Procrastination is something we all know, some of us even know it a little too well. I, for one, would count myself the latter especially when it comes to writing my first blog entry. So after three months of being here in Zaragoza, Spain, I worked up the courage to finally summarize everything that has happened to me so far. And that is quite a lot.
First of all, I love my project. I love the work I do, the people I do it with and most importantly the people I do it for. Obviously I didn't feel like this at first. I was confused yet excited and the overwhelming impressions I got from this beautiful city kind of outshined the reason why I was really here. I am sure that, whoever is reading this, hasn't heard this for the first time. Whether it was their own experience or hearing it from friends that just wouldn't shut up about how amazing everything is (I feel you), this sentiment is quite common. So I focused on the real important stuff: my voluntary service. Let me tell you, it is not easy to work with people who have mental disabilities, and not having any experience in that line of work doesn't exactly help. What am I supposed to do when a grown man tells me that he is a bunny? Or when someone insults a person I'm taking care of? Or when I don't understand a word they are telling me because I don't know these words? Luckily, not only do I have an amazing organization that makes sure I get to learn with every step of the way, but local volunteers are also my blessing. So, within weeks, I found ways to answer my franctic questions and actually see what it's like to work full-time with people I sadly never had contact with before. And seriously, what a shame that I never did. Over the last three months I've gotten to know so many people that live in resedencies owned by the organization. I really don't want to generalize as I know it always depends on the person itself but these people are the kindest, most loving and affectionate people I have ever met. When you meet them, you get showered with kisses and hugs before they even know your name. Granted, you have to be the kind of person for that, which thank God I guess I can be.
This brings me to my next point. Because I see them every day and see how many of them are such good people, it breaks my heart to see that not everyone is as accepting and tolerant as they should be. I remember I was walking down the street with our group, laughing, having fun when one woman walked past us and gave us the most digusting look ever. I don't know where they came from but suddenly my maternal instincts kicked in (I didn't even know I had any) and all I wanted to do was to punch her in the face, yell at her for doing that and make her realize how wrong of her it was to give us that dirty look. I, of course, knew that wasn't an option, despite from the facts that I am a non-violent person, waaaay to small to even reach her face and have literally zero strength in my arms (that woman for sure would have taken me down), this wasn't the way to solve things. That is why I am working. That is why I am here. Not to have recreations of WWE fights but to rise and spread awareness that people with mental disabilities are no different from you and me. They have feelings and hobbys and so many interesting stories to tell, they should have a right to be treated with love and respect, like any normal person should.
I realize this entry is becoming rather long, so I will keep it really short from here. Ever since that incident, it has been so easy and fun to work here. I've discovered that I wake up with motivation and energy - unless it's 7 am- and that I come home with a full heart and clear mind. To be honest, I didn't expect to be so incredibly happy here. I mean, aside from the fact that I have had many enfurating interactions with some locals (that's a complete different story for a different entry) and a few up's and down's, which from what I've heard is pretty common, I really am happy. Even after being home from christmas and having visited my family, apart from some winter blues, I feel fine. And I can't wait for what Spain has in store for me.