My name is Rafa, I am 25 and even though I was born in Spain, my heart is Portuguese, where I have lived for the past few years. In February 2018, I moved to Maribor, the second largest city of Slovenia to start a new adventure, my EVS. I am working as a volunteer at Pekarna Magdalenske mreže, a non-governmental organization that runs artistic, cultural, educational, research, ecological, informative and humanitarian activities in the city. I really love the variety of options we have, it is definitely allowing me to gain new skills and to discover areas I did not expect I was going to be interested in.
Everything started in December 2017, when I received a very positive e-mail from our organization, in which my other two colleagues and already friends, Esme from Scotland and Jesús from Spain, and I were told that the project had been approved and that we were coming to Slovenia. It was my second time in this tiny but lovely country, but I was sure that this occasion was going to be completely different. I felt excited and nervous at the same time.
I will confess that EVS and these past months had been a roller coaster for me. Although, I am very happy and willing to make the best of this experience. If I think about the time I have already spent in Slovenia, there are some things I must mention. Crazy weather: I have learnt how to walk, or better said, skate in the frozen and slippery streets during winter. It is true that the weather here is so unpredictable. If the forecast says it will be sunny, just prepare yourself for what I call the “Slovenian winter-spring-summer” that consists in a day like that: cold, a bit of sun, let’s rain for a while, cold again, why not windy for some minutes, short heatwave, then sunny but nippy. It is funny; you have just to dress up like an onion. The list of things I like from Slovenia is never-ending: I met many new, amazing and inspiring people, I was able to face new challenges, to create ideas and new projects, to start learning a hard language such as Slovene and to get use to a completely different lifestyle. I have to point out that I love the Slovenian language, sonorous and full of tongue twisters that reminds me, somehow, of Portuguese.
I appreciate a lot the opportunity to meet cultures and people with very different backgrounds that are always enriching me. I love spending time with them. We have created a great work, party and travel team. Nowadays, I feel I know more about myself and about what I want for my future. I grew personally and I know better my weaknesses and strengths. I think Maribor and this EVS experience will organize my mind and will make me stronger to achieve my dreams.
Hvala lepa, Slovenija.
by Rafa Peláez