How to build castles
On Arrival Training in Kobuleti
"I'm missing you like hurricanes. I give them names, but their waves keep rolling, on and on."
-'Calm Go the Wild Seas', Beulah
"On Arrival Training"-noone of us could imagine what was meant by this. We fantasied it like beeing a kind of Boot Camp, with getting up at 5 in the morning to make some sport like running around the Hotel or swimming in the Black Sea... Finally, it was nothing like this. Maybe our fantasy is way too developed...!
It all started with a very stressfull trip in a way too fancy train (at least for me) from Tbilisi to Kobuleti. We got up earlier than we are used to, so everyone was kind of wasted when we arrived 4 hours later. The first day was to get to know each other, because we were 26 young people from all over Europe, who are staying in more than 5 different cities all over Georgia or Armenia. Imagine you have to remember 25 new names, connected with all those facts about where they are from and on which project they are volunteering- I got so confused that in the evening I was glad still being able to remember my own name and whereabout!
The whole arrival training was about meeting new people in the same lifesituation, exchanging experiences, emotions and expectations regarding our voluntary service. Also learning about cultural differences and how to manage possible upcomming conflicts and with this improving our communication. I admit that I had never expected to learn so much on this Training before going. It was not only that I learned things about my surroundings, I learned so much about myself-in between the sharing of my own and listening to the others.
Together we reflected about the successes we made so far, which I had never thought of before- because, seriously: what should have been happened in one single month?! Well, lately it was more than I succeed in the whole summer before... On the other hand we also talked about the challenges we are facing and I think there is nothing more relieving than being among alot of people who go through the same as you do.
So the days passed by really fast, with bonfires by the Black Sea in the evening and swimming in it meanwhile the sun was rising behind me, with all different kind of workshops and presentations during the day realized by our Trainers Hranusch from Armenia and Nurana from Azerbaijan and obviously with getting to know eachother better and better. And faster than expected we came to the last day, which we spent in Batumi, the georgian Miami, which streets looked like a set of a Hollywoodmovie or at least like the background of a virtual life-simulating Video Game ("Actually...I don't feel like that's a real city!"-Duba in Batumi). So, it was everything but not real Georgia. The best part of the day took place in the evening and Pierre and I were looking for it since the arrival: a Supra! So our Arrival Training ended with a lot of good food and wine, with a lot of toasts and the atmosphere Good Byes use to carry. But not for ever, because we will meet again. Maybe not all of us, maybe not tomorrow, but it I'm sure we will.
"Once upon a time a prince was sent by his father to the foreign to "build castles". So he went away for many, many years, building a lot of castles in a lot of countries. When he came back, telling his father about his achievements, this one was disappointed. "My son", he said, "I didn't expect you to build castles of stone. I expected you to find friends you can go to- because this kind of castles are the most beautiful ones!"-Tale, told by Richard from the Netherlands