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"Transpotting" in Sighisoara : A One year journey (part 1)

Hello hellohello you filthyreaders!

My name is William,I'm a 23 y.o french guy. I live in Martinique: a region from France that is also an island and last year I was a volunteer in Asociatia AUM.

My volunteering story starts a couple of months before I actually applied to this project. I was a lost studentin the south of France.I just finished my thirdyear in university,got my bachelorbut i didn't know what to do. I wanted to take a break for quite some time. I was emotionally and physically drained, and felt the need to take a gap year. However,I didn't know what to do during that year. So,I went to the Youth center to seek help. That was the first time I heard about volunteering in Europe. It never even occurred to me that it was possible. The coordinators talked to me about a project in Portugal and the whole premise seems super cool. However, I couldn't really explore that option because I had to go home in Martinique.- 8000km away from France.

A couple of months later,I remembered about that projectand decided to check on the internetabout those missionsin Europe. That's where I found the ESC website,and from the get go i had a very good feelingabout it. I applied to AUM at the end of Octoberfor a project called: Plus-make a difference. The main goal was to make workshops in high-schools about genderdiscrimination and anti-bullying. The whole experience was set in a small town of Romania -Sighisoara- for 9 months.From January till September. I was sold on and applied reallyquickly. Two weekslater I was officially a part of the project.I left home the 26th of december,and then came to Romania the 15th of January -as it was the first official starting date of the project- However, I extended my stay and was thereduring the entireyear. I left the 10th of December.

My journeyin Sighisoara is set in 4 different periods. Ironically just as the seasons went in the year.


Winter : How to be in the present. //Everything happens for a reason.

When I arrived in Romania, I had so many conflicted emotions. I was excited to enter this environment because i was about to experience something completely new,with strangers coming from differentbackgrounds.With that excitement came fear becausei literally just send myselfto the unknown: I didn'tknow what to expect, how people would receive me and overall how the project would work.However, I still had that joy, that cheerfulfeeling because I knew that I just threw myself into this new and bold adventure that could be life-changing. Also, I came all by myself, so I felt more comfortable to express myself freely which is something I always strugglebackhome.

Throughout this winter 2020 my emotions were like a rollercoaster. I had a phenomenal first three days by meeting all these new people, by this new living situation that I had to get accustomed to. I was living in a flat for 6 with 2 other roommates. We were waitingfor the other 3 people to come in February. I had parties after parties, and I never felt more alive. I really grasp every moment,and feel in the present all the time. It was pure enjoyment.However, my amusement was cut short since I had an accident during a hike on the fourth day. I broke my leg and had to wear a cast for nine weeks.From January until March my mobilityreally slowed down and it took a toil on me. So I took advantage of the situation and of the winter to stay home, and do some introspection.

I definitely felt that everything happens for a reason because I feel that incident was maybea way for me to learn a couple of useful thingssuch as pushingmyself to ask for help. I couldn't really do that much, I had to be helped to do a lot of things. I also got huge emotional support from my coordinators, it really warmed my heart. I also got a huge lesson on how to be more patientand keep my positivity on! It was definitely challenging a lot of times but I see life as an infinite opportunity to learn and as flawed human beings I want to strive for a better versionof myself. So even from this accident, there is a silver lining.

On the brighter note, this time also marks the beginning of an incredible friendship that I still carry months after I left here. I met so many people throughout that year, and I mean it when I say that all of them were meaningful. People don't realize it but in their own way they are inspiring. Of course, not everybody was great.. Don't get me wrong but i do not regret meeting them. I also got a lesson by talking to them. This is why the ESC experience is so impactful to me because one of my goals was to meet and confront new people and make lasting friendships.

I was excited for that, and I learned the hard way that not everybody is worth my time and that's ok! I'm also very grateful for having the opportunity to do my On Arrival Training. It was a place where volunteers from all over Romania like me would gather, have training about the experience as a volunteerand would get to know each other. It was so epic. I loved it and looking back I think it was one of the biggesthighlights of my journey.I met amazing people,I made fantastic connections and it actually also strengthened my bond with my fellow volunteers in Sighisoara. I will always remember that we were hosted by a hotel in Bucharestand not a crappy one ahah a three stars!! So much fun, parties and thoughtful conversations. This melting pot of peoplewas the cherry on the cake and kept me excited for the rest of my romanian adventure. It had a lasting impact because thanks to that and the overall atmosphere in the association, aroundearly March I decided to extend my stay up until December!!

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