It is six 'o clock in the morning. I usually feel if the time has come to reflect on what has happened recently, but now it is way more complicated than in general. I am sitting and my mind is full of the most different emotions, so it is more challanging than ever to express myself. I am trying to catch the most memorable moments of my 11 month-long staying, but to be honest all my thoughts are rather related to my future.
I should probably write something about the fact how much this program has changed me, made me a better person, contributed to my life, how many beautiful things I have experienced and I am going to miss or how upset I am because of finishing everything soon. I even feel bad a bit now, because this classical scenario is not completely how I have been looking back to my whole program during the last couple of weeks.
The question is more difficult due to the unexpected events of the last few months that definitely have a huge influence on the way how I observe the things around me and how I evaluate this almost one year. If I ask myself very simply whether it has been worth or not to come here, my answer is certainly positive and it has indeed changed my path in many terms from my skills and professional ambitions to my personal life, while I have done more or less everything that I had really wanted including trips, having time for myself, thinking about what's next or doing something great for a new community by expanding my limits.
However, I am feeling recently that I have achieved all the possible goals I could have and nothing else is left here, so it is time to move on and look for something new and different. Of course this place has given me a lot and I had enjoyed many moments of it, but I really think that if I had a mission in Ostrava, I have already completed it and actually a little bit earlier, so I feel that now I may be needed somewhere else.
I am very surprised and proud of myself, because in the end I could prove that I am capable to live abroad for a long term and become more independent - in the same time I could get used to another culture, which was not utterly alien to me thanks to the similarities, but it still meant a lot of effort to build an existence here.
The final judgement is also tough, because I had to spend the second part of the quarantine almost completely on my own which was a brand-new situation to me Although I had more free time than ever, the lack of people and physical contacts caused a huge crisis within my heart. I always tried to see the chance of doing something more and being creative that was actually among the reasons of participating in this project, but the enthusiasm I had in the beginning started fading slowly but surely and I did not even notice it for a while.
It is very likely that I will never forget the kind, human and generous actions of my collegues and some local people; the spontaneous laughter, honest love and the pure joy of the children; the amazing time of exploring the history, the culture and the landscape of a foreign world or playing games and music together and find the connection with others, but in spite of these nice discoveries the rush, impatience, pressure and loneliness of the last period also haunt me somehow.
Living here was a beautiful and remarkable stage of my life, probably more than any others, but I can feel that it was meant to be temporary and its purpose was to help me process or appreciate everything from the past and prepare me for a much bigger adventure that is about to come - and there is nothing bad about it. The fact that I am focusing more on ending this story does not mean at all that I regret anything or I have a negative approach towards my staying; I just quite simply think that this was the optimal duration for me what made me grow up enough to have a more matured point of view and see both problems and solutions on an advanced way.
First of all these changes were improving within me on a naturally, but I am also very grateful to a bunch of people who trusted and believed in me and I was quite licky sometimes to find new possibilities to join and be the part of something. I would not say that I am already a much different person than I used to be in last September, but many key components have evolved of my personality and I can see that I do not react in some certain cases as I did before and I am able to think out of the box and take the needs of others into account more often, even if I still got a lot to learn about solidarity and acceptance and I have just taken a huge step towards my aims but have not reached them yet.
Besides the radical turn of my attitude (which I still know that should improve) it was also a good lesson to me that I can always expect something new and surprising and I should never lose the hope that something is over. Unfortunately I was not able to join to the final party of Don Bosco in order to close the chapter of my working months officially by meeting everyone once again due to my illness and that was a kind of strong issue for me.
Telling the truth I was not very motivated, even though I really wanted to have such a symbolic event, but then I realized that it was not one single ceremony that should make me think about myself being a volunteer - it is a longer process that must happen day by day, minute by minute.
The huge surprise, getting back to the topic, was the fact that when I had finally understood the importance of dealing with finishing this job on my personal way, I had my special moments of saying good bye to my life here. Namely we had a last compulsory duty to do and it was the camp in Hodoňovice, the countryside holding of the Salesians we had renovated and cleaned before.
Besides staying in the nature with all the miracles of the hills, fields and woods I could visit to refresh my mind and soul, I could meet some of the well-known children again too and get the vibes of a typical camp just as it should happen. We had campfires, games, we played music, saw small biblical scenes, built shelters and had teams with their quest to fulfil some special tasks. In some terms it was also a kind of vacation for me because I was free to decide what to do and although some of the people only barely knew me, they all tried to make me feel I was one of them.
In general we have the opportunity to have our holidays in July, and even though I do not dare to travel a lot due to the still concerning experiences of the pandemic, I had decided to have one big adventure for sure, so after the opening of the borders I went to visit my girlfriend in Katowice, Poland.
The city is only one and a half hour away from Ostrava and has a similar cultural heritage due to its industrial past, but it developes on a very extraordinary way: during one week I could visit enermous parks giving you the impression of a forest, marvelous streets and buildings in the centre, interesting museums and cosy bars, while I could also try a lot of local meals and specialities, so I could see the differences and similarities between the Czech and Polish culture.
And what am I doing right now? Well, first of all I am really taking my time to prepare everything and begin a new phase very soon, so I am looking at my days as some kind of transitional period. I am also translating a selection of my poems to English and doing some art, while we are finishing videos, guides and other materials to evaluate our project.
In the meantime I am attending cultural events about literature in the city occasionally, I walk or ride the bike in a nearby park very often and play acoustic music on the streets to keep the spirit of the summer alive for the city which provided me one of the most exciting, benefitial and complex inspirations for a lifetime I have ever had.