Well I knew it and I know that packing clothes is so fucking difficult, for me even more, but who knew that packing memories could be that overwhelming; Let me tell you what I am writing about! I spent 52 days in Novi Sad, actually less but let´s keep some secrets, it is healthy for everyone, plus there is nothing interesting to tell, that you might be interested to know I mean, so I was volunteering in this cool NGO called OPENS, the space there is so welcoming so everything becomes easier, and 70% of the staff is just amazing, and the boss I cannot talk about him without sounding crazy (hahaha) because of the image of boss we have everywhere.
But Vukašin is a great boss, better than I thought mostly because of his attitude and his touch and treat to every situation other than that he gifted me these amazing gifts, chosen so carefully and so meaningful that made my day so my respect, love and appreciation for him is out of the charts. And for everyone who met me, even once, they know: “I love gifts and I ask for them, all the time!”
So I was volunteering in Novi Sad through the project WB6 Maxi, this great initiative taken by RYCO that is alike with Erasmus+ short term volunteering just cozier, because as Balkan people we know how things work in our region!
I like to call my volunteering my “Novi Sad Experience”, in my laptop there is a folder named: “Novi Sad Project”, and in my soul & mind there is another pack called “Memories”.
I mean not everything was great, I hated the home I was living in for example but home isn´t the building you live in but the places where you feel you can be yourself at the fullest, and Novi Sad gave me that feeling, that spark when you feel like you belong, Sremski Karlovci as well, and most of the people who work at OPENS as well from time to time.
Of course you cannot feel that you belong or are part of all the time, there are things that make the sparkle fade a bit somehow, like: Like when your coworkers speak Serbian all the time in front of you or in Viber groups, like a bad coordinator who doesn´t know the job, like I mentioned above a bad home that lacks a lot but I will not go into details, some disrespectful behavior towards you from coworkers, buses, and taxi drivers who scam you, that last remark is alike everywhere!
I would like to focus on the good memories though, they are a lot actually, some really unexpected, for example: Who knew Vuk could write sweet things and give small cute gifts, he was my secret friend during a game that was never fully disclosed I think, for you that don´t know Vuk I don´t know if It would be wise to recommend him, (he was a participant from Montenegro in our exchange “Opening the doors”).
Another unexpected gift is that I got some small gifts from the place I did some physiotherapy sessions, I really liked that, not more than the service though.
Now let´s go to the highlights of my memories, that was so difficult to go through and pack them, even though there were only pictures, leaflets, books or notes!
Serbian National Theatre has been definitely my place of love, it is warm, the shows are great, Nikoleta one of my favorite people lately was with me to see “The Nutcraker”, some Portuguese friends were with me at the “Novosadski Jazz Festival”, and my date was with me at “Novosadski Tango Quintet” oh that show left a mark in every bit of my human being, oh I really wish to see them in international scenes, they replied twice to my post for them, man that was so fucking special, I loved them and their art, oh I am speechless, and who me! That good was their performance.
For the forth show I don´t have good things to say and as my mother says if you don´t have any good thing to say, keep your mouth shut, so I am keeping my writing board closed.
Bermet Villa and Sremski is another highlight, lovely place, cozy, cheap, I had sweet wine and a great meal, great museum collection, great hospitality and really nearby from Novi Sad so everything went really as I wanted, it gave me the push I needed to finish all I had started.
My final evaluation was definitely a big highlight, in front of the Danube in a place full of boats, the day was super sunny and the owner of the place reminded me a dear person that isn´t with us anymore, so charming. So we talked about my experience, the mistakes we did, things that went south, beautiful events, things we would like to change, Vojislav gave me seeds, he really wants me to learn to plant a real future with plants.
Human Rights Day, the day I met Dexi a dear friend of mine and a person I recommended as a guest speaker that is an achievement, the event itself was great as well, the essay contest as well went really good and the cocktail was great.
Marine my flat-mate is another big highlight, I loved our long conversations, the liberty of talking freely and scolding each-other, the freedom to kid around about each-others health or habits, her advice is really great and she is an amazing listener, full of great stories, experiences and an amazing human being, French jewel thank you for enriching my Novi Sad experience!
Man, see I have a lot of great memories, I cannot unpack all of them here, in this short article, it would take a lot, and I do want to be read by lots of people so I will cut it here.
Packing memories is too difficult, first because it means you are saying “See you soon or Goodbye to an experience and a country at the same time”, but you know that an experience is full of ups and downs, full of beautiful people that made your life easier, happier and greater and less beautiful people who got on your nerves, made you angry, and made you reflect. But everyone teaches you a lesson even if that lesson is that :“Never to become like him or her.”
I packed memories, lots of them, loved Vojvodina region, some of the people I met, I worked with I want them to be part of my journey for a long time, some others I’m glad I will not see them anymore. Truth be told, packing memories is challenging but unpacking them is unbearable so I am going to wait to unpack them, I will wait till I become an old handsome grandpa and unpack them in a fun way, hoping I will be remembering all about this journey till then!
Use your time wisely, create memories, lots of them, and then pack them, it is all you can do, that is your power that no one can rob you of. Pack memories, enrich your life!
P.s: Follow me at @adriinnovi