ESC during Covid

It’s been a long time since my last (actually first) article. I don’t know how the past months passed by so quickly. My biggest hope is to make the best of the remaining time I have left here. To not see the time passing and think that I could have done so much, but I haven’t.

ESC during covid

I feel grateful for the little things that can make my days better, like going for a walk, reading, drawing, paying attention to what is going on around me, seeing the sun shining after the rain or just take the U-Bahn and go to work. It’s good to be aware of these moments that help you get yourself back on track.

My tip for coping with stressful situations is to go to nature. I’m lucky to have a huge park just a couple of minutes away from my flat. To see flowers blooming or hear birds singing is soothing. It calms my nerves right away.

One more tip I have learned that is useful for me is to create a routine. Mine is yoga and meditation in the morning. Yoga can make you stronger and more flexible. It’s a great way to stay limber and energetic. You’ll also feel more focussed and alert and it can help you feel great and function better in your daily life. On the other hand, meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. In the evening, before I go sleep, I recap what happened during the day.

But in the pandemic, most of my days are the same so I don’t have much else to write about.

On-arrival training

What is it? ESC volunteers have both the right and the obligation to attend two training sessions and the participating organisations must ensure that their volunteers take part in the TEC (Training and Evaluation Cycle), which is considered an integral part of the ESC voluntary service.

The main objective of the on-arrival training is to introduce the volunteers to the host country, preparing them for the service period and the ESC experience. On-arrival training helps the volunteers adapt to cultural and personal challenges. It allows volunteers to get to know each other and to build a network.

So my on-arrival training was supposed to be in Bornheim, from 26th October to 1st November. I was looking forward to going for my first big trip and making some new friends or maybe meet volunteers volunteering in/near Düsseldorf. But due to the pandemic situation in Germany, we had it online via ZOOM and just from Monday to Friday. My trainers were Mai and Basha, they did their best to make those 5 days as entertaining as possible for us.

I was kind of sad we had to share this experience through a screen. And most of the participants knew each other because they were from the same organisation or same city. I envied them because I'm the only volunteer so sometimes I feel lonely. But on the other hand, some of the participants were not sure if it was a good idea to became a volunteer or they had problems with their organisations. And me? I feel like I won the jackpot. I really can't complain.

Christmas in Germany

I hoped I could spend or at least visit my family during the holidays. But unfortunately, it wasn't possible (due to quarantine rules in both the Czech Republic and Germany). So for the first time, I spent Christmas without them. I'm grateful that at least I could spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Vero, who also could not visit her family this year.

We had dinner together and then played games. I had the opportunity to enjoy typical German Christmas dishes and I made typical Czech potato salad. We also baked Christmas cookies and gingerbread in November.