In retrospect, the best moment of the last nine months - the one that led up to many of the things I'm going to mention and even more - was the moment my first bed in Wrocław collapsed.
During my EVS project, I encountered lots of awesome people and beautiful places, in Krakow, Warsaw, the Trójmiasto, Toruń, Berlin, Chernivtsi, and of course in the epicenter of my project: Wrocław. In nine months, I had uncountable good times. But probably none of those would have taken place if my bed hadn't broken down.
Of course I did not realize this immediately, on my second day in Wrocław. That morning, I discovered bugs in the kitchen, a bad atmosphere in the apartment, and a strong, almost suffocating feeling of homesickness. I tried to gain control over the situation by cleaning the place, but that didn't help at all - it just made me feel even more desperate and alone. This was not how I had imagined my time in Poland. This was not how I thought life as an EVS volunteer would be. This was downright masakra... So after lunch all I wanted to do was to disappear, to lie down on my bed with a blanket wrapped around me... and - *BANG*. My bed collapsed. At one moment I sat down on it, in serious need of some comfort, and the next moment comfort seemed further away than ever before... It felt like the worst thing that could happen to me. I was never more wrong.
Was it coincidence? Written in the stars? A spirit deciding something had to change? We will never know, and somehow it doesn't matter, because in hindsight I do know that this breakdown was a moment of sheer luck. It forced me to move to another apartment, and into Zorica's room.
Zorica and I would have met each other, anyway, and we would have shared some valuable times. I’m pretty sure I would have thought of her as a nice, small and somewhat crazy girl. Probably we would have developed a friendship even if we weren't roommates. But it would not be much more than that. It would not be what it is today.
When you move to a foreign country, about to start something new, while your family and friends are far away, and you have to share a room with someone you did not know before, and you just click with this person... Well, lucky you. When that happens, it won't take long before you care more about your brand new roommate – and your bed – than about all those personal treasures you crammed into your suitcase just before departure.
For nine months, Zorica and I lived together, grew up together. We shared almost everything with each other, from our doubts and dreams to more down-to-earth things like food and toilet rooms. We spent just about all moments together: the happy ones, sad ones, crazy ones… Even the moments we didn’t want to spend together. I never had to share my bedroom before (apart from the occasional sleepovers), but after a few months of doing so, I started to miss my roomie when she was not around for more than twelve hours... By now our lives are so entwined, that we can think about exactly the same thing, simultaneously. Like twin sisters.
Roommate, party buddy, friend, ‘sister from another mister’… and coach. Thanks to her, I learned a great deal about myself and the world around me. I’ll never have her social superpowers or her energy level, but through her I could clearly see some of my own assets. Qualities that were invisible to me, but not to her.
Those nine months were full of changes. “Erasmus+: changing lives, opening minds”? You bet! I became a wiser, more confident version of myself. Macedonia went from ‘a country I might visit someday, but probably not’ to ‘a country I am going to visit as soon as possible’. And my small and somewhat crazy roomie Zorica is still small and somewhat crazy, but also the closest and most precious friend I've ever had.
"Please don't go," she said. I never knew that such a short phrase could be so heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. And because of that, I am eternally grateful for the day my bed collapsed.