There are things, you cannot read about, you cannot prepare before, you cannot put in your luggage. It is the change that occurs, it is the person that looks from the mirror after.
In 2016 I decided to go to Switzerland to an EVS project. I wanted to learn about permaculture, bio agriculture and be part of the famous EVS experience. I grew up on a smaller farm and afterward I studied theatre so it was a big comeback, a big jump from the city life back into nature.
I felt like I was in a movie with Jim Carey (for some reason he wasn’t there, though). For the first weeks, I had diarrhea because there was no meat and the food was super healthy, many times mostly vegan. From big city life into an eco community – I wasn’t a Jenifer Aniston, but still, it was a big shock. I love gardening so that part I enjoyed a lot, the big house is enchanting and you find yourself surrounded by an international group of volunteers.
Essertfallon – the small village (four houses), cows, sheep and the mountains. It is the French speaking part of the country really close to France. The hosting community was nice but unprepared for two girls with a serious program. People were coming and going as volunteers or visitors – we had WOOFers, workawayers, international work campers and others passing by. I chose EVS because this is a nonformal educational system and I wanted to learn, travel and work and one year is a long period but finally we did it together. It’s like you go to the restaurant and you help cook the food. It was fun in this way, but sometimes it was pretty difficult, plus dealing with 15 people all around.
I learned how to be more creative and conscious about food and cooking. I learned how to be more open and careful around other cultures – I studied French with refugees and this experience changed my life, I have met wonderful people with heart breaking stories and an ever sparkling hope in their eyes. I learned how not to cook pasta around Italians, I remembered not to ask Swiss people whether they are German, French or Italian – you know, they speak That language, but they are Swiss, so they Are Not German, Not French, Not Italian. Deal with it.
I did the Jim Carey, so many times it was a big, funny adventure. The thing I missed was my beloved language. I started to listen to songs in Hungarian I never did before. One important thing, French have 2 “bad” words so you cannot really express your anger, therefore, I did the Hungarian move and spent some minutes manifesting my intense emotions. I never translated them.
We had gardens, a big eco construction and another huge house to renovate and maintain. We were building, cooking, gardening, Cleaning, renovating. I learned how to make a simple website, newsletter and more about online marketing, and also about organizing camps and courses. Sometimes we made kickass fires and we sang all night.
In the idyllic picture with a lot of hippy aspect came the division. We did not share the same vision. There were also families living there with children, people running from the society, an old guy trying to coordinate a foundation and building a bio business. All in all, we had to deal with each other and ourselves. I was running myself too from many things – pollution, toxic environments, unfinished relations and my family. I had to sit down with myself to manage my emotions. I was far enough to catch my breath and ask the necessary questions. What am I doing in my life?
There is a huge wave of people not finding comfort anymore in the big city life. I was one of them. I had learned many things I put in my CV but there are the others. You come back and everything seems different. All though, it is the sight that altered. The eyes, ears even the nose perceives life itself in other ways. Why? It is similar to the story of the poor guy from the fairytales, who goes on an adventure. After fighting the dragons inside how can you really explain what happened?
This is my story, my EVS. It was not an easy one, but a worthwhile experience. I feel more mature, ask my teddy bear.