The EYE from the eye of JuraIvana
The event in Varaždin really felt like the pupil of my volunteering eye so far. Luckily, my blinking xmas hat was with me. I bet it wouldn’t be the same without her. She was blinking vibes everywhere, the whole time, for two days straight. I knew it was about to flow well since the very beginning. I could feel it! The mood was all around even before we go there. The road itself was moody! In the good way, mean. I was even lucky enough to grab the Black Friday offer of a lifetime. Not my lifetime, though, but still, I bombed Marija’s head about it. Indeed, “The Eye” was exactly that good as I expected. Neither more, neither less. Right in the bullsEYE.
The event was based in a nice communistic looking-like, from outside, building, but; actually, quite wide and opened once you go in. The locals call it, “The arena”, I suppose. Although, the impressive, was the view in front of it. Lovely river crossing peaceful, green area, full of trees and, right next to the river, two, three little, wooden houses. The day was sunny, almost warm and very calm, so the panorama fitted well as duck.
We entered in “The Arena” to leave our jackets and grab a cup of coffee. From the first step I made inside, the youth spirit punched me right in the face so hard, that a smile popped on it from ear to ear. It was full of people bouncing around, laughing, drinking coffee or some other stuff and communicating in person with each other. I felt like a student in his first day at university.
We took our cups and went outside to drink the coffees out of them. Sat on the sofas in front. No wind. Just sun, blue sky and good vibes. Marija was checking the daily program; I was watching the people and just chilling. It was so good to be around so much teen spirit again. I know even a full month haven’t past since I came, but the loneliness in Zabok was, already, pulling me down, so this whole thing felt like resurrection.
Half an hour later the cups was empty and the time for our first EYEctivity had come. The theme was “Effective Housing Policies for Young People – Wishful Thinking?”. If you ask me why all of the words are starting with big letter, I don’t know. If you ask me what does “Wishful Thinking” means, you’re gonna get the same answer. But, besides all the questions without answers, the panel was, indeed, a good opening, I would say. I’m skipping the specifics of what the guys with the microphones on the stage were talking about, ‘cause it was, mostly, all the same. A lot of complaining from three dudes from different countries with, pretty much, identical problems and reasons why, at the age of thirty something, they are still living in their parents homes and some promises, from a local politician, that the things will, eventually, be fixed. Don’t think that I am mocking only at another countries. One of the three dudes complaining was a Bulgarian law student.
The panel was around two hours long, so, after it, we still had time for a fast coffee before lunch. We ate lunch in the inside sport playground so the feeling was like something between school and prison lunchtime. I loved it!
There was a lot of free time left until the next activity, but, gladly, there were also a lot of things to do in it. There was this table with some plastic cups and ping-pong balls, right next to the reception, like for a beer-pong, but, instead of beer, inside the cups were pasted some little peaces of paper. The game was, in fact, a EU-pong, if I can call it this way. The same as beer-pong, but when you put the ball in the cup, your opponent does not drink beer, but reading out loud the question, about the EU, written on the paper in the cup. A question that you have to answer to. Odd game, by my opinion, but I learned some things about the EU, realized how less I know about it and how good I am in throwing balls in cups. Time past and we went for the last activity for the day. It was not important, neighter interesting, for me, so i won’t tell you about it, but i will tell you about the performance that i watched after that.. Both, a good and the worst thing in the “art culture” these days is that literally everything is considered either “art” or “performance”, doesn’t matter if it’s meaningless or stupid, or whatever it actually is. Even a dead fly on a car’s front window is called “art” nowdays. The same case here with that. It was some sort of mix between contemporary dancing, mimic and unbelievably bad used elements of stand-up, all together mashed up, like potatoes, by one bold guy, not one by one, but all together, at the same time. But, I must be honest, it was quite entertaining. There, at this performance, after all activities, I met my first Croatian friends, except Marija, of course. Two girls, Bruna and Anita, students in Varaždin and their friends, who, after that became my friends as well, Sara and Stiven. Very cool people, they made me really good impression and, even, almost petted me, by buying me a drink. We played billiard and drank some more. In that one night, I became native. On the next day, everybody there knew who I am, even the bartender lady, who’s the most important person, you know. I think it was because of my hat.
The Eye part two
The whole event was in two days, so it shall be “The Eyes”, I guess. Anyway. The second day started more comfortable and less enthusiastic, because the slight form of a …headache I had. We went directly at the first activity this time. Something like “TikTok as Your Future CV.”, led by some blond Croatian dude, a “tiktoker”, apparently. Yes, I was surprised too, that this is considered a job. But, as it seems, it is… And a not bad payed one, by his words. I’ll save my real opinion about it, probably, you already presume what it is anyway.
I was more excited about the dance workshop after it. A bit wierd, like a living cartoon, contemporary dancer lady, from Poland, was leading it. Surprisingly, I wasn’t the only guy there, like at the bold’s dude performance, twenty something girls and me. At this workshop, there were between ten and fifteen girls, me and two, three more dudes. So I didn’t felt so special anymore. This was the first contemporary style workshop that I’ve been at. Before it started, I didn’t knew it’s going to be contemporary dancing. But it was, actually, kind of fun. I even met one girl there.
After the workshop and the break we had this activity about “Active Youths” or something like that. The group was filled with, maybe, thirteen, fifteen people. Three, four Croatian guys, a boy from Serbia, Romanian girl, two Spanish dudes, for which I wasn’t sure if they knew exactly where they are, Marija and me. And the moderator and the event volunteers, of course. The point of this gathering, apparently, was to complain about our countries, while looking at meaningless, but colorful diagram on the screen. I was pretty close to leave, but instead, I decided to say something about the whole thing. For my grand surprise, they actually heard me. For some reason, everybody seemed to be quite interested in what I’m saying or the way I’m saying it, so I kept talking. I don’t remember, precisely, what I’ve said, but I remember that I talked a lot and, I don’t know why, they listened through my whole speech. Some of them even asked me questions and came to interact with me after gathering ended. One of them was the Romanian girl. She appeared to be working for the Romanian national agency. Said that she’ve enjoyed my loudly, mocking talking and wanna do some cooperation things in future, so I gave here my facebook and she added me.
After everything ended, there was a big party. Burak was playing. It was a hard, fat boom-boom, indeed! I can say only good this about it, but it’s a story for another time.
The point of this tale, kids, is:
Never miss a chance to go to such an events and NEVER be afraid to raise your voice, when you disagree with something, because, if you don’t, you won’t have connections in the Romanian national agency, but most importantly, for real, absolutely, for sure, get yourself a blinking xmas hat!
Autor: Yordan Andonov
Fotografije: Marija Gebert;@ep_interpreters