I cannot believe it’s been 4 months since I came here but… Here we are, in Izmir, during a pandemic.

But let’s start from the very beginning.

A year ago, a friend of mine told me for the first time about the European Solidarity Corps. I had never heard of it, but as soon as he told me I decided to take a look at the ESC website. First feeling hmmm interesting. Possibility to spend up to 12 months in a foreign country while meeting new people and learning about the local culture. I thought “why not?” And I sent my application right away. I can’t even express how happy I was when I got my mail from Turkey. They accepted MY application. Back then, everything seemed perfect … Until we all realized that COVID-19 is not just a common virus, or the flu that can be killed with medicine and hot tea.

What should I do then – I started to worry. I asked myself, my parents, my friends, and even my teachers. It took me a while to take the final decision. I am coming! – I briefly answered to the organisation staff. After a few months I came to Berlin to take a flight that should take me directly to Izmir. Everything seemed to be perfect… And then… While wating in line to the check-in i got the message from my Turkish friends „are you safe?? Please try to stay in the open area”. What happened? – I asked…

October 30, 2020 – definitely one of the most memorable days for Izmir residents. While waiting in line at the Schönefeld Airport, there was an serious earthquake in Izmir. Many people died and even more buildings got destroyed. And here we go… Me, waiting in Berlin from where I should fly to this dangerous Turkish place… What should I do then? Should I go there anyway? Or maybe I should leave and come back to my safe Polish town? Breathe, think wisely, make the right decision … With great fear in my heart and even greater hopes and expectations, I took a seat in the plane. After 4 months in Turkey I can finally relax while thinking about that moment. Everything is fine. Well, I wish I could pursue my volunteer program without this pandemic atmosphere, but what can we do about it?

Our activities are currently taken only online. Of course, this makes me a bit sad as I would rather meet all the people directly, but let’s try to be a little more optimistic. Even if that makes me a little bit depressed, It has also some advantages! For example I had an opportunity to meet people from other cities and not only from Izmir. I made some good friendships. We all plan to meet (hopefully face to face) when the situation with coronavirus will get better. Right now all I can do is just to enjoy the local landscapes, trying some delicious (unfortunately delivered) food and walking on the coast side (I think I have never walked that much in my life).

It is almost March, the flowers are starting to bloom, the weather is getting better and also my hope for the pandemic situation improvement is growing. We used to say in Poland – the hope dies last. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Finally everything will be normal, just as before.

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