`On arrival` training in Coy, Lorca
On the 14th of October, I grabbed my luggage and went to the train station which was the meeting point. A bus was to take all of the volunteers from Murcia and I was so happy about finally meeting more people from the city.
I was in Spain for almost one month and things were still new and a bit confusing. I love shopping and hiking and getting lost in natural parks, trying to find my way back (even though I’m terrible at orientation) and I was willing to meet people with whom I could do these kinds of stuff.
We weren’t too many on the bus, as far as I remember, probably 22 or 24. In the beginning, we were a bit shy and didn’t talk much, but after a while, we started introducing ourselves and talking about our projects and expectations.
There were people from so many countries, France, Estonia, Armenia, Macedonia, Italy, Greece, Poland, Germany and obviously, us, from Romania. I felt so blessed for having the opportunity to meet so many folks and to find out about their cultures.
After around 2 hours, we reached our destination: a youth hostel in Coy. What a lovely village! It had only 513 inhabitants, so having us there was a great joy for the citizens. The word " Coy " derives from the Latin "collis", meaning a hill and yes, because there are so many hills surrounding the area. On the other side of each hill, there is another settlement shielding warm people who would welcome you in their houses right away.
Playa de Coy
It was a small, cosy, and it really reminded me of an inner courtyard of a huge fortress. The roads were stone-paved. It really gives you a feeling of peacefulness.
After settling in, we’ve been told the schedule of the week (quite intense). We started by introducing each other and made our envelopes so that our secret friend would have where to put in all the nice thoughts. I liked this. I liked the idea of being a secret friend and write tiny motivational letters and I was very spoiled by my secret friend who even gave me chocolate.
We had interesting discussions about Europe, about what does ESC mean and we understood each other’s institution’s roles better. There were also a lot of teamwork games, and we danced, we sang, some of the volunteers even cried. We also had Spanish classes with a super nice teacher. He taught us the differences between para and por, estar and ser.
Our Spanish culture cuisine has also been tested. We had to recreate different Spanish dishes using our bodies. My group had `Marinera` and I was the anchovy on top in that recipe (haha). What I really liked about this training was that hard topics have also been discussed, like what to do if we encounter any problem, where to go, who to talk to.
Each volunteer presented their volunteering project, their mission in Spain and I was amazed by their beautiful ideas and by their views of this experience.
In order to learn more about Spanish cuisine, they brought us a MasterChef cook who taught us how to make tortilla and Murcian salad.
Tortilla and the Murcian salad
I loved the activities which had the purpose to find out more about each other’s perspectives on life and about all those cultural differences. I felt happy about being Romanian and not having to deal with all the problems that a non-European person has to face.
We used our creativity and drew the river of our lives, with all the ups and downs, all the swirls, what we’ve achieved and which were our goals. It was a very uplifting exercise.
During siesta, I loved going for walks on the hills. I really felt the desertic atmosphere there. In the afternoon it was crazy hot and the nights were freezing cold.
Moreover, we had activities regarding cheap travelling, what to visit in Spain and what kind of new things to try.
To sum up, it was a full intense week which made me more aware of my role in Spain and motivated me a lot. I returned with a fresh mindset and richer in knowledge. I have also met some of the people who have become my friends.