Halfway through EVS
It is Verzhinia Ivanova, a volunteer from Bulgaria, currently living in Pori, Finland.
I have been in Finland for almost 6 months already. It feels both like it hasn´t been that long and like it´s been so much more. Time seems to fly since I returned from the Christmas holidays, during which I was in Bulgaria. The funny thing is that while I was here in Pori I was thinking how different things are from home (Sofia, Bulgaria) and then when I went back i was thinking the opposite – how different it is than in Finland. It´s amazing how adaptive we humans are and how we change our perspective the moment we change our environment.
What also amazes me is the coldness. In Bulgaria we also have cold weather, sometimes it even reaches -20°C and I never liked it. I strongly prefer warmer weather, so why choose Finland you may ask. Well, In my case it was more Finland choosing me than the other way around and I can´t say I am sorry for that. Despite never liking the cold and usually feeling like dying from frostbite, while I have been spending my winter here I started getting used to this sort of weather and now I can proudly say that I may even like winter, a little bit.
So, all in all Finland has started feeling more familiar to me, I no longer feel like a tourist and I am slowly, but steadily getting into a routine and accepting this place as my home. The language is still a bit of a challenge, but a lot of people speak English which helps greatly. In addition, recently I met other Bulgarian people. It was so strange to hear Bulgarian speech that at the first moment I thought I was imagining it. However, I was definitely not and I felt so welcomed by them. They all started asking me how was i feeling being so far away from home and alone at that, do i need any help with anything and afterwards gave me their phone numbers and said that if i ever need help I can give them a call and they will do everything they can to help me. There is even going to be a Bulgarian event on the 3rd of March and I am volunteering to help prepare it. You are welcome to come if you wat! 🙂
Furthermore, I recently started training hapkido (South Korean martial art for self-defense). It really is amazing. I don´t know the finnish language yet but the teachers are great and they speak in English just for me. I am liking it even more every time. It is something that makes me more confident in myself, it gives me the opportunity to meet new people and it´s something I´ve never done in my life, so I find it fascinating. I hope I get better at it and I would love to continue doing it when I go back to Bulgaria or at the very least something similar to it.
I have also done a lot of new things together with my flatmate Cristina, who is an italian volunteer in the same project as me. Courtesy of her, I´ve tried a couple of Italian dishes and I can´t say I am disappointed. My desire to one day visit Italy has only become stronger. We´ve also been going to the gym (first time for me) and to the swimming pool, where I am learning how to swim. In a couple of weeks we are also going to visit Tallin and I can´t wait. The pictures of the city look amazing and I bet the city is even more amazing in reality.
As for the upcoming months, March is full of adventures for me. I am going to England for a week, where I will meet my best friend in London and then we will go see one of our closest friends in Liverpool. After that my best friend is coming with me to Finland, where another friend of ours will be waiting for us and we ARE GOING TO LAPLAND!!! I so hope we manage to see the Northern lights and I believe I will have an extraordinary time there with them.
I believe, this whole experience is turning into one big adventure that will leave me with unforgettable memories, valuable lessons and new skills and competences, which I wouldn´t have gained anywhere else. So, I am extremely grateful to all the people involved, who made this opportunity a reality for me! Thank you!
Best wishes to evryone!
May your life be an adventure!!!
– Verzhinia, EVS-volunteer