19 novembro 2018

O testemunho da Alina

For the first time, when I saw a TV program about Portugal, I was looking at the screen for 2 hours and on that very day I felt in love with that country, particularly the Lisbon: Red Houses, the narrow streets of the streets, emotional, good and very beautiful Portuguese, the locals, enjoyed indulge in Pastel de Nata, Porto wine, Bacalhau, admiring the oldest and the visit card of Portugal of Azulejo, with wonderful warm climate, amazing beautiful beaches, 25th April Bridge through the River Teju, which  became a necessary for me to see it every day.

Each of us has ideal initiatives about a beautiful and unique country or city where you want to live and which is considered to be the most beautiful. Portugal, particularly, Lisbon, is the ideal  city for me, which I intended to visit. And when I turned 29 years old, after being informed  about EVS, and respecting,  sharing the idea of a volunteer program, I decided to find a program in a European country (mainly focused on Spain, Poland and Switzerland), and I was looking for new projects every day. You would ask me why you did not look  a project exactly in Portugal? Each time I sent a motivating letter to a country project, I always imagined that I walked through the narrow streets of Lisbon, feel the smell of river Teju, but I did not think it was possible to find a EVS project in Lisbon, to find the program, where Armenia would be included in the list of countries, that in spite of the distance, they would still choose a participant from Armenia. 

Once again, when I was searching the programs in the Facebook group, I accidentally found myself the EVS program in Lisbon, which was related to the work with children with special needs. That moment was very much like to the situation when a person who has been hungry or thirsty for a long time finally finds food and water, or when a long-awaited person finally meets his object of love :). Without delay, I opened the program. Everything was in line with the nature, conditions, the country, the city. I told myself: "Alina, you know, you  have already worked and still works with children with special needs. You have 8 years of work experience with children with different mental disorders; you dreamed of living in Lisbon, you should go". Inspired by my breath, I look at the list of countries looking for Armenia, where there was no such thing. But my desire to participate in the project was so great, so immediately I saw me in this project in Lisbon that even did not stop me, and without losing time, I wrote my motivation letter for Lisbon project. After sending my coordinates, I was sure that they would accept me, but I was not sure they would be express wiliness to give so much money to the Armenian participant, as in the case of faraway countries, the costs are grown and not all EVS promoters are ready to cover the costs. But how great was my joy and surprise, when I received a nice letter from all the contestants that I had chosen and they are ready to caver all the travel expenses. I'm going to Portugal.

And here I am here, in Lisbon, for 1.5 months, I've been working for 1.5 months  in Externato Flor do Campo , with children with different mental disorders, (Rett Syndrome, Autism, etc). I've been hearing Portuguese for 1.5 months and trying to understand and talk, which is not so easy, but it is necessary,  I have been trying to expose Portugal, Lisbon, culture and traditions, national cuisine for over 1.5 months and more so felt in love with this country and I appreciate this opportunity, which has been granted to me.

On the last day in my country, my friends arranged a goodbye party for me and many of them asked me if I could go out of my comfort zone,  can I share the room with someone else?. I should live with a different countries' and cultures' representatives, change a lot of things in myself, learn a new language, adapt to the new collective and their working methods and approaches and, finally, leave my work, children with whom I have worked for a long time and have achieved some results and managed to communicate with them. I left also my family members and friends. But since I have started to love going out of the comfort zone, I have started to like and have been not afraid of drastic changes, I have started to love developing and moving, learning new languages, getting new impressions and acquaintances, learning new techniques and approaches in professional issues, so moving to another country and working my decision was clear and justified. And now not only I regret, but also every second I enjoy Lisbon and this opportunity, every second I am getting sure, that I have made the right decision.

It was an interesting discovery for me: my workplace, the workshop itself. Almost all my colleagues  speak only Portuguese, which is very good for me to learn language very fast. The children with different special needs are very nice and I have already communicated with them. From the point of view of work, it is a little difficult for me to show and demonstrate my full potential of work and professionalism, which is related to neither   to  not knowing the language, nor knowing the children yet, and nor clear about what I have to do. But every day, I learn something new there, both colleagues and children, and me as well, work every day to be useful for them in my work and to give them something new. Hopefully, I'll success. I already work with children, they already trust me and love me. I think it's a great proof that I have made the right decision and I'm in the right place.

A few days ago, when once again on the way to home from work, I explained to some tourists how to go to their destination, how to be oriented in Lisbon, what to see and where to go in the subway,  and I am already able to shop in Portuguese and get a little  what they told me,  I understood, that I'm not a tourist in Portugal anymore and that I felt me at home in Lisbon.

In Lisbon, I like almost everything: endless stairs to my home, endlessly rising and descending, and getting tired of it at the end of the day, and the idea that you do not need to go to the gym in Lisbon, to be in a good sport conditions, you can walk in the city and it's enough. I like the narrow streets, where so far amazed how the people drive cars and motorcycles, the aroma of coffee that comes from every step, which is very pleasant and tasty, Pastel de Nata and the other sweets that you can see in every cafe and store, and which are so fond of locals  and now for me too. The city's trolleys, the River Teju, where I like to spend my evenings, looking at the beautiful bridge and enjoying the evening street concerts, the Portuguese language, which is hard though, but very nice for me, castles and buildings, museums and libraries, which have a rich and old history... 

In a short,  I'm in love with Lisbon and I am open and ready to the new discoveries.

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