I’ve just spend the last 10 months in Narvik, doing my EVS with Narviksenteret’s organization, a War and Peace Centre located in a small town in the north of Norway with a lot of history to tell.
During my project I’ve been hosting tourists and groups at Narvik War Museum, taking photographs in many events, assisting in educational workshops for school classes, Christmas workshops, volunteering at the local festival Vinterfestuka and at the Easter Café with the Red Cross, involved in a Youth Exchange and a Training Course, social media development and more… My project is almost done and I will be flying home soon.
As I sit here and think about how to pack my suitcase for my homecoming I finally figure out that my EVS was not a small experience, as somebody may think, but it was a big chunk of my life. As I sit here and think about packing, I discover that in these 10 months I create and live a life, not a simple experience, that now I have to pull the strings, pack it up and “close”.
Once that the thought settle in, I find myself thinking about all the good things that this year has brought, and I do it with a smile on my face and shiny eyes. Life in Narvik was not an easy one but it was good.
I hated it sometimes: this place so quiet and people so silent and private, or when it was raining no stop, or in the middle of a snow storm, or when there was no sun at all, just darkness. A couple of times I was ready to quit and book my ticket to Italy but I’m so glad that I’ve stayed. Now all the “bad” kind of disappear and just the good memories remain in my heart.
I have vivid memories of Sundays morning sitting outside of my house chatting with friends waiting for our laundry to be done, trying new food and drinks for the first time, hours playing cards, walking down icy sidewalks and falling down miserably, defending myself when they say that “Italians are just pasta and pizza”, hiking beautiful mountains, fishing my first fish ever and screaming with excitement, having my family visit me and bring some of my Italian warmth with them, being speechless while looking at the Northern Lights, smiling and laughing until it hurts..
The best thing about the EVS is how many people I’ve crossed path: with some of them I’ve shared all my 10 months in Narvik, with others just weeks or days but all of them influenced my personality and help me changing myself in the best way possible. I’m more open minded and accepting when I meet people, I feel more like a citizen of the World and not just one country, I’m more aware and sure of myself, more independent and, mostly, I have a bigger heart, filled with all the people that I’ve met and ready to welcome the ones that I will meet.
If I need to use just one word to describe EVS it would be CHANGE.
It’s very true that you always return as a changed person.