The uncertainty of being a volunteer abroad Blog dei volontari

Leah a german volunteer, had a few complications at the beginning of her volunteering experience in Bolzano; but soon found out that she would make the most out of her 5 unexpected days at Trento. 

I always knew I have a great family and the best friends I could ever wish for. But as I left Germany I left them as well. And with leaving them behind I left a part of myself at home. I was afraid that especially in this situation there wouldn’t be people to fill this empty space. But I met wonderful kind and open people. And it is only a few weeks since I arrived in my new life. Don’t get me wrong it is still hard to be away from home when everything is so uncertain even more than at a “normal” volunteering experience. Especially when I videocall my friends or my family and I see how everything there is still the same, just without me.

And because of these special surroundings I found myself in a rather overwhelming situation when Marco from Trento asked me to call him immediately because of an emergency while I was having breakfast with my mom in Bolzano 2 hours before I was supposed to move into my new apartment into my new life. In this emergency call I had with Marco he explained to me that I have to come to Trento instead of Bolzano for 5 days because my flat wasn’t ready to be moved into yet. Therefor I packed all my things and got back into the car for a long 45 minute drive to my new home for the next few days. You can imagine that I felt along uncertainty many other different and confusing things. Nobody could really tell me what was happening, or if they did tell me I wasn’t really able to process it, so it seemed like everybody left me purposely in the dark.

But as soon as I arrived in Trento and I met the wonderful girls – my roommates on time- I felt relieved. My feelings changed I wasn’t bothered anymore that nothing turned out as I expected it to be. It was almost fate that even at this situation that I was able to meet these extraordinary girls I hope I can see soon again. They made me feel less alone, less uncertain, they gave me safety in a situation I felt lost. Because I knew and still know that I can bother them at all times with even the smallest of all problems and they will help me with welcoming arms.

The time in Trento moved by faster than I expected and I drove back to Bolzano with a car full of my belongings. Let me tell you it is the strangest thing to see that your life can fit into one little Italien family car. Anyhow we did arrive safe and sound in Bolzano in another new flat and another new city with more new people to meet. I thought that I couldn’t have more good luck like in Trento meeting amazing people. But I was wrong. Because fast I learned that you don’t need many people to not feel alone but few people you feel safe around and know they have your back.

Please don’t get me wrong of course I felt alone or strange sometimes. I do miss going out with my best friends or just chilling at home together. I missed the ability to just walk over the hill and being at my boyfriends. Or taking one bus and being at my cousins. Or crossing the garden and seeing my grandparents. Or living with my sisters and parents in one house always close to each other. I don’t have that luxury anymore. But surprisingly a little bit of home came to Italy because when you hear German around every corner you don’t feel so helpless. There is always a good chance that the lady in the supermarket not only understands your wild gestures but maybe even understands what you mean when you ask: “Avete…Äh,,,la Klopapier (toiletpaper)?”.

Hopefully I didn’t scare you away from going away from home alone. Even if it seemed at first like it is going to be a disaster. Now I am so happy that nothing worked out as planned. Because that is when the best things happen in unexpected situations right? Even the first five days I wasn’t allowed to go to work because I wasn’t confirmed negative yet. In the end I am happy that I had more or less a little extra vacation where I got to explore my neighbourhood and making myself comfortable in this new situation. So be brave and do not scare away from new uncertain situations (like now) maybe something great will happen.