It’s 5th October and I am already starting to write this post, even if it’s supposed to be published on 15th October, but from experience of previous stays abroad I know that the last days of my stay in Turkey will be pretty crazy. I will be probably running around to tackle some unexpected stuff that came by at the last moment – and most of all, I will be saying goodbye to everyone.
It is difficult to summarize a year spent in an entirely different environment than the one you are used to in one paragraph. When I look back at this year, I cannot believe this is already the end. On one hand, the time flew very quickly; on the other, I was here for a time sufficient to say that I feel at home in Izmir.
The first months of this adventure were the ones of discovery. I tried to absorb as much info as possible about the culture and the organization that I am working in, started learning Turkish and finding my ways through Izmir, a city bigger than mine and covering a vast territory. Somewhere through the winter I started to shape my responsibilities and adjust them to what I can offer to the local young people. I decided to create a small project and lead its activities myself – that’s how MoveYouthwise was born. I also started to lead French conversation clubs then, which resulted in new friendships. Feeling more and more at home in Izmir, I was impatiently waiting for the spring to start travelling across the region. I guess I do not have to remind what happen then… Starting from mid-March, we had to move all the activities online. The months of lockdown were tough, but important for building resilience and – simply – patience. In June, we could finally start slowly going back to normal. Most of the activities remained online, but me and Martyna could finally travel a bit in the Eagean region. The hot summer months brought a lot of new experiences, as we started to write Erasmus+ projects. September was busy with travels – we discovered Kapadokya and the southeastern part of Turkey (Antakya, Mardin, Urfa, Gaziantep). And finally, here we are in October, and though it is hard to believe – it is time to leave.
For me, this ESC journey was mostly about people that I encountered on my way. That is why I want to take a while to thank them all.
In the first place, I would love to express my gratitude to all the Team of Pi Youth Association. I learnt a lot from you. I admire your high motivation regardless of obstacles of administrative (or other) nature, resilience and friendliness.
Secondly, thanks a lot to all of Pixel Team volunteers who became my friends, especially to Nur Banu, my lovely mentor. Thank you for all support, warm words and happy moments we shared.
Thirdly, I would like to express all my gratitude to friends who made my stay here unique. No matter how and where we met, and how much our cultures seem different, we found a common language and shared enjoyable moments. Special thank you goes to my dear significant other, who supported me a lot and was understandable towards my moods and moments of sadness.
I will miss you all a lot.
How will I remember Turkey?
As this is the place where I met such great people, I think the good memories will prevail over those about unexpected problems, administrative burdens or occasional feeling of loneliness, quite normal in the situation of living abroad. Living in Turkey is not easy – although the country is full of natural wonders and blessed with rather a mild climate (when it comes to the Eagean part at least), the administration is complex and procedures are sometimes difficult to understand. What I really enjoyed in local people and plan to take home in my heart, is the ability of thinking positively even in difficult circumstances, openness to others and amazing hospitality.
What have I learnt?
I reckon that I finish my ESC with emerging spirit of leadership and strenghtened will to talk about what I find important and take action for the sake of values I believe in. On the personal level, I started to be a bit more relaxed and care less about what people might think about me. I moved the focus to enjoy the time we spend together and I have to say this is quite liberating. I also learnt to see differences between people as added value and an open window for complementing each other while working together. Moreover, during the months of lockdown I also learnt to spend time with myself, keep my motivation high and enjoy life in spite of difficult conditions.
What do I hope for?
I want the memories from my ESC to stay with me for as long as possible, and make me stronger; remind me of good moments and shape my motivation for the future. I want to keep in touch with the wonderful people I could meet here. I hope we can meet somewhere in the world and maybe create something together once more. After all, the end also means new beginnings.