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Hejsan, SIP venner!

Maria

I am Maria,  one of the new volunteers at Globala Kronoberg. I am from Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Yes not Sofia, but Plovdiv the best city in the country (this is no joke)! I have been exactly two weeks in Växjö, Sweden and it’s been a pretty interesting week with meeting the people at the office and outside exploring the city. I chose Sweden because I have always been fascinated by the Scandinavian lifestyle and the way society works here so this was one of the main reasons for choosing Sweden for my EVS. Some of the stuff that I am interested are culture, languages, new places, HUGE music fan and also making food. Maybe soon I will find the secret of the Swedish kladdkaka. It’s the best thing for fika 😀

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Växjö is small but lovely town, I like that is has a versatile population and interesting places you can visit. I do recommend either walking around or biking so you get to know the place better.
NB! First weeks struggle was to get to know all the different types of Swedish mjölk (milk). Swedes really love their mjölk. There is literally like at least 10 different types of milk in the market. So you really need to read the label until you get the hang of it.

SIP and Globala are also quite interesting – we have people from everywhere and what I like the most about it that everyone is open to new ideas and challenges. The projects they work are quite impressive and I can’t wait to fully join the team. Cyber heart is really cool (maybe because I am also a little bit tech savvy) so it will be awesome to get to know all the games they use and put them into practise with the kids. I’ve already tried the dancing mats and it is not so easy as it seems, just to you bear that in mind!
So I guess that is for now from me! If you want to hear some more of all the places I’ve been or little bit more about the awesome town of pLOVEdiv you can find me at the Globala corner at SIP.

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Hej hej ! It’s been one month since I’m here now, and I can’t believe it’s already goodbye time. Time went so fast. So I’m wrinting now the last chapter about my experience as a volunteer!

This experience in Sweden was really inspiring for me. The work I did allowed me to learn new things (coloring drawings by computer, making flyers and posters, writing articles and recipes in English…) and also to reuse the abilities I get from my former volunteering and my hobbies (animating a workshop, eco-friendly knowledge, drawing). It was really rewarding and playful.

The main outcome of my work here was the Saturday’s Earth week’s events. I exhibited posters I made about alternative and eco-friendly association and project all around the world (well, not exactly all around the world because I mainly made posters about French associations and organizations, as they are the ones I know the most). I animated two workshops, the Thrashes to Treasures with objects made from trashes (ashtray, food boxes, candlesticks, decorations…) and the Homemade products with eco-friendly recipes. People were really interested, implicating and helpful so it was enjoyable.

I really enjoyed meet new people and work with them, organize different projects and events. The only thing I can advise you if you would like to have an experience abroad as a volunteer is to go for a long time. I’m so frustrated to leave now that I have met so nice persons and that I would like to learn more about them.

 

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I really enjoyed meet new people and work with them, organize different projects and events. The only thing I can advise you if you would like to have an experience abroad as a volunteer is to go for a long time. I’m so frustrated to leave now that I have met so nice persons and that I would like to learn more about them.

 

Anyway I could have a nice goodbye party at Kafé Deluxe as well as a movie night during the last week-end and a sunny afternoon in Vaxjö on Tuesday to enjoy hanging out with people I met at work, and I went to an exploration day around the Åsnen lake with my social mentor to enjoy beautiful landscapes. I just can advise you to live that experience as well, going abroad is just about having fun, building great things, learning to manage in unexpected situations, discovering and meeting people. I wish everybody can live that king of trip. This experience gave me self-confidence and desire to animate workshop in France about upcylcling and homemade products. It inspired and enriched my personal projects.

 

I wish the best to every people I met during my volunteering ! Take care of you guys and if the things go bad just have Fika.

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Thank you again !

 

Hej hej ! I experiment Swedish life since 15 days now, from my point of view there are a lot of things to tell. Living in a country as a volunteer is definitely a good opportunity to immerse itself in a culture. I went around Växjö to discover the city with Giulia, my flatmate. There are so many people who ride bikes, that bike’s parks are always full. We drank a cappuccino to Condeco, a nice café where you can have excellent Fika with nice pastries, and I took a look inside the huge library. We went around the lake, where you can find some wild places not so far from the city center, and I saw this space sculpture, the disco ball, which seemed to float on water. I tried to imagine disco party in this place.

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I enjoyed discovering Fika times, which is a Swedish coffee break in a more social way. You can have a coffee break alone, but it doesn’t make sense to have a Fika alone. Indeed, during Fika, people gather around a drink and some typical Swedish pastries to have a break and a social time. At work, it is a really good way to meet people and to know more about them and their work. I have to say that Swedish people are experts in baking. A tasted some of them.

Kanelbulles are cinnamon-flavored rolled up brioches. Chokladbollars are chocolate balls rolled-up in coconut, cacao or nuts. Liten Mummas are delicious cakes stuffed with almond paste and cardamom. Kladdkaka is a chocolate cake. I don’t know yet what is different from the chocolate cake that I know, but every people I asked told me Kladdkaka has nothing to do with chocolate cake

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Let me tell you, I’ve never eat so much sweet food than here. Because in addition to Swedish pastries, I also discovered donuts – I could see them everywhere in the city.

Don’t imagine mountains of pastries everyday with my coffee. In fact, in Sweden, I also experienced Lagom’s culture. Lagom is an untranslatable Swedish word which means “neither too much, nor too little”. It can be used in the everyday life to talk about the quantity of food or the temperature of the coffee, but it has before all a cultural meaning much deeper which spread through some Swedish people. Parsimony is the key word, and the respect of your neighbor is an important rule.

Cars are really careful in the street, and stop at the zebra crossings to leave pedestrians cross the street.

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In a Lagom point of view, attract attention is not well regarded, and in fact I found the shops, the supermarkets and the public places much more quiet. Lagom is really unusual for me. I’m used to live with quirky and without self-discipline people! But I’m getting used to it. It doesn’t prevent people to enjoy parties, and to know how to dance in an oddball way in night clubs.
One thing I’m not getting used is the weather. I discovered here some weather forecast’s symbols I had never seen before, like the freezing rain, a kind of liquid snow really cold. But I also could enjoy three full days of snow, which is really magic and unusual for me.
On the contrary of the place where I live, Vaxjö doesn’t stop the whole city when it’s snowing. Bus and cars, schools, even bikes, they make do. Twenty centimeter of snow doesn’t stop Swedish people.
In spite of the weather, motivation isn’t go down, and I keep working on my projects. I met a lot of people during these days, volunteers who live an experience abroad as well, and also people who live in Vaxjö. We organized a language meeting during whom volunteers of different countries gave languages lessons: Ukrainian, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Arabic, German, Spanish and French! I was surprised to chat in French with a Swedish workmate who’d never told me that she speaks very good French before this event. Swedish people are full of surprises. Cultural and language exchanges are so inspiring. And next week end an important event is organized in the city, which is the Earth Hour. I joined the organizers’ team to help preparing that day, I can’t wait for it ! À bientôt !

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