The return..to myself
Guess who is back for another post? It’s me, William!! I already shared my story about my one year of volunteering in Romania, (go check it, its long but quite an amazing journey) and this time I wanted to take the time to write about the experience as ex-senior volunteer who came back in the association. I came back in AUM for two months from October 2021 to December 2021. And as I came to realize, this experience was completely different from the one I had last year.
A different mindset and goal.
I kind of always had planned to come back in Sighisoara. I remember telling my friends and the other volunteers that this experience is way too good, to not have it again. I actually wanted to comeback for summer but it wasn’t possible because there was no project, so I had to choose the short term of autumn. However I realize soon that my mindset and also my goals completely shifted compared to last year. That is something that I should have paid more attention because I would have understand better how I felt during this short term.
I also think I projected myself too much in the future while I was still in Sighi, that I will miss this place so much that I will have to comeback as soon as possible. However, looking back, after a couple of months back home I think I knew deep down that I didn’t really miss anything from here, because I did one full year and I experienced something in such an intense manner. I needed to let things sink, and let the feeling of missing appear. What didn’t help per se is also the fact that some of the volunteers that I knew from the year were still here. I think I completely got lost in my feelings. And after many hours of reflection I came to the conclusion that what I was actually missing was not the association, nor the people that much but it was the volunteering lifestyle itself.
It is very interesting because I remember feeling pretty neutral and not very excited about the project or about most of the people which was very strange coming from me. I had a different mindset and goal for this experience. One year ago, it was for me about making connections with people, having fun and challenging myself. This time around, it was more about rediscovering Romania and its landscapes, and has some conclusions on unfinished business I had because I left the country very abruptly the last time. As a result, my focus was not the same and my overall feeling was not the same as last year. All of this became very real the first day I arrived. It felt like home and like I never left but in the same time things had changed such as some volunteers or some places. So I did felt a little bit out of place and honestly that feeling never really left me during the two months. Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing time here in Sighisoara again. I checked a lot of things from my bucket list. I traveled so much more than last year, I discover the Romania that I wanted and I could not be more happy. I went to the Maramures region, Sinaia, Sibiu (again), Brasov etc. Great times and good memories were made there. I also rediscover somehow Sighisoara through the restaurants, my night walks with some volunteers. And again, although it was not my first goal coming back but I made sensational bonds with some incredible people that I will forever cherish.
Of course, it is not all fairy and butterfly and indeed some days were bad, but it was definitely challenging and new for me to see how my mindset was different. As a result how it also affected my stay.
For anyone reading I would say, if you want to come back to your former volunteering association for a short term, be sure that you actually miss the place and the people before jumping in a decision like this. It sounds obvious but as I said, I misinterpreted my feelings. I’m glad I went back because I learned again so much about myself and people but I know for sure that this is it for now for me. I will move on and live my life. I think I have outgrown this environment and I can feel these two months gave me the concrete realization of it.
I’m happy because I feel I have completed another part of my trip this time and I don’t really have any regrets.
Things happened the way they were supposed to. I think my volunteering life in Romania is ending but that doesn’t mean I may not pop up some times to visit but I think it’s better for me to realize my projects and focus on my future/present life. Romania is over for now. Better miss it before getting tired of it!