It was 2016 and I was in the UK on the last day of the best Erasmus+ project I ever took part to. It had been a deep, inspiring and amazing week of activities for all of us, 30 strangers of different backgrounds and nationalities, that in a handful of days had become friends, listeners, motivators, family: I’ve never met any of them ever again, but I still remember each face with fondness and care.
Alas, it was time to bid farewell, life was calling us back. While we were saying goodbyes, feeling all a little sad, our trainer told us: “While I was watching you during the week, I was thinking that there is nothing like this. Projects like this, encounters like this are not easy to organize, but surely they are powerful, enriching, and beautiful.”
I have been living in Indonesia for two months now and these words are constantly popping into my mind. I am in an insanely beautiful island full of secret wonders: hidden temples, dazzling blue waves, and trees with long hanging roots suspended over running waters. There are cities buzzing with innovative ideas and creativity. There is the banjar and its people with whom I interact more and more as my knowledge of bahasa improves.
And then there are Cristina, Pagona, Adriano, and Abi: four people that I didn’t know before and now become a constant presence in each day of my life, my flatmates. Our meeting was born of random happenings, one tiny misplaced grain of dust would have tipped the scale in favour of other life plans and we would never have met. Many believe that the world is becoming increasingly smaller, but truly, it is as big as it was before and there would have been no chance of knowing each other faces without this project bringing us together.
When talking about Erasmus+ projects, many people I met feel uncomfortable about travelling and living with strangers. I understand that going to another country without knowing your companions might seem risky but for me, that I have travelled extensively through these projects, the gaining is 100% worth the bet. I have shared the house for two months with four truly amazing people and even though I am aware that after this project chances are high we will never meet again, I am happy to have had the opportunity to take a glimpse into their lives and for them to be a part of mine.
I am grateful as well for being part of Act Global. Interactions with the huge team of volunteers put me in my favourite state of mind: being aware that I have still a lot to learn. Ideas, stories, and skills are constantly exchanged and I try to absorb everything, like the metaphorical sponge. They are guiding us with professionalism and kindness and advice when sought is never denied.
I feel that this is a safe place to take challenges and explore longtime projects. It is a beautiful situation to find yourself in and I think we should experience it more often in our lives. The whole world is out there and my imagination is buzzing with possibilities and enthusiasm.
It is not always easy. I get nervous and angry and bored. Sometimes I feel sad and discouraged and all I do is sighing dramatic sighs while looking melancholic at the tropical rain. It doesn’t matter: suddenly the perfect joke is made at the perfect time and I shake with laughters. There is nothing like this.