The air is flickering over the asphalt and it is boiling hot outside. Everything seems to slow down and laziness takes over the city as summer comes into Zagreb. Finally it’s here what I have been waiting for: the time of ice cream, parties outside and relaxing at the lake. But the beginning of summer also means the end of many things I have been doing and experiencing over one year. A chapter of my life called EVS comes to the final page before in September everything starts over again. But before I flip the last page of this chapter, I want to thumb through its pages again to look back on all the good and also the challenging experiences I made during the last ten months.
When I came to Zagreb in September the city with its blue trams and gray facades seemed somehow mysterious to me as if it was hiding something. Now I know my way through this urban jungle from Borongaj to Črnomerec and from Zapruđe to Dubrava. I know where to get the best beer, the cheapest coffee and the freshest fruits and vegetables. Week by week the city revealed more of its secrets to me. And behind the antique looking facades I found the most interesting places and events. I would have never attended a fractal drawing workshop, a boxing class or a symposium on the refugee crisis if it wasn’t for my EVS. And if it wasn’t for the amazing people I met during my time here. They are the ones that make me feel at home in this city. I will miss the chill out weekends on the couch, the cooking evenings, the talks and the travels with my flat mates. I will miss the parties and karaoke nights, hanging out having a beer and going for coffee with friends. These people were also the ones that helped me through a bit of a “winter time sadness” and helped me keep up my motivation at work. Which brings me to the question: What have I accomplished during this year of EVS? I chose this voluntary service after all to make some change. Well, there are my German students whom I taught for almost half a year now and who make it really easy to me to be a language teacher. And all the kids in the primary schools who were helping us in their school gardens and taught me some Croatian along the way. My volunteer work in a refugee camp comes to my mind and the hours I spent sorting donated clothes in Zagreb’s storehouses. The Croatian classes I took and the Certificate I got at the end.
To sum it up, I haven’t really changed the world but the world has definitely changed me. Maybe haven’t accomplished as much as I wanted to but I have made a lot more great experiences than I was ever hoping to make. It will be very hard for me to leave which proofs who much I enjoyed my time in Croatia. I can confidently finish the last page of my EVS and then it’s finally time to give in to the summer laziness.