That bloody white crap falls on my neck

Day 199 – „When my brother and I were children, we always ate those icicles.“

„Really? I have to try that!“

Just a while ago, I killed the first cockroach in my life. He was walking down the kitchen table. Do you think that the proverb “How you meet the New Year’s Day is how you will spend the rest of the year“ also applies to the Orthodox New Year’s Day, which is just today? 🤔

Doing Things Our Own Way

Day 179 – Following the Gregorian and Julian calendars, Christmas and New Year are celebrated twice in Moldova. While most of the volunteers left to enjoy the winter holidays with their families, I decided to support the headline that appeared on my screen in the morning, “A fifth of Czechs spend their holidays away from home”. And currently, I am in a country where Christmas is not officially celebrated at all.

I am sending you greetings from Istanbul, where instead of Christmas carols I listen to ezan (call for Muslims to pray), where I changed Christmas cookies for baklava and kaymak with honey and where I was eating yesterday (Czechs are celebrating Christmas on 24th December) olives at the same time as a schnitzel.

Because…why not 🙃 ?

Enjoy your time wherever you are!

Let’s Try Not to Be Heroes

Day 158 – In the south of Turkey watching small Syrian boys running around the beach every day – my friend from Germany: “Do you think that their parents are taking them regularly to school?”

Me: “Do you think they have parents?”

A lot of things have happened in my life so far and all the situations started to escalate when I left my “bubble” and started traveling. Thanks to that, I met an incredible number of new people from all over the world, listened to all possible stories, problems and thus often became a direct part of situations that would perhaps be better not to experience. The worst of all is that I can’t really talk about most of them. I somehow keep all the stories inside of me and sometimes I incorporate them into photographs, drawings or give them a more specific form in the form of words written on paper, which I then throw away over time anyway.

“I don‘t know my father. I grew up with my mother and her girlfriend who often beat me.”

“I had a problem with a food intake and I still don’t believe myself enough.”

“I don’t have anyone anymore.”

“All my life there is a bag with basic things ready next to me, because I often have to run away from home. All I want is silence and peace.”

“I don‘t fit into a group of heterosexuals.”

“Everyone around me is excited about planning my wedding. I don’t feel like that at all and nobody is listening to me. I’m going to cancel the wedding.”

“My father is addicted to sex. It has become normal for me that my parents lock me in the room and I wait for my father to satisfy himself. Of course, I often hear everything. Sometimes I even see everything.”

“I can‘t anymore. I’m considering taking medication, but I’m afraid it won’t work and I will wake up anyway.”

“I don‘t have a mother. She had cancer and I took care of her until her last moment.”

“My best friend had a car accident. There is a funeral next week.”

“We’ve heard of suicide. I think you know that person.”

“They took me abroad as a child. After more than ten years they told me I had no documents so they deported me back to my country. But my mother stayed there and she doesn’t care about me anymore.”

None of these “stories” are about refugees, but about young people from different European countries. And no, it’s not a collection of situations from my whole life but just from less than a year.

Don’t judge others. No matter where they come from, how much money they have and what they look like, because we can never know what stories they carry with them and what situations they are currently trying to deal with.

And I definitely don’t think it’s a demonstration of “weakness” to admit that sometimes it’s just too much for us. It’s just sometimes hard to suppress your ego, stop pretending being heroes and just say it out loud. 💪

It Will Be Cold, It Will Be Freezing

Day 144 – The cold period I was most worried about already arrived to Chisinau. ❄️ While last winter I enjoyed the sun and cycling in between ripening orange trees in Portugal, in Moldova I am watching how local drivers enjoy splashing melted snow on pedestrians. My psychical and physical (un)preparedness for this weather is also affected by maximum weight limit of my luggage that I had to pack for the period of 10 months, which was only 24 kilos. I am layering the clothes, I have also traditionally started with crocheting and who knows if I will not start praying here as well so the temperatures don’t drop too deep under the zero.

At work I am involved in the preparations for a Winter Charity Bazaar, which will take place at the beginning of December. As during the Summer School, I am meeting again women and children from groups of refugees and asylum seekers and we are trying to create products that will be available for sale at the bazaar. I train not only creativity, when I try to to create “a lot from a little”, but also my patience and ability to assert and justify my own ideas and opinions. Believe me, it’s not always easy. After all the hard days, I really enjoy the moment when I can just sit alone in the room, listen to the calm jazz music, glue decorative stars on paper and give a final look to our products… Well, all the peace and relax is just until the moment when I have to travel back home by trolleybus again.

However, hurray, because finally I am not the only Czech in the group of volunteers! Jakub arrived a week ago, and you have no idea how amazing it is to receive these kind of messages in the morning: “OMG, I went to work this morning so fast that even those old grandmas outside were walking faster than our trolleybus.” “I have to share my new record with you. In the morning I had to let go three trolleybuses until I was able to get in to a bit empty one.” Ah! 😀

Tiraspol

Day 139A moment ago, my flatmate and I returned from Tiraspol – the capital city of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. Although Transnistria still belongs to Moldova by law, now it’s de facto considered as an “independent” state that is supported by Russia. This territory has its own flag with a hammer and sickle, its own currency which officially doesn’t exist but it’s normally valid and used there, three official languages: Russian, Ukrainian and Moldovan written in Cyrillic, as well as the brand “Sheriff” which owns and controls almost everything. Well, and if you get a migration card at the border, it entitles you to stay for just ten hours.

Given all this information, we expected our day to be all sorts of things, but certainly not what it really was. The conformity of all possible coincidences began already in a marshrutka (minibus), where we met a boy from Tiraspol. He planned to go to Chisinau for the first time in his life, but he forgot his passport at home and so he was returned from the border and appeared in our marshrutka. Briefly said – this boy has become our all-day guide. 

In Tiraspol, we also visited nonprofit organization Apriori, whose activities were supported, among other things, by Czech NGO People in Need. So thanks to all these circumstances, instead of taking pictures of tanks, statues of Lenin and socialist symbols, we spent a great day full of enriching conversations and even playing board games over a cup of delicious coffee…

Sometimes things are simply happening as they should.

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