11 OCTUBRE 2016
Palma EVS - Part 9
September 26th – October 9th
I'm back with another 2 weeks in one part post, so there is the danger that this could end up pretty long. I will try to avoid that, but be prepared just in case. Topics: my work at Acción Balear; holiday in Tarragona and Valencia / Alzira, the arrival of fall and a very special visitor.
Pier and me started the last week of September with big challenge after Xavi and Maria Antonia asked us to create a presentation with Prezi about the organizations that Acción Balear cooperates with. As neither me or Pier had to use Prezi before, it took us a while to figure out what we want to make and how we can actually achieve that. At the end we were quite happy with the end product.
On Thuesday and Wednesday we were working from home as both Xavi and Maria Antonia were out of the office. Other than writing my blog, I also had to make 2 other PDFs with current EVS opportunities.
On Thursday our holiday finally begun and first we flew to Barcelona, then took a train to get to Tarragona. Our main reason to travel was to meet the other volunteers: Inês, Félix, Anita, Giacomo and Lina, who live there and Chrysa who was there visiting. It was also the week when the human-tower building competition, the “Concurs de Castells“ was held. It's a fantastic and crazy thing at the same time and I have huge respect for every participant, including Inês and Félix. Unfortunately I didn't see the main event of the competition - that took place after I left Tarragona - but at least I saw a human-tower during their practice.
I only spent 1,5 days in the city, but it was quite eventful and very memorable. Hungarian food for dinner thanks to Anita and her family; games; playa and fiesta of course.
While Pier was staying for another day, on Saturday morning I took a train to Valencia and from there I went to Alzira, where Lucia, Evelina and Mert – 3 other people from the on-arrival training - are doing their EVS. At the time Mert was in Tarragona with Pier and the others and the 2 of them only joined us a day later. Luckily even without them there were plenty of people to hang out with. Other than the 2 girls there was Yusuf, their new flatmate and his friend; Teo, who is working for the same organization as them and Michael, a guy from the UK, who just started his EVS. With them we went to discover Alzira. Later we also met Karolina and Tomasz, 2 other volunteers, who are also just starting their project.
During the weekend there was a fair/market taking place in Alzira, so – although a little late – but we went there to see the procession and have some tapas and cerveza.
Later in the evening we were joined by other friends of Lucia and Evelina and we went to experience the nightlife of the city. During the day I met so many new people, that I can't even recall everybody's name, but at least I can mention Pastor, the nicest Bolivian I have ever met. To be honest, he is the first Bolivian I met in my life, so he doesn't have competition to be the nicest so far. That being said, he is a very cool guy.
After a long first night in Alzira Sunday was all about relaxing and waiting for Pier and Mert to arrive. After traveling back from Tarragona they went to see the Valencia – Atletico Madrid game.
When they got back 6 of us climbed the local hill and tried the bar on the top.
Next day Karolina, Michael, Pier and me we went to Valencia, where Mert – who knows the city very well by now – guided us through the place. In one day we saw the Plaza de Toros, the Torres de Quart, the Cathedral, the Mercat and a good portion of the city. After Tomasz joined us, we went to eat something and later we also walked through the enormous park before heading back to Alzira.
On Tuesday Pier went to visit the world famous L'Oceanogràfic in Valencia. As I didn't really want to spend long-long hours there that day, I decided to take a train to Xátiva and climb up to the castle. (Picture up top.) The whole little excursion took about 4 hours, it was quite tiring and the hot weather made it a little more difficult, but it was well worth it. In the evening we went to a Japanese restaurant and I tried my first sushi. I never was a huge fan of fish and seafood in general and eating sushi didn't really change my mind, but the place was great, I had some delicious food and it was a great experience.
Pier and me spent the last day of our holiday with Evelina and Lucia in Valencia. For lunch we had paella. Despite living in Spain for 3 months, this was the first time I had paella. I know, I know, I'm the absolute worst. But looking at it from a different perspective, it was actually great that sushi, paella and later a drink called horchata were new to me, because trying those made an already great holiday even better. Another awesome part of the day was visiting Jardín Botánico, a lovely hidden garden full of plants and cats. Just make sure you avoid the cactuses, they can be dicks.
Unfortunately time flew by fast and we had to get to the Valencia airport, so it was time to say goodbye to the girls. This part always sucks, but unless you only find friends close to the place where you live during your EVS, it will be part of your experience.
When a few hours later we got back to Palma we finally met our new 2 roommates, Federica (Italy) and Tatiana (Russia). With them we are now 6 people in the piso, which means a big change from the time when we were only the 2 of us with Pier in the apartment.
As usual the first few days after returning to our normal lives were not exactly easy and the fact that now Spanish is the most commonly used language in our apartment made it even more difficult to get back to normal. And it's not because there is anything wrong with the new girls, or Spanish, it is just all the changes. Instead of being with people I am already friends with, now I'm getting familiar with new people and instead of speaking English all the time, now I mainly hear – and also try to speak – Spanish. It's a big difference and it really made me miss my one-week holiday. But as days go by, it gets easier and easier. Luckily now I'm pretty much “forced” to practice Spanish in conversations as it is the language that two of my roommates, Frederica and Steffie prefer to use. So after 3 months in Spain I finally feel that my Spanish is getting better.
On Friday we met Anna, a Brazilian girl who lives in Palma and thankfully she speaks perfect English. So English is still very much present in my life.
On Saturday (October 8th) with the girls we went to an end of summer fiesta at Sa Posessión. 2 weeks ago this party was actually postponed due to rain. And seeing the current weather in Palma (rain almost every day), it was about time to have some fun and accept that summer is indeed over. Having said that it normally is still 20-25 Celsius degrees here and if it is not cloudy, it's still very pleasant.
The week ended with a relaxing Sunday, when not a lot happened EXCEPT I finally had a visitor from home. :) One of my cousins was working in Mallorca for a couple of days and luckily he had some free time to meet up and chat a little bit. It was not only nice, because I met one of my relatives on the island, but also because I haven't met him for a long time.
That's pretty much all that happened during these last 2 weeks. See you next time!
If you have any tips, comments or questions, you can reach me on Facebook, Twitter or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Instagram to see more of my EVS experience.