Change and improve

(NB: With Enrica, we decided to keep the question for March, as it’ll be our last month, we will have lots to say!)

So, the first month of the year passed.

The month where we take new resolutions, when we decide to change things for the best whether it is to get healthier, to learn new things, to travel more, to be more in contact with our friends or to meet new people… Whatever you’ll choose, in the end, your only goal will be to be happier. For that no need to take lots of resolutions, otherwise we might lose our way and give it up all.

My only resolution for 2017 is to get more confident.

More confident in my abilities, in the skills I already have or currently learning about, in my qualities, be able to recognize my defaults and try to correct them. You might think that it’s easy to hold one resolution, but when you think about all the whereabouts it implied (way of being, acting and reacting…) it’s not. Lucky me, I have 365 days to improve! And it’s something you do your whole life! You begin by crawling, then walking on four and finally you stand up and run! That is the same idea.

But what would be the link with my volunteering…? Can you guess?

Well, volunteering is giving of your time, your abilities to help. You’re not Superman/woman so you won’t change the place where you’re doing your volunteering, but maybe you can add a little bit, something who was not here before, some new words in English, some helping hands for organic gardening, some games from your country… And now, let see the other way round…

What do you gain? It is incredible! Volunteering helps you gain new skills and knowledge. You meet new people and gain new friendships, you exchange recipes, you travel, you learn a bit (or a full) of a new language that you never though you could learn… It helps you realize that yes, you know that! And this! And you don’t know how to do that yet, but you will learn it in time and in the end you will BE ABLE to do it!

There is also tough time, when you’re thinking that you’re not good enough, when all the others are so much better than you and oh gosh what are you doing here? But then you remember: you have been selected! You had to send your motivation letter and your CV, passed two interviews… And in the end, they CHOOSED you! And then, you remember all the things you already did, all the skills you developed, all the knowledge you exchanged…

But maybe your problem is not the lack of self confidence, maybe it’s being anxious or wanting to change your way of living but not knowing how to do it…

Volunteering will help you. It’ll probably help you more than you help others.

And hopefully, in the end with this new skills and knowledge you gained, maybe volunteering will help you get a new job…? Nowadays – at least in France – it is really hard for the youth to find a job. When it’s the economic crisis, we don’t have the contacts or we are not the “golden-eggs goose” (for example: 5 years of experience in this specific area, having the knowledge of these programs, being bilingual Chinese and/or Dutch – sorry for those natives, it is not languages we really study at school in France – have your own car, have this specific diplomas… I suppose you get the idea…). It is really tough, it’s a “Come back when…”, “Thank you, but we prefer someone with…” or no answer at all. Well, volunteering will allow you to explore new things you didn’t think about before, gives you more perspective and it will help you gain an experience of working and living outside of your country (which is really praise by the recruiters!). And bonus point: it is a real confidence and motivational booster!

This month has also been a month of change in our volunteering project to Enrica and I. We finished teaching at school and the separation with our kids and our host family has been emotional, and then, a bit of stress because we didn’t know how it would work… But this new project is as amazing! We live with a host family who has an organic garden. Every day we’re working on it. We plant seeds here, take away the weeds there, water the plant, mix compost, create new support for the plant to grow better… A garden is alive and there is always something to do. When we stop, if not for a break, we’re cooking. We cut wood for the fire (and let me assure you that food cook on a firewood taste amazingly!), we cut vegetables, mix and reduce various spices and herbs in a mortar to create sauces, we go back in the garden to pick up some cucumbers, eggplants, limes… And we learn. I hope to be able to reproduce some of the cooking that I’m doing but, for the moment, I still need to perform my skills...

It’s been a very full and emotional month. We’ve been travelling (I’ll talk about it next time) we changed year and took new resolution, changed project and our way of life, and everyday we improve a bit more.

What can I say… Changing feels good!

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