I´m going to tell you about a trip that was beyond what I ever thought it would be. I was somewhat familiar with StepEurope when a friend and member of StepEurope gave me a small poke on facebook and wrote to me, more or less.. “hey Robin.. there is this an 8-day long course about the refugee crisis in England, try it out!”. The theme of the course was very interesting and ALSO, I found out most of the travel expenses would be compensated for and that the lodging and the meals were taken care of. After getting this info, I was like.. “holy *beep*, this trip is happening!” At the moment I wasn´t aware but I can tell you that this course was happening within the frames of Erasmus+ ..which more or less funded the whole project/course to my knowledge.
Fast forward again and we arrive at the wonderful Asha centre in Gloucester (England). During our stay, we got to know people from Denmark, France, Germany, UK, USA, Italy and the Netherlands. It´s very hard to describe how you get to bond so well with so many people in only about 8 days. Something wise I picked up during our stay there was: the more we open up and share… the more likely we make stronger connections with each other. It went more or less like that. In a super tight nutshell of all the things we did there: icebreaking games (a lot of them.. and they were FUN!), teamwork games, all kinds of workshops (also relating to the refugee crisis), LSD (not the drug but.. Listen, Summarize, Discuss), volleyball, shopping, beer drinking, visiting a church that has something to do with Harry Potter, visit from Baroness Janet Royall, two evenings of campfires, social dancing lesson, singing lesson, we had as a participant a fantastic person who told us about his struggles when he as a refugee made his way through the Balkans and all to the UK, two mornings of swimming in a holy ancient pool of spring water.
Ok, let´s continue: pub visit (EPIC, lot´s of beer, funny pictures, other beverages and socializing), international food tasting (Finland offered.. salmiakki candy.. mmmmmm..), card games, learning about the FANTASTIC Asha centre and getting to know the volunteers who work there (they rule #xoxo), we ate a massive amount of delicious dishes of all kinds. Blew my mind really. And one more thing relating to food, don´t put pineapple on your pizza. If an Italian saw you eating pizza with pineapple on it, you could choke her or him to death. It´s true. Two things that I saved to the end of this blog post of mine are the two visits we did. One to Garage and the other one to Grange Village. In Garage (asylum and refugee centre) we got to hear how their organisation works and a lot about how the system works in the UK and misc. info relating to asylum seekers and refugees. Then we have Grange Village, I would describe it as a very warm place, you really felt welcomed there. Grange Village is a home for people with special needs and they produce a lot as well. It´s seemed pretty much self-reliant. What impressed me was the ceramics and the handicrafts they created and also sold.
Now to round this up and finish. I´m gonna miss the place and everything I experienced there during those 8 days. Besides learning about the refugee crisis in different ways, we, the participants also bonded and learned from each other. Whatever that was. For me, it was an opportunity to soul search as I´m sure it was for the rest as well. I´m not gonna miss the passport checking douche in Riga airport on my way home to Turku but I have plenty of happy memories, drive and energy. All of which I picked up because I choose to participate in this course.
Not to be a salesman… KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN ON WHAT STEPEUROPE HAS TO OFFER OK!?? GOOD!
Robin #Hugs #OnlyNeed5minToPack #Kidding #LoL