14 março 2017

My first week on EVS

This time last week I was on my flight to Lisbon - the city where I’ll be spending the next nine months doing my EVS.  Although I was very excited and looking forward to this change, leaving home wasn’t easy. I didn’t really expect to be selected so the news surprised me, and then I had less than three weeks to prepare for my move to Portugal! Having to deal with annoying bureaucracy and practical stuff didn’t leave much time for me to process everything or think about where am I going, what to expect and how do I even feel about it. It all had to wait until the day of my departure - my mom’s birthday - when we left early in the morning to get to the airport in time for my flight.

The official begining of my EVS
View from one of miradouros
Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa
I had the next 10 hours to ponder the fact that I’m actually moving to another country, among new people whose language I don’t speak. The mixture of curiosity, excitement but also some sadness and fear of the unknown left me feeling confused, but all of the negative feelings went away the moment I arrived to Lisbon airport where one of my new flatmates, Kasia, met me.

Kasia’s positivity and a huge smile on her face pretty much marked what the next few days would be like. Meeting my new colleagues at Spin, my mentor, roommates and other volunteers living in our apartment building - Casa Anjos - left me feeling very welcomed and accepted right from the start. It’s only been a while but I already feel like I’ve spent months in Lisbon. My time so far was filled with a good mixture of getting to know how Associação Spin works, what other NGOs are active in Bairro Padre Cruz, exploring the city’s touristic and local spots and hanging out with my new friends.
Some things feel really familiar, some are completely new and different, but most of it feels just a tiny bit off from what I’m used to! Not enough to give me a complete culture shock, but sufficient to leave me wandering the supermarket for too long while contemplating why the eggs aren’t kept in the fridge and how do people here cook soup if they can’t buy “grincajg” at the market! The curiosity goes both ways - I’ve already been given strange looks after mixing my white wine with sparkling water :)

Jardim Gulbenkian
But all of these differences are part of what will make my EVS a unique and interesting experience, and I can already tell that I made a great choice by coming to Lisbon!


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