01 setembro 2022

O testemunho final da Silvia (Bola p'ra frente)

 Olá malta! Here is Silvia from Italy!

The word that sounds more in my head in the last weeks is: GRATEFUL.

I am grateful for what I have learned, for the person I am, for all the experiences I made, for all the people I have met and all the discoveries made. Everything will always stay with me, because now I see a completely new version of myself, more mature, more determined, more self-confident, more open-minded and more tolerant. Now I see that all the difficult moments I faced this year were worth it, because I have learned and grown a lot through them and now I am feeling really satisfied with all the experience that Lisbon has been for me. I know that I lived it to the fullest and I did my best both in my volunteering and in my personal life and path. I look at these streets and I know them and they know me.. I am feeling at home, I am feeling in a place where I am comfortable. There is a mixture of known and unknown that surrounds me everyday, and it gives me the comfort of being home, but at the same time the curiosity to discover more.. Until the very last day I never stopped discovering new corners of the city.

Actually, every month of this year was a new discovery. These past 9 months passed so quickly that it seemed like a glimpse of an eye, but, at the same time, they left me with so many emotions, connections, memories and life experiences that it seems more like years have passed. There have been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of beautiful moments,  a lot of moments where I felt lost and in confusion, but I am so glad for everything and everyone... Everyone left me something, teaching me to see things in different ways.

I have learned so much about myself and I will always remember this year as a changing point from the 'old version' to a completely new and grown version of myself. I've learned to leave behind old habits and ways of seeing the world and learned more about tolerance, compassion, taking care and loving. I look back to everything I managed to do, to create, to realize and to overcome in my life, both professionally and personally and I am really proud and glad for every single moment.
In the Association I managed to create different activities and to help in the organization of different projects, both from other associations and other collegues. I was thinking, creating and carrying on every week one or two english games, using the tools of non-formal education, helping them to understand how to learn a new language in a funny and relaxed way. Besides, in May I started some reading sessions of ‘O principezinho’ to think and talk with them about topics such as love, friendship, emotions and respect. Moreover, I helped in the organization of the event ‘Living Library’, aimed to overcome some prejudices and discriminations, for example we talked with our guests about depression, homosexuality, neighborhood stigmas, the war from a Russian point of view, veganism, etc.. In this event I contacted some of the guests, I dealt with them during the day, I helped with some translations and I have been the reference point for both guests and youngsters. Finally, I did an afternoon of cooking lesson to prepare an italian dinner with all of them, in a way to say goodbye to everyone.

In my personal life: I made a lot of new friends and created connections all over the world; I traveled around Portugal visiting new and old places (Porto, Mafra, Lagos, Madeira, Aveiro, Viseu, Ericeira, Sesimbra); I made new experiences, such as partecipating in dance and music events; I discovered and learned how to respect new cultures, such as Arabic or Orthodox culture; I have learned words and sentences in different languages, like Estonian, Turkish, Russian, Moroccan; I expanded my music culture with songs from different countries. Lastly, I have learned to enjoy every single moment with every single person, because it’s not forever: I had to say a lot of bye byes especially in the last 2 months. 

Even if this is the end of this experience and the last weeks in Lisbon has been full of bye byes and last moments, I want to remember that these past 9 months gave me also a lot of first times. For example: first time sharing a room, first time working with kids abroad and in another language, first time teaching English to kids, first time sharing an apartment with people from 6 different nationalities, first time facing a serious illness for months (on my own, in a foreign country), first time living in a big city, first time taking the metro every day, first time listening to some languages (estonian, basque, ukranian, georgian etc.), and so on... All of these new experiences showed me the world from another perspective: I will never be the same Silvia, now my horizons have widened.

I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I know that this experience changed me a lot and, facing some wonderful and some difficult moments, made me stronger and more self-confident. As I read in a book: life doesn’t get easier, it’s about you becoming stronger and more powerful, so this experience will be a teaching and inspiration for everything that is going to arrive for me in the future and now I know that I am more than ready to start a new chapter, wherever it’s going to be. I wish all of you the best and I thank again everyone that made this experience incredible and life-changing!


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