30 Srp Budapest→Prague→Budapest→Slaný
Well, why did I came to the Czech Republic and to Slaný to be exact to be an EVS volunteer? I still don’t know exactly. On my pro-con list there were several reasons written down. The country feels familiar and cozy, the people and the language were on the plus side as well. I have been here for more than a year before also for an Erasmus and for an Erasmus internship in Prague. But my experience always felt incomplete. I didn’t fully delve into the classic Erasmus life of partying and constant travelling and meeting with new people every day. I was a shut in and worried too much about school and about the life and work I left behind in Hungary. Things haven’t changed much. Oddly enough I start from a similar position now. I have a life and some professional work still in Hungary and I was relatively happy on a personal level. This time, however, I will try my best to be present, do the best that I can to help ICM Slaný and also to enjoy my freedom. These are the last years of my twenties so basically I have to, right?
Let’s not skip the introduction. I’m Dóra, I’m Hungarian but I was born is Slovakia just to confuse everyone I meet. I’m 28 years old, so just in time to do an EVS before I turn 30 and start my boring adult life. Discard this. I cannot wait to be 30, I will be wise, confident and rich by then, at least that’s how I imagine it. I have studied film theory and history, so basically most of my mental space is occupied by random facts about cinema and I’m happy to share it with anybody who is willing to listen. My newfound love is documentary films and animation. I get very excited about food, travelling, especially around the Balkans and about going to live concerts. And just to cope with my rapid aging I started to learn to play the drums. I hope it makes me look cool when I finally master it.
When I first arrived to Slaný no much has surprised me as I already lived in the country before.The shops are the same, the people who are both open and reserved a bit are the same. I guess Slaný it is a typical Czech town with a nice big square, cobblestones, cute and less cute communist buildings and with a lot of hospodas. The ice cream I had was also very good. There is a cinema. So I’m not complaining. And if I would need a more fancy kind of food and entertainment I will just hop on a bus to Prague.
After a while I noticed some of the very Czech things I noticed elsewhere: that the people love their countryside and that they are going to the chata all the time, spending their free time mostly in nature, also they put off their shoes before going inside the apartment and that lot of people drink beer with their lunch and they are able to continue with their day without passing out with all that food and alcohol like I would. As I know the language a bit but not completely it strangely feels calming. Sometimes it is good to not understand everything and you only notice the smiles, hugs and kisses on the street and the mej se hezky-s. I constantly felt before that I was living in a bubble here. I know about the history and the current political situation through my Czech friends but I feel that it doesn’t concern me. It is still better than in Hungary were the political environment is awful and I’m bombarded with horrible news everyday. So in many days this one year will be for me a sense of escape but I hope it will be also about self-reflection and learning a bit more about the country and see through the surface.
On my list there were also reasons on the negative side. Am I too old for this? Should I be working on my career and earn a ton of money instead to secure my future at least financially? My mums says I should. I don’t necessarily agree with her but I know that there is some truth in what she is saying. But I don’t care. Or I do care, but not only about those things. Having time to experience different work situations, volunteering and to figure out what is the best role for you in a team is also useful and helps you to grow and learn.
In the next 12 months Im looking forward to meet the kids of Slaný, trying to connect with them, improve my Czech, eating and drinking what Czech Republic has to offer, travel a bit around the country and working with my colleagues who seem more than nice people.