It’s the circle of EVS. Volunteers are coming and just one year later they are leaving and new ones are arriving. I knew this from this very first second but I never thought that something your head knows for such a long time, can be so hard to be understood by your heart.
Non the less, the undeniable fact is that for some of our volunteers these are the last days of a year we’ll never forget. To celebrate us, this year and everything we achieved in the past 12 months, we had an amazing Farewell Day!
It started with playing Laser Tag.
Laser Tag. Our chance to team up with our friends one last time. To let out all the emotions from the past year and to enjoy being together. Being a team. Just like we were in the past few months here.
Playing Laser Tag really was so much fun. To feel like James Bond while running through a dark, foggy space, searching for the other team. All the time, there was this typical espionage music which surely helped to increase the blood-pressure, concentration and focus. I never imagined that it’s possible to get so caught up in a game but I really was a 100% focused on not being seen. On moving as fast and as quiet as possible and on shooting as often as possible.
There was this undeniable tension all of us felt. It wasn’t a game anymore, it was a life. Hiding behind walls, running from one place to the other. Listening if you hear someone breathing and shooting in just the right moment. It was thrilling, it really was.
We played three rounds, each of 20 minutes and every game was more exciting than the previous one. At the same time, all those rounds were really exhausting mostly because the guns are quite heavy. Although we really enjoyed playing Laser Tag, it was good to end it after three rounds. None of us had the energy to continue to play.
So we ended the game and sat down for a moment (or fell almost asleep…), drank something and then we started our ways home. We all needed and wanted to take a shower and lay down for a moment before the second part of the day.
The second part of the day was a Farewell Dinner. It was perfect. Sitting together with the people you love, doing the thing you enjoy the most – eating.
And talking. Of course. It was an extremely nice evening because past and future have never been closer to each other. Volunteers who just arrived in Wroclaw were sitting next to the ones who leave now. We were talking about our experiences, sharing memories and talking about what will happen in the next one or two weeks, when we’re all back home. This evening surely had this odd melancholy feeling but I guess that’s normal when you sit down with friends you met one year ago and talk about how everyone changed within this one year. When we first came here, everyone told us that EVS is a life-changing experience. Everyone told us that we will learn so much – about ourselves, our friends and other cultures. Now I can say they were right. And that is what we agreed on during this dinner. On change. Change in our attitudes, in our opinions, in our way to solve problems. Change in almost everything. I am not saying that we are completely different people now, I am just saying that we developed through our experiences here and the people we met. Some of them inspired us every day and taught us to take new challenges. With some of them, we have the craziest party memories. And some of them became so close friends that we won’t let them go. They became the ground beneath our feet when we had the feeling to fall. They became the bright stars leading us the way when we had the feeling to be trapped in darkness. But before all of that, they became the clear voices in our hearts which lead us and be with us. Always.
But of course the time went by and at some point, the Farewell Dinner had to end. It felt weird leaving the restaurant because for the first time it felt like saying goodbye.
That was the moment I realized it: saying goodbye is always a decision.
It’s on all of us to decide if it’s a ‘goodbye’ or a ‘see you’. We never said it out loud but we all agree here on saying ‘see you’. Who knows when and where but that actually doesn’t matter so much as long as we all know that we’re just saying ‘see you until we meet again’.
So, this is it then. My last article. I can’t believe it. It was a pleasure to write them.
I will really miss being in Semper Avanti but changes are a part of life and definitely of EVS. Something new is about to start and I am sure that it will be something great. It will be challenging and exciting and I am thrilled to move forward to new harbor’s.
If there’s one thing I learned here in the past twelve months, it’s how important it is to always keep moving. Never stop challenging and developing yourself. Every volunteer who came here learned it and everyone who will come will learn it too.
Because this is what we do in Semper Avanti – always moving forward.