Hey guys! I am Emre from Turkey and I’m 28 years old. Currently I’m volunteering in Mladinski center Velenje. I used to work as a social media context manager but I was ready for Slovenia! I am here to push myself out of my comfort zone.
Everything starts with “küçük” steps. That is my idea behind starting this club. I know it will get bigger and bigger. It will involve many things. I believe that we will grow together and evolve as people. I am aware at some point there might be failures. There is no shame in it. Moreover, if it will happen, I will learn a lot. What is shameful is not trying because of you might fail.
After three weeks away, I came back to Velenje, ready for the first meeting. We met in Emce Plac. Thank you to my friends who showed up. Also, thanks to members of the writing club who supported my idea. I prepared myself that I will be the only one there and drink two beers and go home. Yet, we were six people in the end. Like I said everything starts with small steps. First, we introduced ourselves. I explained why I am doing this. The idea behind doing it and etc.
We talked and compared the Slovenian and Turkish education system. There were not that many differences which surprised me. Iconic story books that most of Slovenians read during their middle school. I have to say I don’t think it is okay for kids to read those stories. But I am not the one who can judge or decide. So, let’s move on.
Writing club members encouraged our young friend to share his writing with us. We will try to help him write more and improve his writing skills. Of course, writing club has more things to offer than me about that.
When it comes to Slovenian last century history and literature of that era, I was surprised critics of Slovenian people. For sure there is suffering because of second world war and after it. In the era of Yugoslavia and the effects of communism. This suffering reflected on the literature with no doubt. What people do not like this suffering has no end both in good or bad way. When I ask Russian literature suffering, then beautiful expression appeared. Russian suffering is beautiful suffering not like Slovenian suffering.
When it comes to books one way or another the topic will lead to Harry Potter and Lord of the Ring series. I have not read Harry Potter but read Lord of the ring. And it brought us to movies and how good books are represented in movies and more discussion. Personally, the world created by Tolkien amazes me more than anything when it comes to fiction.
As last we decided to have another meeting next week. Since, we are new instead of reading a book we will discuss a topic. It is a flexible club. We do not need to stick certain rules as long as we do educational, improvement and quality talk such as books, psychology or sociology etc. Next week topic idea came from our youngest friend which is weirdest story ever. Every one of us has to talk about weirdest story. It can be personal experience, from a book or fictional story that we created it. I believe it will be fun and interesting. The one who participate it can get two free drinks as well. I give you side motivation. See you next week. Hope more people will be come. Read at least thirty minutes a day. Adijo.
I have to say it we had so much fun. During preparation process, we tried to do our best. For presentation, for food and more. Also, we could not do it without the help of Mladinski Center.
A day before Turkish Night, we decorated Emce Plac. Lots of flags, pictures of famous places in Turkey. We planned technical details before the day as well. For the food we ordered most of it from a Turkish store. We cooked the meals we could and the other food was ready. I have to tell the Rakia story. One of my volunteer friends came from Turkey that week. So, I asked her to bring Turkish Rakia. We could not meet in Ljubljana. So, me and my friend drove to Ormož from Velenje. We went and came back in the same day for one bottle of Turkish rakia. In the end we had everything ready for Turkish night.
We started with an introduction of ourselves. Then, of course Turkish video followed. It is a mix of famous places of Turkey and some traditions of Turkish people. As you can guess for Istanbul, we had a different introduction video because like we said that night, İstanbul is a mixing point of west and east and a capital of world.
We continued with the Turkey presentation. Famous, historical places, population and more. It was a really long presentation we had to remove many things. Turkey offers many things. Then, we presented ourselves. Who we are, what we did in the past, work, study etc.
After all these educational things we came to the fun part. We played a Kahoot quiz. Hard questions were prepared by us and we had a gift for the top three. A few magnets and Turkish cologne for the winner.
Last but not least we showed a Turkish dance. Not me and Seyithan, we do not know Turkish dance very well. Luckily our Turkish friends were there and they danced and after we joined them and had fun. The last part was the food of course. I have no words to describe it. I really missed Turkish food. I think everybody loved the food as well. Some food was really sweet for our Slovenian friends but we enjoyed it.
The night ended drinking Turkish Rakia. It is funny to see almost all Slovenians can drink şnaps. When it comes to Turkish rakia most of them could not drink it or did not like it. I had to drink most of it. Yeah, poor me. One point outside of the club I had a rakia glass with me and Turkish songs played at the club. I felt like I am in Turkey in my home city.
The night ended with us partying and saying goodbye to our friends at five. Thanks to everyone for making this night beautiful. Se vidimo, görüşmek üzere Slovenya ampak to je ne elveda.
What is happening?
It is perfectly natural for a person to have good and bad moments. Someone can have up and down moments. For me since I came here it was either very up moments or down moments. This week I felt indifferent but not because of work. The thing is nothing bad happened. I feel like I am in a routine or a comfort zone or I do not know maybe it’s because I cannot read these days. It makes me feel like I have no emotions left. It is not a bad thing by the way. As humans we have to embrace such variations and accept this part of life so that we can be thankful for our nice days. The reason why I am writing this is so that a person can look at the wider perspective of life and understand others. I know it sounds like a novel more than blog so let’s continue with what we did this week.
This week we did not have our mentor Ira due to covid but for Mladinski Center as a volunteer it wasn’t a big problem. Even though she is the first person we can talk to we also have a coordinator or plenty of other people we can talk to.
On Monday, Seyithan worked in Multimedia Center. He is learning graphic design and creating logos etc. He liked it. He told me that he is familiar with Illustrator and enjoys it. When he finished at Multimedia Center, I started at the afternoon center. We had a creative workshop with Sara. Everytime she has better and more interesting ideas. This week, from the cardboard of where we put eggs, she made a chicken. Since our colleague Ira was not with us Sara worked for four hours instead of two. I only see her on Mondays and she is our previous colleague. She always asks what happened, what is going on, what are we doing.
Besides Mondays being Mondays, one thing I do not like is that Restaurant Verdelj is closed, where we eat one meal there. So, Monday is mostly a survival day or the day the microwave works the most.
On Tuesday, Seyithan continued to learn graphic design. He has worked on something like this in Turkey. It seems so far it is a great experience for him. On Tuesday we usually have a cooking workshop but Ira was not there so we continued with making the chicken. Sara was with us two days in a row. It reminded me of the old days when we were working together. Sara continued the chicken workshop. I also played chess with the kids. At one point I was playing against three kids at once. I won but they liked losing. It motivated them. They asked me to play again tomorrow and to teach them.
On Wedensday, I did not have My Club because Ira was at home. So, no My Club for Wednesday and Thursday for me. Wednesday morning, I was with Udarnik group, we helped Udarnik to carry things from a house to another place.
When we put everything to the van, we were driving to where we will drop everything. Driver, me and Seyithan. He does not speak English we do not speak Slovenian. While I was sitting on the front next to the driver, I felt something in my back and it was old wine. (Ena vino prosim) He told us with body language to take and keep the wine. We were happy to, as you can see on Seyithan’s face.
Seyithan went to afternoon center when we finished. He made some drawings with kids. Kids love to draw with him and he is teaching them.
Since I was free on Thursday, I did some cleaning at home and Seyithan was in the afternoon center again. It was relaxed for the afternoon center. Also, I had my English and Slovenian classes and this is the progress I made. My teacher read a text slowly and I wrote what I heard and understood.
On Friday we did our weekly meeting with Melita and that was it.
On Fridays there is bean soup in the restaurant so I always go to the restaurant excited. The family who owns the restaurant know me. So, they always put a lot of bean soup for me. They gave me so much soup that I was full before the main dish and they had to take it away.
On Friday night me and Seyithan did not go out. Instead of going out we hung out on the rooftop. We drank and talked.
For Saturday we went to play billiard with friends a bit outside of Velenje. Playing billiard and drinking. I don’t know why but our friends were a bit drunk already and I was not drunk. It was nice to see our friends play better after the first drink. Afterwards, it was fun to look how they played but not as good as after the first drink because they got drunk.
After, we went to Max but did not stay long. There was a concert in The Red Hall so when it became crowded, we left. Did not stay long means we left around two thirty or three am. One lifesaving advice for Max. Do not go for just a drink. It will never be a one drink. I know they say that for everything but for Max it is different. I go to the toilet and there is a drink for me from somebody. It’s tricky to not drink. One drink, na zdravje. Then one more and more. If you like to drink and if you go to Max Club for one drink it is better to tell yourself the truth and realize that you will get drunk if you have crazy friends.
Sunday is usually a rest day. So, I was chilling and preparing my mind for next week. Now, that I am writing these sentences it is already better. I know these kinds of things can happen to anyone so it’s better to accept it.
In the end it is going well and I will come back for more fun stories.
A bo? Always bo!
Back on track
We have been sick for a while. First me then Seyithan. Both of us missed work a couple of times in the past few weeks. But finally, we were able to work again. We didn’t miss any work.
On Monday, there was a slight change in my schedule. I had a meeting with people who want to become a volunteer like me and Seyithan. Instead of multimedia lessons, I was with them, Seyithan and with my coordinator Melita. It was planned for around one hour but we were talking for more than two hours. It is great to see some people interested about becoming a volunteer. Melita gave them information in Slovenian about benefits, rules, rights etc. Me and my volunteer friend talked about what we do, how we feel and why we do this. I realized in that moment I am happy with my experience and after the meeting I am done for the day and Seyithan worked in the afternoon center.
In the afternoon center, they had a workshop for the upcoming Mother’s Day. With paper and some empty juice bottles, they made a vase and flower for mothers. The funny thing is that we celebrate Mother’s Day every second Sunday of May. It was strange and funny for me. I was thinking ‘’Why are we doing a few months before?’’, then somebody told me it is in a week. After, I realized Slovenia does not have Father’s Day but in Turkey we have it. One of my Slovenian friends still insist that Slovenia has it. On Google she showed me but nobody celebrates it. If nobody celebrates it what is the point of having it, so for me Slovenia does not have it. Also, we do not have a man’s day while Slovenia has it.
On Tuesday, I did something bad. I had to be in Multimedia Center by 9 o’clock. When I arrived there, it was already 10. I seriously do not know what happened or why I turned off my alarms but I still feel guilty and ashamed. Then, because of my mistake I only had a one-hour lesson. Still, I learned a lot. I tried to understand how graphic design works. In the end I found it fun and I have so much to learn but it was still interesting. Seyithan worked at the afternoon center and I know they did a cooking workshop with the kids. They cooked bread with cheese and salami in the oven.
Wednesday while Seyithan was in My Club, I was in the afternoon center. It is movie day so kids wanted to watch a scary movie. That does not mean we didn’t play anything else. Valerija, me and three or four kids played a memory game. Basically, you try to match pair of cards but they you can’t see the pictures. Therefore, you have to watch and try to memorize it very well. Again, kids are good at this game as well.
When movie time came, they wanted to watch scary movie. I watched with them one hour and then I left. When I got back it was almost the end of the movie and they were so scared when they saw me. ‘’Ohh Emre it is you, there is a stranger in the room’’ and they were checking with flashlight. Of course, there was no one there but it was funny.
Thursday was a bit relaxed. Seyithan was in My club again and I was in the afternoon like on Wednesday. We played some board games and Xbox and so on.
Friday, we had a task to help prepare an exhibition in Emce Plac. Me, Seyithan and the girl from Gallery – Nika, worked together. Actually, I realized me and Seyithan are such a good team. I am better at Math and calculating and always measuring with measuring tape to find the perfect point. Seyithan is better with hanging or detailed physical work, so he was doing the physical job. I liked Nika’s approach, she asked us our opinion instead of telling us do this or that, she wasn’t strict and gave us space for creativity.
After finishing the exhibition, there were pictures of our colleague in the exhibition. My mentor Špela asked me whose picture is best? Always Janko’s. I didn’t even check all the pictures but at work always say the director or manager is the best. Universal rule, haha!
Friday night, there was a techno party in eMCe Plac and an ex-Yugoslavian party at Max Club. We wanted to go to both and I was already sleepy at 8 pm. My friend Seyithan said ‘’No way it can’t happen’’. You can guess the rest. I was at Max till 4 in the morning. One advice if you plan on drinking with the locals. They drink crazy and you should never drink as them. So, always go slow and no šnops.
On Saturday, I wanted to relax and visit the lake with my friend. We had coffee and watched the lake. I was chilling outside. On Sunday, I had no energy. I stayed at home, watched some sports and Formula 1, of course. Then I realized that somehow another week has gone by quickly. Five months left guys. I will try to enjoy and work as much as I can. Moreover, I will accomplish my plans. Se vidimo…
How Do You Say it in Your Language?
Writing this blog, I realized that the weeks go by one after another. Compared to the previous weeks, this week was a bit special. Let’s take a closer look at it. Monday started as usual. I worked in Kuniginda Center while Seyithan worked in the afternoon center. Because we had to record an event with Žiga at 6 pm at Villa Bianca we had to go two hours earlier.
Me, Seyithan and Žiga record simultaneously in order to live stream. What I like about Žiga is that he always gives us space so you can do the way you want to; it is up to you set up the camera where you want etc. It was a big event on Monday. Tuesday was a bit more relaxed.
We had a meeting for the upcoming international meeting INEET and weekly meeting with our coordinator. For Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we had an international meeting from different nationalities with different participant. Also, we were given a task that when Žiga is not around to take a few pictures and videos. Wednesday started with welcoming other participants. Vojka who is our teacher and assistant to the director, gave a presentation about Mladinski Center Velenje. People expected that it will be short however, we all forgot how many facilities and different activities we have.
Afterwards, we visited some of the facilities and did a tour around Velenje with our tour guide Tina. It is interesting that I learned many things about Velenje that I did not know before We had a meeting in municipality about what Velenje Municipality does. Participant liked it very much activities of city that they ask question about what is the secret of your success, how to apply our local communities etc. instead of what you do.
Coffee break at the Emce Plac followed. Slovenian dinner and party at Emce again. I don’t want to bore anyone with details but one can see that we had a schedule full of activities.
Thursday started the introduction of National Youthwork Mama at Via Bianca. After, each group presented their organizations. Then lunch. I have to say it lunches food was perfect these three days. Tina, our tour guy, gave another tour only around in Tito Square. I walked in that square many times. I did not know that it had a such a history. Even this square a small amount took more than an hour to talk about it. I have to say it also Tina knows what she is doing when it comes to talk about Velenje.
At night of course it is party time but this time at Max Club with a DJ. Thanks to our director I had chance to watch the football game in there as well.
Friday was more relaxing but we had an important event. A workshop called How would you create a youth Center from zero. Tina led the workshop with Melita. (Yes, same Tina, local guide.) Me and my friend helped them. It took almost three hours. Participants divided into six groups and every group was given a different task such as: how to finance it, what groups to focus on, what sources are needed etc. I believe every participant learned many things from each different group and the debate about conclusions.
Last activity was to travel to the castle. Unfortunately, some of our friends had already left due to flights. With our tour guy we had a lot fun and learned a lot. Also, these people were really fun. You would have been surprised how many jokes we told each other. I have been at the castle many times but I saw new exhibitions. For example, why didn’t anyone tell me there is a second world war museum.
Middle of the week, unfortunately my friend got sick and missed a few days. On Saturday night we had a big concert at Tito Square. It was so cold that I could not feel my legs at some point. I think I also got sick there because I am still in pain writing these sentences but I will be okay in the end. Hope to have fun like this the next week. Görüşürüz.
Full of activities
At the beginning of this week, we were rested and ready to go but it wasn’t like we planned due to sickness. This week was a bit different than other weeks because of the school holidays. Therefore, we worked from 9 in the morning, till 2 in the afternoon for 5 days. We had a place for sports recreation, a range, or if some kids wanted to dance. Furthermore, we had music there all the time.
On Monday, it was time for a creative workshop. Our previous colleague Sara did the creative workshop. I was amazed by it because every time people think that it takes a lot of effort but it doesn’t and it is simple actually.
As you can see in this picture with a wooden board and a few tapes you can create beautiful and different colors of the background. Then, with a few brush movements, you can make a tree. Afterward, you can paint your tree with a beautiful background however you want. Obviously, to build something great, you don’t need to be talented or have a gift. The only thing you need is to be smart about it.
Another thing we had like I mentioned above is a sports and dance range. It’s basically a big space with a lot of things like small balls or other things. You can easily make a similar range and it is up to you to get creative or make a competition. Also, we had space for kids to dance to nice music. Sometimes when there was no one I played some Turkish music and had fun.
When it came to Tuesday, we had to divide our schedule. Our organization needed us to work at one of the Kons Module exhibitions. So, in the morning we were at the afternoon center, then Pekarna where the exhibition took place. In the morning our coordinator Ira decided to cook a meal for the cooking workshop. In my opinion, it is a burek but after, she convinced me it is not a burek. I forgot the name again but you can see in the picture. It is not burek, it is not a hot dog either. There is food between this. Yeah, I know it is interesting. As always, we cooked, ate together, and cleaned. It was very delicious.
In the afternoon I was at Pekarna. The exhibition topic is very interesting. Imagine one could hear when a spider builds a net. Furthermore, one could hear when the spider walked on a net, how it dances with water drops. Bet you could not imagine and I thought the same. Yet, it is really one artist with a vibration microphone who made it, recorded it. Also, he combined it with the sound someone makes when walking with GPS on the phone. I was responsible for opening the exhibition and welcoming the visitors. I have to confess that listening to spider sounds three hours in a row can be a bit creepy but it was quite good.
For Wednesday it was the same thing again, but my friend Seyithan got sick so he had to go home. By Thursday he was okay, but I was sick. We did not have Covid we tested, but our organization sent us home to rest and also make sure that we don’t spread it around. That is one of the things I like about my organization, they care about our health and also for them as well. They are tolerant and flexible.
When it was the last day of work, we both worked in the afternoon center and enjoyed the last day of work. On Saturday, my friend Seyithan helped Žiga film an event at Emce Plac while I was helping Udarnik to carry boxes to send to Ukraine. I personally enjoyed helping Udarnik and to help people in Ukraine who need it.
For the next week, we will have a different schedule for the last 3 days of the week. We will be participating at the international meeting of the project IN NEET. It will be full of different events but I am sure it will be interesting and a good experience. See you next week…
Busy but fun, as always
This week we had a schedule like any other week but we did get some extra work which was fun and educating. Therefore, this week was quite busy yet that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun.
I, Emre, worked in the afternoon center where we prepared some creative workshops such as making a pen rack from a cartoon coffee cup with ropes. Others were doing creative things with kids. I was also playing chess with some of the kids. They liked playing chess and I didn’t expect them to be good at it. One of the kids beat me very well.
On Tuesday I was in the afternoon center again but that day we had a different workshop. Besides creative things, which we help the kids with whenever they want, we also had a cooking workshop. With the workers of MC and with kids we cooked pasta with sauce. It was fun, we cooked together, we ate together and of course, cleaned together.
After work was done, our friends invited us to watch the handball Euro league game in the Red Hall. I had a lot of fun. We were at the VIP side in the first half but we felt we had to join where the ‘’strict’’ fans were. I go crazy when I watch the club that I support, which is Galatasaray. Because we were speaking English, Slovenian fans thought we came from Spain to support the away team. Therefore, they were sort of hesitant towards us. When we said that we are Turkish and are supporting Velenje, they were like ‘’ahh okay’’. I think this photo explains everything.
After winning the game we went to Max club, which is the famous club of Velenje, and celebrated at the club.
When it came to Wednesday, middle of the week, I was working in My club, which I like. We drank coffee and talked. Then I and my friend were given one extra and fun job, which was painting the walls of the eMCe club under the supervision of Mario. We learned and had fun. We did this for 3 days in the mornings. Thanks to Maruša, while we were painting, we drank coffee and listened to some music. On Friday we completed it and now it is ready for exhibitions.
After working on Wednesday morning, we had a konS event. February was the konS month, there were a lot of events going on. When we worked in Kunigunda Multimedia Center we learned how to record a video, use a camera, and so on. On Wednesday afternoon our job was to record simultaneously to live broadcast on MC’s social media accounts. The artist spoke in Slovenian. Therefore, we did not understand many things. Yet, practically working on what we learned is a good opportunity to get some experience. We prepared before the event, recorded during it, and put everything back after it was done. Working in the field is always educating and fun.
Thursday was more relaxed compared to the other days. My friend Seyithan worked at the afternoon center and did some sports activities with the kids. On Friday, we had a meeting with our coordinator and evaluated the week, and talked about next week. Also, she wants to make sure we are well and satisfied with our volunteering. It was a fun week in the end.
Finally, the weekend came and after the pandemic restrictions were removed, we wanted to party. Also, it was Pust festival week and we expected a big party. While my friend partied here in Velenje I traveled to Maribor where I have already been before. I missed the city and clubs. Saturday, we partied hard. On Sunday we rested and relaxed to prepare for the next week. It was a long week but fun in every way. Thanks to our colleagues, they always make it better.
Emre Edebali iz Turčije je v Mladinskem centru Velenje prostovoljec preko programa Evropska solidarnostna enota. Spremljajte njegove zapise, če tujina zamika tudi vas pa nas kontaktirajte: [email protected]