It has been almost five months since I came to Lithuania, and there are already some topics I have been dealing with, the so called challenges that I am supposed to overcome. Some of them I am able to manage, other are a harder bone to bite, and others are just overwhelming.
At this point I have more aware of my surrounding, of the people that are around me either at work, in my living space, or maybe even traveling. I try to empathize more and more with their circumstances, their feelings and way of thinking and behaving. The cultural shock might be sometimes an issue, but as soon as we think about that precisely, that it’s a cultrural issue it is easier to find a solution for most of the problems.
In this time I had to learn how to create new abilities that I thought I would never have to develop. First of all is how to be a teacher. Or some sort of it. I was asked in the museum to teach english and/or polish. Since my colleague took the english lesson, I teach polish. It was, and it still is, a big process to know how to pass on the knowledge that I have about something, especially since my own polish is not the best. This process has been helpful with my own knowledge about polish language, and also to help grow my own skills teaching.
Speaking about languages, Lithuanian has also been, and still is, a challenge. This is one of the hardest ones. I feel that I make few steps forward, and then somewhow one day I feel pushed back again, to the starting point. I try to push myself because I know that overcoming this one issue, will make easier other concerns as well. A good factor of this is that I am not alone in this situation, and it is good to know that I push myself with other volunteers, that together we can learn and from each other.
Being able to speak, or at least try to, and understand Lithuanian is one of the best solutions for the possible misunderstandings and lack of communication in the workplace. Thankfully, I had no such problem in my own organization. Only some small, and rather funny, misunderstandings, but nothing serious. Somehow, even when my Lithuanian was completly void and seemed hopeless, I was able to have at least a small conection with people around me in the organization. That was one of the things that struck me in the beginnin, creating a safe space where I knew I was going to be just fine. Hopefully, my Lithuanian skills will become better and better.
I am aware that EVS, and learning processes take time and there upsides and downsides. There is one overwhelming challenge that I do not know what will be the outcome of it, and it is the sharing a bedroom. I am trying to learn to control all my emotions about this and it is my challenge at the moment.
Summarizing, EVS is opening up new abilities that I did not know I had, it is providing me with a brider view on the professional field that I am working at, and it is also making me grow as a friend, as a co-worker, as a flatmate, and any other role that I might be playing at this moment.