bittersweet in serbia

April hasn’t even started for good… and it’s already gone! This month was totally crazy. Most of it I spent in three different places participating in various trainings. Two of them took place
in Serbia.

April 2nd 2012, 7:30 a.m.

After a little bit more than five hours on the bus
I wake up and see that we’re reaching Belgrade‘s suburbs. Me and two other EVS volunteers from Kavadarci came to Serbia for our mid-term training. The city is slowly waking up.
Taxi! Taxi! – shout drivers when we get
off the bus.
Ne, hvala.
We’re heading the centre for the morning coffee. Again I try to switch over from Macedonian
to Serbian.
Da, pijemo ovde.
Few sips later we’re off to the hotel.

The next four days pass quite fast. We reconnect with other volunteers from the Balkans and have time to get to know the city a bit better. Between the sessions we have lively discussions about our projects, organizations, about hopes and expectations we had in the beginning and the reality we’ve been facing. The whole seminar seems to be very melanholic. Many people are discouraged and think about the future, travelling, going back home… The big spirit is gone, the objectives have changed.

We’re  leaving Belgrade in the light rain…

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April 6th, 7:30 p.m.

I arrive to Niš a bit distracted and thoughtful. The chilly wind brings me on Earth effectively. I arrived here for a day or two. There’s a training course organized by SPPMD‘s partners from Serbia
and our team is also here.

Finding the hotel seems to be a bit more difficult than I thought. Not many people know where it is and if they know, they claim that it’s very far from the centre where I’m at the moment. After half an hour or so I give up and take a taxi. A quick look at my purse. Three hundred dinars left. Should be enough. I ask the taxi driver for the price and get in. On the way to the hotel he asks if I’m Macedonian. My heart grows!
– Ne, ja sam iz Polske.
– Aaaa. Iz Polske.

At the hotel I meet my mentor (who totally forgot about me again), the leader of the Serbian team and some friends from Kavadarci and Niš. I’m moving into the room with two Elenas from Macedonia and Sevcan from Turkey. I’m staying
in Niš for the weekend.

The next two days are great and I enjoy my stay here a lot. Not only the training on gender equality is good but I get a chance to meet a lot of interesting people. One of them is Nick, the photographer from Malta, with whom I talk a lot about photography and my experiences. He’s the one taking great photos during the activities in the park. Everyone falls in love with the picture of us all holding the balloons we’re just about to send up to the sky.

By the time I have to leave I’m really sorry I can’t stay longer. I love the atmosphere and the people. The bittersweet feeling. On one hand I’m happy to go back to Macedonia, to see my friends and to celebrate Rajne’s 18th birthday… and on the other hand so sad to leave this place and all these nice people…

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