Starting over. Closing a chapter of your life and beginning a new one.
When I applied for the ESC in Poland, I didn’t think I would get accepted. I applied mindlessly. Just because. I applied because the idea of the future was weighing on me and I wanted to show to myself that I was doing something about it. Also, because volunteering has been on my bucket list for a while. So, when I got the mail that I was accepted as a volunteer, I couldn’t believe it! I was beyond excited.
I have been living in Krakow for two months now and I already feel that this experience is going to be completely different from everything I’ve experienced before. At the end of the day, this is exactly what I was looking for: an adventure.
I landed in Krakow on the 1st of October. Sunny, warm weather and no clouds in the sky (only for the first hour, then it changed, as it is normal here). I was picked up from the airport by Anja, one of the coordinators. In the bus, from the airport to the main station, I could see multiple billboards, written in Polish (of course) and I quickly realized that I didn’t know the language, so it was like reading gibberish. It is pretty weird to move to a city where, when you go to a bar you don’t know what to order, because you simply have no idea what it’s written on the menu – though be sure that this is not going to be a problem anymore once you start learning Polish. Anja brought me to the apartment I am staying at and I met my flatmates. I remember feeling pretty overwhelmed by all the information I had acquired until that moment. My roommate told me she had cooked something for me and that made me feel welcomed. What a nice gesture for someone she doesn’t even know, I thought. She then told me the other volunteers were waiting for us in a bar and were curious to meet me. Though I was pretty tired, I decided to go because I was curious to meet them too. The meeting was pleasant, and I felt welcomed in the group. That evening, before going back home, I went grocery shopping and two volunteers were kind enough to come with me. In the grocery store not only, everything was written in polish but the prices were different because in Poland you pay with zlotys instead of euros. That was so confusing (and after two months it still kinda is) but I managed to buy the stuff I needed and took the bus home. When at the end of my first day in Krakow, I finally laid my head on the pillow, I was exhausted.
Starting over is hard. That’s why a lot of people like to stay in their bubble of comfort and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Though if you choose to get out of your comfort zone, you should be proud of yourself. In my opinion only like this, you are able to grow and get to know yourself better (besides other wonderful things such as: meeting people from all over the world, learn a new language, experience a new culture, become more independent etc.).
My first two months in Krakow were amazing, scary, exciting and confusing all at the same time and I couldn’t be happier with the way this experience is going. Surely, I am thrilled for the next months to come.