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MY LAST DAYS IN LITHUANIA. FYCA volunteer shares her EVS story!

Having watched so many movies about summer camps, its cozy environment and adventurous time there; I have always been captured by the idea of experiencing it in my life. But when you live in a capital city the chances to take part in a summer camp are getting a little bit blur. When traveling to Lithuania-my EVS country I couldn't have imagined that my first very experience of a summer camp would occur in this place! And imagine how delighted I was when a local friend of mine called me and invited me to take part in a summer ''stovykla'' in the district of Šiaulai but somewhere far away from the centre, more precisely in the middle of nowhere. He warned me about all the challenges of the camp, for instance weather (it is never stable in this place) food, place and as I understood from his stories it was going to be exceptionally a survival camp. But I said to myself why not? If not now when?

In this photo you can see my lovely shelter, my mini luxurious apartment for one week. To be honest, before this camp I have never slept in a tent. I remember how carefully I was putting the sticks for the tent so that it wouldn't fall apart. Making a tent was our first task when we arrived, later on the very first day I got acquainted with the guys mostly teenagers who were speaking Lithuanian but, of course, language could not stop us to get along with one another. The atmosphere in the camp was excellent it had everything from mosquitoes to the dinner of "wonderful'' Koldunai which nobody ate. But it was just the beginning. I was quite surprised also because the music guys were really cool and provided us with the best sounds, when they put SOAD I was just mesmerized because they were Armenians.

My favorite mission in the camp was the one that we had to go into the woods, find a location and hide from the catchers. It wasn't that simple because we were with the team and it was wonderful to see how people behaved and supported one another with a repellent against mosquitoes, a piece of chocolate or just giving a cover to protect from the rain. We stayed 2 hours like that trying not to move but in the end we won. We survived it!

The following days our missions were getting harder and harder. I remember once it started to rain all of a sudden and with one girl we decided to go back to our tents. According to rules of the camp the ones who came earlier would have to wake up at 6 o'clock in the morning, so I was not surprised when the following day one of the volunteers entered to my tent and started to carry from my sleeping bag and wake me up. Before EVS I had never had such kind of experience, but after all it was funny. On the other hand, there were just days when I was lying down in my tent and enjoying the beautiful nature that was embracing us.

After harsh and complicated missions we were usually having party including Lithuanian traditional dances, music, games. One of my favorite moments there was when I was trying to dance with a local guy who was by the way a professional dancer and was teaching me the basic movements and of course supporting me not to give up.

Last day of the camp was followed by the official closing ceremony, there were screams of joy, delight, admiration and of course tears, because that one week we all became one family, no matter we lost or won awards. This camp was my last mission and probably my most unforgettable experience in my EVS.

When I returned back from the camp I slowly started to pack my things and prepare to go back to my country. I made new friends, new connections during my EVS and I hope to see them again. For me this EVS was a great experience with all its amazing ups and downs, discovering myself and probably I would never get acquainted with so many cultures, people and places if I preferred to stay in my comfort place!

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