Servizio Volontario Europeo (EVS)

The Italian dream unlike any other

It is 5 oˈclock in the morning when an old grey cab is making its way through the empty streets of Tallinn. Ahead there stands an airport. A relatively small one, but still full of opportunities as any other. The cab pulls up to the building, stops for a minute and then drives away, leaving behind a girl and her suitcase.

,,Am I really doing this?“ I am thinking to myself as I am walking towards the check-in desk. Taking a deep breath and not letting myself look back I keep walking. ,,You have always loved adventures,“ I assure to myself and board the plane. Almost 12 hours, 2 flights and 2 train rides later I arrive in a small town called Marotta.

,,Ciao, ragazzi! Mi chiamo Kelli! Ho 22 anni e vengo dall’Estonia.“ This is my description for the next few weeks, although it says very little about me as a person. But if I manage to present myself with these first sentences without any big errors the next question I am usually going to get is: ,,Why are you here?“ In Estonia this question made my stomach turn, because I never had the answer. But in Italy I do.

I had just gotten my bachelors degree in physiotherapy when I understood that this is not my passion at all. I was left confused and insecure about my future. All the plans I had made were shattered when I finally started listening to what my heart was trying to say. So when I got presented with the opportunity to come to the beautiful boot-shaped country named Italy, I did not have a doubt in my voice when the word ,,Yes!“ rolled over my lips. I usually put more thought into choosing what kind of apples to buy at the grocery store, but I guess this was a match made in heaven from the beginning.

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I have been here for a little bit more than two and a half months now and I am in lack of words trying to describe how much I have learned and grown during this time. Every day has not been easy and the beginning was definitely the hardest, but I guess this is the beauty of change. To have the chance to challenge yourself in ways you did not know excisted. During this journey I have felt both scared and brave, sad and excited, not-understanding-the-question-for-the-fourth-time-confused and laughing-my-lungs-out-happy. I have met people who I did not know I needed in my life until I met them (the same goes for the gelato!). I have seen views more beautiful than any picture could ever do justice. I have felt such an amazing mixture of emotions that have left me wondering how much more there is inside of us. How many hidden personalities and different worlds can fit into a single person?

So now, when someone asks me ,,Why are you here?“ the answer for me is simple. I am here, because I need it. The funny thing is, I did not realise it in Estonia. Or at least the weight of this truth. The understanding came silently through little everyday obstacles that people encounter while living abroad. And I have to say, I could not be more thankful for each and every lesson that I have got so far.

All in all, if you want to travel and volunteer – do it! Not every step is going to be all sunshine and chocolates, but that is where the adventure part sets in. This is a chance to meet extraordinary people, eat pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner, swim in the blue sea under the stars, find a way to crawl over (or dig your way under) the language barriers and altogether give something back to the community. There are unlimited amount of paths in this world that you can choose from and for now I could not be more grateful that I decided to choose the one that brought me here. Thank you Italy, for giving me a new dream and thank you Vicolocorto for making it come true!

Kelli

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