jueves, 27 de marzo de 2014

Lost & found: the comfort zone

Carnival Águilas
It seems strange how my last blog post already is five weeks ago. I had been in Murcia for only two weeks then, and had experienced so much already! Now, it feels like I´ve been in Spain for a lot longer than just a couple of weeks, and there is a lot to write about! Since losing my comfort zone somewhere on Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, I´ve not missed it a single bit. I face new things with the least possible expectations and an open mind, and so far, it´s working out good!

To start with Carnival, for example. In The Netherlands, I normally let the festivities, typical music and costumes pass by without any participation, and I never felt like I missed out on anything. But this time, things were going to be different.
Because, when the sun will be shining all day, a sheriff outfit is available across the street and there is a possibility to celebrate with Queen Elizabeth at the beach... Who am I to say no to Carnival? Like true Españolas, me and Nelly didn´t leave Águilas until the next morning, and still had no regrets of coming there.

Arrival training in Córdoba!
At the end of February, we went to the arrival training. It was hosted in Córdoba, a beautiful Andalusian city that has a rich cultural history originating from the Roman era and was once the centre of Arabian culture in Spain. From our hostel in the old centre, we had enough opportunity to discover the city, with its beautiful narrow streets with countless flower pots on the walls. Amongst other things, we visited the magnificent Mezquita and a Marrocan tea room. Aside from being true tourists, we have also been working hard in the workshops and classes that were organised. They were realised by our amazing and warm-hearted tutors, who filled each day with knowledge, culture, music and above all a lot of positive energy :). To top things off at out arrival back home, we were invited to the presentation of a project realised by ADyV and met the university rector. Later, our picture was displayed on the university website as well as in the newspaper!

Madrid
In Córdoba, everyone could get along very well, so it didn´t take long for the first reunion to take place. In mid-March, me and some friends from Murcia therefore had a little roadtrip to Madrid, where I would meet my EVS-colleagues to enjoy the capital! We planned to see as much as we could, and I got to have a small advantage by seeing the city from the rooftop of a 24-story building. Me and the other volunteers were staying in a hostel in the centre, and from there we visited Plaza Royal, Puerta del Sol and the royal palace (just the outside). Also, we entered Museo del Prado, which is one of the greatest art museums in the world. Of course, we could also not resist visiting the shops for a bit and experiencing the nightlife. On Sunday, we ended our weekend with a nice lunch at the home of a friend of one of us, where some excellent cooking had taken place!

In Murcia, I´ve been taking my Spanish and Flamenco classes, and of course been at work at the university! It´s been really interesting to work on this new project lately. I´m writing a project plan that aims for improvement of the (academic) career of special needs students through an online platform. If I manage to develop a proper plan, we will try to apply for a grant so we can realise the project. Also, I´ve been doing some promotion for this initiative called Banco de Tiempo. This is a system of exchange of knowledge, services or skills between people, where the exchange is equal for all time. For example, a student that offers one hour of teaching photography can exchange with a student that helps with data analysis for one hour. Everyone is more or less free to offer and exchange with whatever they prefer. The idea is that mutual help will solve mutual needs of everyday life.

This weekend, there will be another EVS reunion, this time in Granada. I´m looking forward to this trip very much, and I hope to return with more stories from this city, of which they say it´s one of the most beautiful in Spain!


¡Hasta luego!

Iris

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