Becoming a family

It’s funny how much you and your relationships with others can change in only 9 days.

Taking part in youth exchanges is like eating an unhealthy desert. During the exchange, you’re having fun with everyone. You forget about your daily life and problems and you simply enjoy everything. You even enjoy complaining about the soup you didn’t like during Friday’s lunch with others because honestly, that’s the biggest problem you experience in these 9 days that you’re a part of this small community.

Still, just like the dessert that is over after you’re done eating it, the exchange will also end and you’ll have to say goodbye to everyone- possibly forever. The sadness and weird emotions you feel cannot be described. You feel like you’re leaving your home and your family forever.

Once you come back (to your actual home), everything feels different. There’s a certain uneasiness to the smallest things you do. You’re drinking water from a glass and not the bottle you bought from the airport. You’re not being woken up by the people in the kitchen in the morning. No one comes in your room asking for a hair dryer. You don’t even have to knock on the bathroom’s door before entering.

Those are little things that no one would probably choose to experience in their everyday life but they make such a difference in your life during a project.

It’s the way that we choose to adapt in a new environment full of unknown faces, the way that we make ourselves comfortable in an unfamiliar place- changing our priorities, that’s how we come closer. Without even realizing it, we start to accept everyone else around us for who they really are and we let go of all the tiny things that displease us, we’re syncing with each other.

Maybe, because it’s the everyday actions that we change so much, our emotions experience such a shock when we have to start living “normally” again. We notice that “something’s changed” far more often than in comparison to the things we would’ve noticed have changed if we just simply spent some time together.

But, what is the solution to all of this; Sadly, I have no idea, I just wanted to phrase my feelings into words (haha). I believe that we just have to accept that that’s how it is. Some memories are better than others. You might not get to experience living with the exact same people at the exact same place but, you can always visit these people in their own countries, you can still visit Slovenia and you can still go to another youth exchange! The world is full of possibilities. Just accept that these were some of the best days of your life and continue living. You never know what’s coming in the future!

Styliani Ioanna Tzertzeveli – Stella, Grčija



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