This is me, Filipa. I’m 28 years old and I’m from Portugal. Olá!
This is me, Karolina. I’m 22 years old and I’m from Poland. Cześć!
(…while having our first lunch break in a random cafe by the sea)
Filipa: It all started at Bologna’s central station at a non-existent “Mc Donald’s meeting-point” on a sunny Friday in the beginning of October. You had been there for a day, I had just arrived.
Karolina: After a long wait in the queue we managed to get our tickets to Pesaro. Thankfully, the attendant spoke English since we spoke no Italian. We still don’t. But we will get there. Remember all the people on the train?
F: Now that you mention it, yeah! Me with my two huge bags, you with your tiny rolling suitcase.
K: First of all, it was not that tiny. Secondly, I also had a hand bag and a backpack.
F: Either way. I remember the train being super busy and all my big bags and your tiny rolling suitcase plus hand bag plus backpack being in everyone’s way. So. How were you feeling back then?
K: I remember being anxious before departing, but I guess it was just the reisefieber.
F: Er… the reise-who?
K: It’s a German word. We don’t have it in Polish. But it means, like… when you are excited but stressed at the same time. Like a “travel fever”. Do you have that word in Portuguese?
F: Oh, fancy. Ok. Well, I had no such fever. And I don’t think we have any word for that in Portuguese.
K: What about you? How did you feel?
F: I remember just the excitement part. I don’t think I was stressed or anxious. I was just a little bummed that they hadn’t served any food on the plane. Thankfully, I had just arrived to the land of food! I remember us sitting in the train trying to get to know each other, speaking about what brought us here – what was it that you said about your two versions for explaining to people why you chose EVS?
K: I just finished my Bachelor’s degree and decided to take a gap year, but there are two “versions” of the reason why I did that. The official one says that the Master’s program I want to do is not open until next year so the gap year is kind of forced on me. But to be frank, I’m not 100% sure which one I want to apply for. Anyway, you said that you quit your job recently so that you could do an EVS, right?
F: Well, I did quit my job three weeks ago. Not specifically to do an EVS but because I had been working in the same company for five years and I wasn’t feeling challenged nor motivated anymore. I decided to quit and take a break from adult-life, to refocus and restore energies! Also, learning a new language is a big pro since I’ve been working in the tourism field and will probably continue doing so once I go back home. Can you still remember what were your first impressions of Italy?
C: I’ve been in Italy before so I had an idea of what to expect, but these were holiday trips, which is totally different from living in the country for six months. What I find difficult to adapt to are the working hours. In Poland we work continuously, we don’t have such a big break that allows you to go back home for lunch. Have you experienced some cultural differences as well?
F: Like you said, I’ve been to Italy before too and coming from a Latin country I believe we share some of the fundamental culture characteristics. There are, however, a few things that bug me, like the fact that everyone is so obsessed with relationships and weather you are or you are not dating someone. But I think what bothers me the most in Pesaro is the lack of public transportation, especially at night. I’m trying to look at it as an opportunity though, to improve my biking skills and getting fit! You know, after all the cheese and pasta we’ve been eating… a little calorie burn doesn’t hurt!
K: Sure…as they say, every cloud has a silver lining!
(the waiter came with our daily dose of carbs and we sat there, eating silently)
Filipa and Karolina