Volunteer's Blog

Feathers: Gliding Softly into a New Life.

Volunteer's Blog

Bali, Indonesia, November 2018 (Sofia Peresani)

I am in Indonesia. Am I?

Not quite sure to be honest. These past days have been blurredly fast-moving: looking at my room and choosing clothes and things to carry with me; grabbing them one by one and putting them neatly inside my suitcase; saying goodbye to friends and family. Then, taking that plane, from Milan to Doha and then from Doha to Denpasar; landing; stepping out of the cabin and being engulfed by the warm blanket of an unknown weather.

And new city new buildings new streets new shops new smells new sounds new food new currency new words new house new room new bed new habits new timetables new roommates new coworkers new people.

Am I really here, surrounded by all of this? Logic states that yes, indeed here I am, I am consciously aware the pressure of this new floor against my feet. Emotions, on the other side, struggle to pull themselves together. One of the other EVS volunteers told me that she doesn’t know where to feel right now, that she perceives herself on neither side of the border. I understand what she means. I am a construction of feathers somewhere up high in the atmosphere, tied down to the ground only by weak threads of silk. It’s an overwhelming condition, a feeling of floating inconsistency. I am not in Italy anymore, this is clear, but neither I am in Indonesia: the streets are full of unheard words, in the market are displayed untasted vegetables and it’s awkward walking among unvisited buildings without knowing how and where to.

I want to jump straight out of this awkwardness, I wish to enter as quickly as possible the comforting rhythm of routine: give me work to do, give me activities and schedules, a steely handrail to guide me in this unknown environment. Enough drifting around, let’s dive right into it!

I know, however, that trying to hurry things up is a waste of energy. New places are disclosed softly: day by day everything will become more familiar, the words will make more and more sense, experience will knit herself into buildings and streets. If you try to swat a floating feather down toward the ground, it will swirl higher in another direction. It’s maddening, but there’s nothing to do about it, other than to sigh dramatically in defeat, pull out a chair and sit patiently under the soft winds of Bali watching feathers gliding down at their own pace.

 

Sofia – EVS volunteer from Italy