are trying to help me. I have my own psychologist (and not because I have psychological abnormalities, I just do) who is going to visit me soon again. She is very kind and really wants to help, I really like her. I need to see my mentor more often and strengthen my relationship with him, but we don’t have so much time to do so. Nevertheless, I already have a wonderful excursion with him on the Slovenian coast. We visited almost all the cities, which are definitely not many. We were in Koper -where I saw the biggest cruise ship in my life-, but I was most impressed by Piran, because the atmosphere is very different, as if you were in Italy.

This land was possessed by Italians before and for this reason the names of the streets were written in both languages, Slovenian and Italian. I really liked the towers that are in every city and from there you can enjoy a wonderful view. The fortress and church in Piran, from which you can see the beautiful pale blue sea, were extremely beautiful. For the first time, I used a snorkel and saw the cucumber mox, a zebra-like fish and many other animals and plants.

My next adventure was the visit to the Nerezina campsite on an island in Croatia. About 60 children aged between 7 to 14 years old were waiting for us there to entertain them with various sports, making badges, rope courses, theater improvisations and many more activities. The program was complete, but of course there was little time left for the beach, so we head back to Slovenia.

On the road a truck that was 10 meters ahead of us, hit a deer. You can imagine that if this were us, I would not be able to share my experiences now. They were all quite shocked by the sight because the animal was still dying in the middle of the highway. This is the place in Slovenia where you can see a sign of a deer everywhere on the way.

I will continue with something more positive: I really like Ljubljana. Here you can find a place where rain is raining all year round. I recommend the castle because the view is wonderful and you can also get acquainted with historical facts in the museums inside. Two days ago, I climbed the highest peak in the Kum area, 15 km from the town where I live, Zagorje ob Savi.

Interestingly, I traveled 30 km for a day alone, and this is the distance without counting the time I had lost since the GPS was showing me different directions in 2 minutes. Until I found the right way, I went through a private ownership, I met two stray dogs and I think I found traces of a bear, but also the way home! Someone put me in a stop and then try to invite me for a coffee – but absolutely unsuccessful. Once again I use the ring my father gave in order to say “thanks for the offer but my husband will not like this”. I am a good actress, all the time :D.

It might be interesting to tell you about the training course we had last week. I had a close encounter with community swans. They are everywhere around the Lake in Velenia and they really want to eat from my food. Once I realized that they might be aggressive, I ended up contact with them!

I met 12 people from different countries (Germany, Vietnam, Spain, Italy, Romania, Albania, Croatia, Estonia, Bulgaria, etc.) who currently have long-term projects in Slovenia. We had a lot of teamwork, we did our own project and we had only seven hours for that. We did not have a budget, so we took our money from the coffee break and with these 15 euros we made the following traditional foods: tarator from Bulgaria and a tortilla from Spain. The aim of the project was to meet the local people and teach them interesting facts about our countries, and after responding to our questions they can taste the food that will bring them to our nationalities. I think we were successful because in less than 2 hours we had 31 participants.

I am looking forward to Tommorowland, an amazing festival that I will visit in Belgium after about two weeks! And I’m really excited about a lot of the wonderful things waiting for me. I have a lot to tell, but now I will emphasize feelings and adaptation.

How do I feel? Hmm… Well, honestly I do not know how I feel, maybe strange is the word. I sometimes cry, sometimes laugh. While I was in Bulgaria my personal phone rang continuously, I had something to do constantly, engagements, friends, comfort zone, family, someone like a boyfriend and so on.

Now I understand quite clearly what people matter to me because I think of them, while at the same time I quickly turned off for other people I considered to be a high priority… fate. Now that I cannot receive calls because something is wrong with my phone, I have some peace in my mind. Yes, I need to talk to someone about my mental anguish, but I also have time to stay alone with myself – something I want for a long time. I understood something very important: if the person next to you does not share and does not respect your interests, it was just a big mistake. I’m a “big man”, stupid things don’t bother me anymore.

Regarding what I like and not in Slovenia, I definitely don’t like the workaholism they are trying to infect me here. As a volunteer I don’t want to have this quality as I wouldn’t want to be a participant in experiencing the stress that is being implanted in our work environment. I like the apartment, the conditions are ok. The town is small, there is not much to do here if you don’t have close people, but of course it depends on me to find them.

Everything is different and sucks when you have a problem or anxiety and you really need to express yourself in Bulgarian and to be understood by a real person rather than the Internet. Because I am the only Bulgarian woman here. I guess good and bad things should go hand in hand, but I still hope when it’s time to take a look back, the good experiences would be more. I don’t think that at this stage I see great cultural differences, but certainly home is the best! 🙂

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