09 março 2016

My first days as an EVS volunteer in Lisbon!

When I applied for my EVS project at Spin in Lisbon I didn’t really know what to expect.

Moving abroad without knowing the language, the people and the city is always a bit frightening and I have to admit that I was nervous before departure. As soon as I landed in Lisbon and Inês kindly picked me up at the airport all my fears disappeared. I knew I was going to be in good hands and after my first week here in this beautiful capital I have to say that I was right…

On the first night Inês took me to my new house in Anjos where I met my flatmates. The welcome has been extraordinary as I was met with joy and curiosity. The friendliness of the people in the Anjos building served as an energizer after a very tiring day spent at three different airports and after two flights. Dona Isabel, the land lady welcomed me speaking in Italian and treating me like one of the family. Now every time we meet in the building we speak in her half Italian and in my half Portuguese but we manage to understand each other very well! When you speak in the language of the heart words are not always necessary… After meeting with everybody I finally went to sleep to get the energy back for my first days at Spin.

The day after at the office I met with Inês again and we went through a lot of bureaucratic things that had to be done. Inês has been very open and enthusiastic about my ideas for some projects that I would like to develop and I appreciated it a lot. Knowing that I am part of a team that has the aim of developing projects together was definitely a good way to start my EVS at Spin! After meeting my new colleagues and Spin’s team, Maurizio, an EVS volunteer from Florence cooked pasta alla carbonara for lunch to welcome me. Fortunately I didn’t arrive unprepared because I had brought with me typical bread, cream cheese and sweets from Sardinia… As I expected nobody complained about it!

During the week end I had the chance to explore the city, its night life and its food. I must admit that this combination left me breathless. As I walked my way up to Castelo and I watched the sun going down on the river Tago I felt a strong sense of belonging to this enchanting and romantic place. Since I enjoy food and music a lot I couldn’t wait to go out for dinner in a little restaurant in Intendente where I had an exquisite Portuguese dinner and in Cais Do Sodre to listen to a very cool local jazz group.

After a busy week end full of excitement, food, museums, art exhibitions and my first and unforgettable pastel de nata, which by the way is my new addiction, I started my work as a volunteer on Monday. My first task was to go with my colleague Maurizio to interview my housemates Paola and Paolo at their places of work and take pictures of the area. Since they are developing a project that uses photography to engage the community of Carnide it was very interesting to see how people react to projects like this one. I left with the feeling that if you do projects well the community responds positively and this gave me hope for activities I would like to do in the future. It was also interesting to know more about Paolo’s and Paola’s viewpoints on the EVS volunteering programme and their feelings since I’m the newest here.

Well, I guess this is all for now and if the rest of the nine months are going to be as exciting as my first week was I think I will enjoy this experience very much…


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