I’m such a scaredy cat when it comes to doing things for the first time... So travelling alone wasn’t any different. I think I checked my bags about 6 times to see if it was the right weight and if I really had everything with me… I called all my friends asking if one of them could pretty please drive me to the airport –because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to figure out how airports work… - in the end my lovely grandparents agreed they would go through my stress journey with me, theydrove me to the airport and sent me off with love and kisses. And I have to admit… It wasn’t all that hard, figuring out an airport.. I arrived on time, found the right crowd and after a 6 hour trip I arrived at Mollina’s youth center. A bit sleep deprived I met the rest of the group and we did a few icebreakers to start the course. Want to know what my welcome present was? A ukulele – and I’m not kidding you. During one of the introduction games the question rose what other people wanted to learn from me… Apparently I’m supposed to be an expert at body language… Granted, I know a thing or two but didn’t expect the coaches to give me some time in the following days to do my own little course. I gladly accepted though and I will of course not forget about you, my dear readers and tell you all about it.
If You Don’t Fight Today, You Will Cry Tomorrow
I have already learned more from this course than I could imagine. Although it is pretty tiring, I’d say. Since the days last 10 hours, I’ll just talk about the highlights, so that I don’t bore you guys. We did a teambuilding exercise called ‘social dream’. For those who are not familiar with it, they scatter the group around the room not facing each other and give them a topic. The idea is to randomly say (if you feel like it) what you would like to say. Sounds a bit weird, doesn’t it? Well, that’s what I thought. I hate those moments where you have to talk without an actual purpose, it feels awkward! But it turned out to be pretty interesting. It evolved into a conversation and the anonymity of it made that everyone was really honest. So, note to future me: implement this in mentoring students at our education center! Second thing was the Inspirational Night. The idea was that everyone brought something that inspired them and could inspire others. My input was the speech ‘Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen’ and one of my latest birthday presents. Curious about which present I brought? Well, a friend of mine wrote me a book… No joke. He wrote me a full 60 page story that implemented different characters who (for him) represented a part of my personality. If that’s not inspiring… Anyway, the rest of the group had some pretty interesting stories to tell too. My mind is running in overdrive to process all of them right now and the night ended (surprise surprise) with me discussing with one of the coaches about her visions on life. I didn’t expect that this experience would broaden my view on life and I’m so happy that I decided to take my first trip alone coming here!
On Your Own But Not Alone
It’s been a long and intense day today. Since the course is about self-directed learning, we got 24 hours off… Well, not exactly ‘off’. The idea is that we all had to find a question that was on our mind (related to being a mentor for volunteers, but also to yourself personally) and just go out and investigate it. I chose to try and answer the following question: ‘What influences people’s feeling of security/safety? And how can you use it?’ Why? I realized that in some situations I can feel perfectly comfortable and in others (even though it’s the same environment and people) I will shut down. Looking into this wasn’t like a school assignment, you don’t run to your laptop and write an essay. No, I had 24 hours to spend in my mind and talking to other people. This made me realize that it has been such a long time since I spent that much time simply thinking and it’s not a bad thing to do so, but – like I said – it’s pretty exhausting. In the evening we joined in a ‘ community circle’ to talk about the day and ended our night drinking a beer in town. There are some interesting people here, I’d say!
Written by Ayke Gubbels in Mollina, Spain