Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sunday, October 05, 2008

In between

Amsterdam, Arad. Romania, The Netherlands.Greece.Volunteering, a paid job. Crossing the vineyard-covered slopes in mid-summer, following the Amstel river by bike and struggling with the autumn wind. Rabbits taking over a commercial area at night , geese blocking the village road during the day. Dutch schoffies, Romanian straydogs. Creativity 4, Step outside your country and into nature. Facebook, Hyves. Richter, Millennium Center. Brânză, belegen kaas. Hostfamily, sharing an apartment. Friends.

Friday, September 19, 2008

No words

Update (grazie, Caterina)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Looking outside the box

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. These famous words by John Lennon are especially valid for an EVS experience. After three or four months as a volunteer you start to develop some kind of routine. The same way to youth center, the parties with other volunteers and even the small irregular things -a ridiculously delayed train- become predictable.

Just as some planned things won’t fit in the pattern. In July I spent a week as a 'native English speaker' at an adventure & language camp for children in Muntele Mic . I was not allowed to speak or understand Romanian for a week. The world upside down, but a good experience to see how my fellow volunteers have to deal with children. Out of the blue, Irishman John appeared with his bike on the last day. On his way from Budapest to Istanbul he passed the camp. You can find the result of our spontaneous meeting here.

Romanian alpinist & camp organizer Coco Galescu and me, picture taken by John Hennessy

I already wrote about Mostar. My trip to Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia was another example of an experience you wouldn't find in a random Romanian village. Another language barrier to cross. The visible past. The amazing seaside. The way people drink their coffee. One thing remained the same however: the ever-returning question why, for gods sake, I'm staying in Romania.

So far, my EVS stage has been quite a local project. This changed with one phone call from Millennium Center. Am I interested in going to Greece? Not once, but twice? Hmm... From the 6th until the 16th of september a youth exchange called Creativity 4: democracy & participation takes place near Thessaloniki. As a group leader I already had the chance to visit the place, and the countdown towards the project is running.

The group leaders of Creativity 4

Another clock is ticking as well. The official end of my stay is coming near. On the 20th of september I'm flying to Amsterdam. What will happen next? In october I'll return for another youth exchange. And then I just might stick in Romania. Who knows? I'm getting used to surprises.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


There is no better city to look for the blues than Mostar. A stunning beauty combined with a visible painful past. The bridge has been repaired, but mostly tourists are crossing it. Did I ever mention that Romania is a country full of paradoxes? In Bosnia & Herzegovina they are even more striking. It's like comparing the Neretva river (green! blue!) with the Mures.
The timing of my trip has been exceptional. First of all there was the demasque of the alternative healer dr. Dragan Dabic, also known as Radovan Karadzic. I missed the celebrations in Sarajevo, but obviously it was the talk of the town in Mostar as well. I thought Romania to be the country with he most bizar stories and personalities ( just to mention Gigi Becali ), but once again there is fierce competition.
Secondly, and of a completely different order, I was lucky enough to wittness the Mostar Blues festival. It presented blues music in all its varieties: sad and tormented, but also lively and full of energy. With the famous bridge as a stunning background.

The soul of Mostar: Mostar Sevdah Reunion