Here we go again. Happy me, on an airplane.
The last few years have been amazing. The last few months have been amazing. The last few weeks have been amazing. And so has the last few days and the last few hours.
On Thursday after school I took the bus to the airport and got on a plane for Berlin. First of all, Berlin Tegel is the biggest joke of all time. Bad service and nothing to do and long lines and haha just such a joke of an airport. I transferred there for my connecting Air Serbia flight to Belgrade. Recommendation: Air Serbia. Amazing service, great snacks, included in the cheap price. The stewards were funny, nice and really helpful. I had fallen asleep and when I woke up the table was out, with a sandwich and cookie on it. On my side someone had left a blanket and a pillow. So nice!
Teodora picked me up at the airport after a while and we spent the whole ride to the city just talking and laughing and hugging each other. Meeting her has made me believe in friendships on a distance, see this was already the fourth time we met and we’ve only known each other since February. Anyhow, she’s one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, together with Nataša, the other girl from the Serbian School-students union UNSS. I feel so welcome in their company and I absolutely enjoy every minute talking to them. They’ve thought me a whole lot about the lifestyle of organizing, as well as dealing with stress, school, work and family and friends at the same time. They’re just amazing people.
We spent the night at the UNSS office in Belgrade and the next morning me and a girl named Lara had a real adventure finding the rest of the group that were on their way to the General Assembly we were all attending. After like an hour of short busrides and long walks we found the bus and I got introduced to a bunch of local coordinators, team-members and other UNSS-actives. It’s definitely something with their culture that I really like. The openness and the wanting to get to know people and hear their stories is just amazing to me. I’m so blessed to have met different people from different nooks and crannies of the world.
The bus drove us from Belgrade out to a village called Kovin, where they had placed a sport-, course- and conferencecenter. Let me emphasise; this was in the middle of NOWHERE. But they had Wifi. I got a beautiful little room with a really cosy bed. I can’t get over how nice everyone has been to me this weekend so you’re going to hear it a couple of times. Random people just came up and talked to me, translated the Serbian for me and asked me about Finland and FSS. To make my role a bit clearer; UNSS had their General Assembly and had invited FSS and me to visit and share experiences and take part in the meeting.
The weekend was filled up the max with workshops, games, discussions, debates and working groups. It all culminated in the real meeting on Sunday. For these whole 3 days I almost always had a translator by my side, and if I didn’t someone immediately asked me if I needed a translation.
I definitely did. Serbian is a weird language. But I did manage to learn a few words, and also some history and culture. Such an amazing country! Beautiful views, beautiful scenery, beautiful music and beautiful people. And very interesting food. Most of the things I ate were things I’ve never tried before. The meeting and the discussions before it thought me a lot as well, and I can honestly say I’m even more inspired to go home and deal with everything FSS and the youth council are dealing with.
I also learned about what it’s like to live in a country with wars and conflicts in recent history, as well as corrupted politics and economical insecurity that is nowhere near Finland. Yesterday evening and today after noon Teodora took me out for sightseeing and traditional food and ice cream. What I love about her is that you can go from talking about the clothes in Zara’s window to feminism and organization work and then to a recent project and then suddenly religion and oh wait I have to get a picture of this and how does the Cyrillic alphabet work and corruption and then back to Zara’s window.
So by all matters, this was one of the most interesting trips I’ve been on in my whole life. And although I’m really tired right now, I absolutely needed this break from reality. Traveling is my way of pinching myself to make sure I’m alive. I love it. More than anything.
But also, for the first time in my life, flying home is not even a little bit anxious and depressing. Slowly but steadily I’m starting to see that the whole world is my home and that it’s just the people around me that make me feel like the place I sleep is my home for the upcoming night. And no, the feeling of having someone waiting for me at the airport is not something I can put words on.