Hi there! My name is Elysa Lyon (yes, my last name is Lyon, such as one of the largest cities in France) and I am 21 years old. As you might have guessed, I am from France and I just arrived in Plovdiv, Bulgaria for a couple of days now. But what brings me to this place? In order to understand me better, I am going to tell you a little bit more about myself.
I was born in Nevers… Ne…what? never? No NEVERS!
Well, Nevers is a small town of the famous “diagonal emptiness” in France. In others words, I was born and grew up in this collection of towns where LITERALLY nothing happens. But the worst of it is that I am not really from Nevers, I am from… LA FERMETE! There are 600 people there, 590 of which are over 60 years old. Cows outnumber men and the trees of the forest outnumber the houses.
Now you can have an idea of what were the reasons for my departure! I wanted so much to live abroad for a long time, to be able to discover new cultures, new habits, to start living a new life, it is what I have always dreamed of! That is why, after obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Marketing & Buisness, I decided to look into the possibility of going abroad within the European Union. I did some research on the European Solidarity Corps website for opportunities. Then I applied for some volunteer assignments in ‘popular’ and nearby European countries like Italy and Spain. But one day, Smokynia Foundation sent me an email, I discovered the association then researched about it. I was particularly attracted by the project because of the freedom it gives the volunteers in their everyday work and besides because we learn through practice. And in general, I have always been very interested in projects that require the involvement of everyone and a wide range of skills in a common goal for the vision of the Smokinya Foundation “to contribute in creating a world that works for everyone”. That is why I applied. Then I took the plane to Plovdiv.
In spite of all the different possibilities, Bulgaria was for me the most interesting challenge, and it was the country that pushed me all the more out of my comfort zone. And that is why it was so tempting for me to go there to reach myself beyond my limits. Since I have been here (5 days), I have been so lost, as far, my English isn’t really good. Only a few people here speak English and we do not share the same alphabet. But I am so grateful for being here right now! Moreover, every single person or stranger that I have met has done everything in their power to help me. It makes me feel that I have chosen to do the right thing. This is the start of a new adventure and I cannot wait to grow in this country and this organisation.