Reflecting on these past 7 months is not an easy task… They encapsulated so much! Even though I had already been abroad for an Erasmus experience, volunteering in Italy proved to be more challenging than I ever could imagine. Very growth-inducing as well.
As for working with disabled people, there were a lot of beautiful and relaxing moments. Our activities were mostly artistic or tasks of daily living. I was forced to settle down. To understand that going shopping or watering the plants in the garden is something very productive.
However, I also had to work on my patience and acceptance. I learned to accept that some “limitations” are not changeable, and instead should be seen with good humour and valued in their uniqueness. That “normality” is something very relative. That goodbyes come in a lot of different forms.
Growth also came in the form of creating relationships in a different language, while trying to balance it with the ones I had left home. Security started appearing in hugs I hadn’t met yet and I’ll be forever grateful for that.
So, through challenges, errors and wins, heartbreak and joy, I can say I’m returning with beautiful memories (even if some are sad), a lot of lessons learned and a sense of empowerment. I have no idea of what the future holds for me, but I’m not so afraid anymore. I can just go outside and water the garden and feel like I’m changing the world for better.