I still can’t believe how fast time passes here: I’m already in my sixth month in Denmark, and (as per cliché) it feels like I arrived yesterday!
No doubt it’s also because by now I’ve gotten into the routine of Kulturfabrikken, where every day is different and activities to organize spring up like mushrooms (and grow like preteens). Which is a giant blessing, but lately no longer allows me the luxury of stopping to reflect on the cool experience I’m having.
By now I’ve lost count of how many workshops I’ve helped organize and participated in: from the Christmas season with the photography workshop, to the winter holidays where we decorated second hand clothes with fabric paints, to all the concerts for which I’m now the official ph and social media manager, to the event where with skateboarders we created a bench from old skateboards (my favorite so far), to the graffiti workshop for the Danish Royal Run, to the art class with the younger kids where we create something using only nature objects found in the woods or in the garden. .. And I can’t wait to see what’s waiting for me from now on, but definitely one of the priorities will be to organize the next movie night with skateboarders (to resume a tradition started by former volunteers).
One thing that I never take for granted is the way my colleagues relate to me and ESC volunteers in general: I was prepared for a more or less cold welcome, typical of people living in Northern Europe, and instead I found a family, always ready to lend a hand, sometimes without even having to ask for it, and gives positive energy and warmth making work even more enjoyable than it already is. My mentor Guna in particular is a special girl (she had been a volunteer here too, six years ago!).I got along divinely with her right from the start, and sometimes we almost have to force ourselves to keep it professional, because we are really good together and risk showing each other more as friends than colleagues.
With skaters and scooter riders, however, the relationship is not always easy: I arrived at a time when older guys who come to Kulturfabrikken are not exactly available for new knowledge and tend to be alone among themselves, But I feel like it’s gonna get better little by little. I knew it would be difficult to get to the heart of the Danish boys, but I am not intimidated: in the end I am also here to create new human relationships, and skaters are a category that I have always admired and certainly will not miss this opportunity. Sometimes some of them help me with the skate, and in those days the adrenaline is through the roof: although slowly, I’m getting better at being on the board! With others, then, we shared the idea and the desire to organize a particular event in the summer, for which I am already very excited but for now I do not spoiler.
Soon there will also be the new volunteer with whom I will share workshops, shifts at the bar of the skate room, and home: I heard her on video call and it seems to me a really good girl and full of energy, with whom I already know that I will create wonderful memories. She seems to have a great desire to bring news to Kulturfabrikken, and after these months in which I have sometimes felt my head too full to have a clear idea of what I would like to give this place, I think it will be good to have someone like her by my side.
Meanwhile, I am continuing to study Danish at school, but even though I did linguistics, pronunciation makes me damned: it takes something from German, French and English, but Danish has completely different grammatical rules (if and when they are respected…. how many exceptions. I admit that is a bit of a mess). Here too, however, there is the positive aspect: my companions are really beautiful people, who come from a lot of different places in the world, with super interesting past and very different reasons to be in Denmark. Many do not speak English, yet the vibe that unites us when we exercise together does not even notice certain cultural differences, and indeed I learned to see it as an opportunity to discover that, despite the first impressions, some "barriers" can be overcome!
Predictably, my English also had a pretty good boost. If at first I felt hesitant, insecure in pronunciation, and not very fluent in vocabulary, now I think I could give a lecture without even worrying about looking bad. And of course this is also thanks to my new self-esteem, which in the project has made huge progress. I don’t know if when I return to Italy everything will be like before, but I hope that this new awareness of me will not be lost somewhere like a suitcase in the Ryanair hold.
Do you remember that in my pre-departure blog I confessed the desire to continue doing dance lessons here? Well, I did it: I managed to enroll in a course even though it was already half a school year, and I feel really grateful for the opportunity to continue training again. Plus, my teacher is teaching in Danish and I get to practice the language there as well - even though Cecilie is a lovely girl, and sometimes she translates the jokes that other girls do to me just so I don’t feel left out.
Recently some Italian friends came to see me: needless to say, everyone fell in love with this reality that for me has become everyday life (besides, we are friends also because we share the passion for everything I do in Denmark). One thing that made me genuinely happy was knowing from them that you can feel how happy I am here!
As I think you understand, I don’t have much free time between all these commitments, but when I find it I like to go to the library and play board games, discover secret places of Nykøbing together with those who live there, read books in my huge and bright bedroom, cycle through the inhabited districts and in the silence of the forest, take a trip to the shops of used to find some bargain, try all the pizzas margherita of the various restaurants and elect the best, take a train and see the most important cities of Denmark - and thanks to the wonderful group of volunteers I met at the training I have already had the opportunity to visit the North of Jutland and some cities like Næstved and Roskilde (and of course the related skate park haha), and now I’m at home in Copenhagen! The only thing I miss I think is the cinema, now I make a mental note to remember to go at least once before September.
What can I say, I think it’s understood that I could write an encyclopedia about how exciting this project is. If you want to deepen my adventure (listening to you even more details), once a month I also update the official blog ESC of Kulturfabrikken: so, in case you know where to look :)