From the moment I received the answer to my application to the EVS project about how my motivation letter was, and I quote, “so perfect it makes me cry… but not really because I’m Latvian and I have no feelings“, I knew that no ordinary times were coming ahead.
The beggining of my journey had 3 little funny mishaps. On the night of the 2nd of october, after 2 flights and a scale in London, I finally arrived at Riga’s airport. Unfortunatelly my luggage did not arrive with me (strike #1). After, I was picked up with other volunteers from Spain at the airport and we went to the car, on our way to Liepaja. On the beggining of our way, though, the car broke down for apparently no reason (strike #2) but after a while some nice latvian guys helped with it and we could drive to Liepāja. When we finally arrived to our flat, one of the girls also in the project, who had already arrived, had locked herself inside the house so we couldn’t open it and because she was sleeping with earplugs she couldn’t hear the bell (strike #3) so it took us quite a while to finally get inside. I could just think that all of what was happening seemed just like out of a Mr. Bean movie. I was not worried at all. Actually I was finding it all very amusing!
About Liepāja, I find it very clean, very spacious, very green. I just love the Līvi Ghost Tree, which is a metal tree that plays the songs of the legendary band Līvi, to which it pays tribute. Of course, being portuguese I have a strong connection to the sea, so despite the fact that I was only there once yet, Liepāja’s beach is one of my favorite places here. There are also a lot of ravens here and for me it was love at first sight, I just love those creepy little birds.
Latvians… If they do not speak english maybe a few will look at you like you are an alien and avoid you. But if they speak english (and I am quite amazed with how even small kids all speak very well) or make an effort to communicate in any way possible they are just my type of people! Really interesting and funny people, quite talkative and sociable!
My project is about teaching english to children of diverse ages using non-formal education methods. It is amazing to be able to communicate with children that do not have the same native language. Not only I feel that I can add some value to their paths as they are improving their english and maybe being more aware of the advantages of volunteering work and travelling , but I also feel that I’m growing as a person because of all the cultural and social enrichement I’m experiencing. It has been also really funny that when I say in a new class that I’m from Portugal there is always at least on boy screaming “Cristiano Ronaldo”!
The best part, though, has been the people I met. I’m so grateful that I met my girls from the project, the funniest duo ever from my receiving organization, the other volunteers (not only from Liepāja but also from other places in Latvia) which are all awesome… But, don’t worry, because this is not the Oscars ceremony I won’t mention everybody’s name and make this even longer.
For the past four years my professional career has been all about managing expectations of clients, crunching numbers on excel and making presentations to the company’s board. As you can imagine, this was a 180º turn for me. And I can say that for now I do not regret it one bit!