Sometimes our lives can change so suddenly from one day to another one due to unexpected reasons that the situation requires a lot of creativity, patience and the ability to adopt to the new conditions we have to accept. As many other people, I had been spending my days according to the routine I had already created and making plans regarding to the close future: trips, events, visits which obviously I had to cancel because of the current pandemic we are facing now. Within a couple of weeks I could see the whole world turning around more than ever before: closed borders, restrictions, masks and compeltely different schedules.
In the beginning I was upset, dissapointed, worried and maybe even a bit angry, but then I realized that the coronavirus (which is not a distant news anymore, but has become a huge threat all around Europe) is one out of the many challenges I have to cope with during my staying here in Czech Republic.
First of all, as it turned out very fast, I was not alone in the universe, but the case had an impact on everyone's life: many volunteers and exchange students decided to cancel or suspend their projects and go home, a lot of people have lost their jobs, thousands got trapped or have to avoid their passions, and since the schools had to close, the leisure centre of Don Bosco, my workplace, that was always full of laughter, joy and children, is definitely more silent in these days as well.
However, when I learnt how to think out of the box to see that we have to fight the whole situation together, I became stronger, and instead of complaints, misery and being terrified I finally realized how lucky I still was with my own circumstancies: I have a shelter to hide, a stable financial existence, people around me whom I love, and a mission to complete, that last one might have changed recently, but it is just something that we must deal with somehow - what is more, our responsibilities are even bigger because of the virus.
I am really missing the happy and variable working weeks by Don Bosco but fortunately I learnt quite quickly that I should see the bright side of everything and think about all the benefits and possibilities I am able to do now, because there is something we are having much more of than ever before, and that is the time. As far as I have observed, that is a tricky issue for some people to manage their days more efficiently, but by now I understand that it is just another kind of environment to me with the opportunity of improving and growing, which are the key elements of my volunteer program.
In general it is very important that the pandemic makes us realize what really matters in the life and what kind of values we consider as the inalienable parts of our personalities. For instance, it turned out that my emotional support can be very significant to my friends or my family, but I can also receive a lot of positive messages from my beloved ones or even from my host organization.
Since we cannot work on the way we used to, we are trying everything in order to do something useful and contribute to the local community somehow. Mostly it means the so-called home office tasks including administrative work and brainstorming, but there are also many further options to keep the volunteer spirit alive from sewing masks to planning youth clubs and teaching languages online.
The fact that we are separated physically can also bring us closer, and some individuals can show their very bests or can explore unknown skills and capacities within themselves just as I did and what I will explain below. We also have our regular meetings more often both personally and via internet to keep on being updated, encourage each other by the supervisions and discuss what's next.
This period is also a great chance to arrange everything that I did not have time for, this way I decided to have a look at all the documentation I had from the job, while watching the old photos and videos or making presentations of them are giving me such a nostalgic feeling that once it is like if everything had happened yesterday, but other times rather if all the things had happened somewhere in another reality.
The quarantine, all together with its negative and depressing consequences also helped me to evaluate and summarize what I had done so far: first regarding to my job, personal development, and mental health, then about many other events that I experienced in the past.
So what else can I do apart from the duties we are supposed to work on? First I had some concerns about finding a new order in the everyday chaos but somehow it worked out quite easily and spontaneously to invent my new and customized time table. Since I am obsessed with foreign cultures and languages I am going ahead by learning Czech, and what is more, I have also started learning Polish now, while the comparation and the similarities make me really excited, not to mention that I can also refresh other languages I used to learn earlier.
Fortunately most of my hobbies apart from hiking and traveling are not connected to outdoor activites, so actually I can think about this period as something I can use to concentrate more on my passions and have more time for myself. The irony in the situation is that we can always lose something but in the meantime we can also discover other diamonds to fulfil the gaps: cooking is a very nice example for that, because although it used to be just a necessary activity to me but nothing else, recently it is also on the list of possibilities to express myself and construct something extraordinary or marvelous.
Apart from that I can focus on my art more, that I could not do for a while due to some other responsibilites I had, and even though my guitar is not here with myself right now, I have hundreds of song ideas on my laptop I can select, continue and finish - to be honest, without the temptation of improvising on an instrument all the time it may also be better to have a review on what I have created during the last few months.
The case with my poetry is pretty similar because I had some inspirations that I could finally realize, while checking and improving some pieces, translating them, managing my social media more often and defining my ambitions as an artist can also provide me new meanings and puzzles to solve until everything will hopefully be the same as it used to be.
I can also come up with some occasional ideas that otherwise I would never have the opportunity to, for example I have done a little research about Czech culture for a small project that made me learn surprisingly a lot about this country and I am also planning to write articles on music again to return to the practice as a journalist.
Besides these initiatives I always keep in my mind that I am a volunteer who is supposed to help for those in need here in Ostrava, so I am really hoping that our program will go ahead and this section will be just a fading nightmare very soon, not to forget that this chapter might be a memorable and unique experience as well that somehow has its own advantages for us.