What is EVS? Maybe you still don’t know what this is all about. So today I have the honour to present Rubén who will tell us about his experience and the feelings afterwords. He is a Spanish ex-volunteer who did his EVS in Moldova in the journalism field. I met him at the 20 years of EVS in Castilla y León meeting, the one I had met Emilio, where we shared the nostalgia for our EVS times. Ruben’s story is full of remembrances and details about what means experiencing a new country not everybody has heard about.
I still remember my mother’s face when I told her I was going to Moldova to volunteer for one year. Moldova? Where is that?- she asked arching her eyebrows with a surprise expression. The scene was repeated every time I told somebody about my plans. That’s how I realised what EVS meant and how hard it was going to be to explain it to people.
I packed without thinking too much and headed to Chisinau, capital of Moldova. I still remember that it smelled like rain when I landed.
More than a year after, there’s no single day that a though or a conversation take me there: Botanica, Valea Trandafiliror or a walk under Stefan Cel Mare’s watchful eye. Amongst my memories, it lives the image of a blurred city, immersed in the mist of a temporary paralysis; a Sunday in the trolley bus taking me to an unpronounceable name place. The smell of wine. An unrecognizable and unknown musical piece. A furtive love. And back to the rutine. A scene kept where the good memories are saved.
When I came back home for Christmas, everybody asked me about Chisinau and my mother still didn’t know where Moldova was. It’s difficult to sum up in a few words all the experiences you live, to try to condense the colour of the buildings, the people’s faces, the smoking chimneys…I remember speaking about Transnistria, an imaginary country- de facto- that a few people know while my friends looked at me amazed.
Thinking about Chisinau after the EVS is like wearing a diving suit. A place for myself full of memories, anecdotes, trips and unique moments.
After a while, and coming back to the present time, I can say that EVS meant a change in the way to look at things. A new way to look further than what can be really seen.
It’s difficult to find similar experiences to the ones lived during a year volunteering once you’re back home; but I can totally tell that EVS never let you go, because once it’s over, it becomes part of you, your personality, it lives inside you in your memories. That’s why I think EVS is nothing but a way of life.
Sometimes I remember Chisinau with nostalgia, some others with enthusiasm. I like to think that one day I will hug the streets of the city again while I eat placinta watching the sunset between the grey blocks of Botanica.