Monthly Archives: January 2014

Few notes about how the rule: “Don’t get into a car with a stranger” is not always a good rule

As volunteers we are not exactly rich people, but money is never an important point of reference in a volunteering life, finally we all like rice and onion for dinner and who need luxuries like a new pair of socks, you can always repair the old ones. Also that’s why the lack of financial resources never stops us from doing interesting things and enjoying our stay in a Romania as much as we can. Traveling is an important part of the experience, and for me traveling with small budget is a thing that I’m used to even in my not volunteering life, but right now it’s, let’s call it, more challenging. The simple answer to the difficult question of how to travel without money is: hitchhiking! And to be honest, hitchhiking is perfect when travelling for volunteers not only ´cause of the being for free part, this form of transport offers also other benefits.

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First of all the fact that some strangers are deciding to stop their cars and invite you inside, just after looking at your face and the piece of paper with the name of the city (and to be honest sometimes they are really ridiculously far away, or for example in the other country), for few seconds can really make you believe in humanity, or at least it makes you believe that there are some other people like you, just curious or bored or crazy enough to decide that potential benefit from inviting the stranger to their car can be bigger than potential risks. Even if we don’t have the looks of the psychopathic killers… who knows, right?

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The other positive part of it is the fact that hitchhiking abroad is probably the best existing possibility to practice languages. It’s not a mistake, not only one language, during our trips we had the possibility to have a conversations not only in Romanian or English but also in Spanish, Italian, French (even if our only reaction was: Je ne parle pas français) or Ukrainian, ´cause in the end, important part of this kind of trips is to find a way to communicate with yourbenefactor no matters how, even if a big part of your communication will be just smiles and gestures. And, at this point, we are getting to the biggest advantage of this kind of trips. When you finally find the car, and you discover the communication method with the car driver  then  you have really an amazing opportunity to get to know a lot about the country that you are in. The conversations about politics, interesting places in Romania or somewhere else,  or just about how live is in Romania are not a rare thing, in the end what else can you do when you are locked with the stranger in such a small area? (Rita’s answer will be: sleep). So even if the conversation are not always cheerful or easy I always have the feeling that at least they are honest and that this is one of the best way to really get to know something about reality in the country.

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I created this beautiful image of hitchhiking by skipping the few disadvantages like the fact that sometimes you are cold, or tired and the trip is completely unpredictable or even sometimes you are just not in the talking mood and still you need to keep the conversation going on. But really why to write about that if still the stories that we are telling later to the others are mostly the compilations of the best staff that happened. Finally we made it, we are in the place of our destination, we met some people, we got to know some things, sometimes we even got some food and we didn’t pay for that.

So … where are we going next people?

Aga

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Learning other languages

As every new year, the most of us do ourselves a lot of new purposes, the most common: go to the Gym, give up smoking… And we´ve also started the year keeping our main purpose that is none other than to continue our learning process. For this reason my mates António and Aga have started to teach their mother tongues (Portuguese and Polish, respectively). Then every monday and wednesday appear in our dormitory a lot of EVS volunteers of Arad.

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So, right now I talk the most of my time in English (with a pitiful accent, by the way) and I´m learning Romanian, Polish and Portuguese. With Romanian I can, more or less, understand “un pic” and to ask for basic things (after five months is the least I could do), I´m improving my level every week thanks to our weekly Romanian lessons and also everyday interacting with our neighboors, bartenders, beneficiaries and overall with the children… And I hope, in no more than a week, we´ll have the chance to watch Romanian TV.

With Portuguese language I´ve got a real problem, everybody thinks Portuguese and Spanish language are very similar; In fact, I can understand the most of written Portuguese but it´s almost impossible for me to understand them when they speak, and I´m really used to listen to in the dorm, almost everyday I witness a Portuguese conversation between Rita and António. So I´ve joined the Portuguese lessons for that reason and also because of another thing: the most of Portuguese people are able to understand Spanish language very well, so they take advantage of me and I want to fix that.

And finally, Aga is teaching us Polish. It´s a extremely difficult language for me, they have a lot of differents letter and too many different sounds for what I am used. Only the first day we were for almost two hours to understand and to know the different letters and pronunciations… It´s another world for me, nothing to do with latin languages or english, if you see something written in Polish looks like impossible but when you start learning you can see similarities in grammar with latin languages and, although I still think, it´s really complicated but I think after a few months learning I might survive if someday I get lost in Poland.

http://www.youtube.com/user/PolishPod101

Ne vedem!

Vemos mais tarde

Zobaczenia później!

PR

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Moș Crăciun pentru o zi!

Hey!

After  this long Christmas holidays pause, here we are again!

Someone came back home, someone used this free time to take a round. Personally I went to Poland with Aga and an Italian friend, we went by hitch-hicking and, honestly, it was a bit hard to come back home but after three days we did it and we had the possibility to see and appreciate some cities in Slovakia and Hungary, really nice places.

Anyway I would like to tell you about what we did for Christmas with our little friends, our “copii din Curtici” and maybe I’ll tell you about my trips in another post, why not!?

So as I said let me tell you about our “Moș Crăciun day” in Curtici.

Some days before the holidays we got a call from our organization, they asked us to help them to unload some packages from a truck, actually it was more than some package, it were “second hand” toys collected in Germany and sent to Romania to make happy Romanian kids that unfortunately couldn’t have the chance to enjoy this period as other children do. We stored all this presents and we took some of them to bring to Curtici and gave them to the children of the Curtici children center.

Some days after Aga, Antonio and me went with Cristina, our coordinator and Ana, local volunteer, to Curtici.download

The surprise for them was that we were wearing the costume of Santa Claus and  children were amused to see us in the shoes of Moș Crăciun ( as Santa Claus is known here in Romania).

Everybody was enjoying that moment,  children sang for us some Christmas songs (the little Aida was superb) and after we started to give them the presentsDSC00131

Laughs, hugs and kisses, great!

We spent with them some time and after giving the good wishes for a happy Christmas we left Curtici with a smile in our faces!

Here you can see some pics of the event…

La revedere my friends!

 

Luca G.

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EVS experiences in Arad

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EVS experiences in Arad