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EYES to SEE

I will try to make a summary of this wonderful exchange, but since I am a very chaotic person, I'm afraid it will not be chronological.

I start with the beginning, since this is a feeling that I will never forget.

The Youth Exchange was organised by our Bulgarian hosts and Poland Lithuania, Republic of Moldova and Belgium were participating. It took place from 12 till 20 September 2015 in Vraca Bulgaria.

After a sleepless night I was ready to go. I really didn't know what to expect, so I took a look at the program a few days before the great adventure would start. I had a meeting with the Belgian participants before, but except for that, everything was very new to me. The trip by plane went very smoothly, and arriving felt like a relief. "Finally it will start", was the first thing I thought, very enthusiastic and excited as I was.

We had to travel by bus from Sofia, the capital city, to the Hashove hotel. I almost forgot to mention that I arrived one day late because of certain personal circumstances. That made of course that I missed the real start. The other participants told me they had a wonderful trip in Sofia, with some nice things to see.

The first day I participated myself, I just was lost in all what was new. I got some mobility training from Sylvie, who led the Belgian delegation during the entire camp. Furthermore, I discovered my room and unpacked everything, so actually the usual procedure at the beginning of such an event.

The first evening mainly consisted of chilling with as much people as
I could. I was having lots of interesting chats, together with a nice drink. I can say that the first evening was a great success.

I remember waking up the next morning, and after a few hours I slowly started to realize some things, with my hyperactivity and my lack of concentration. I figured out that Nik and Georgi where the guys responsible for organizing everything. The organization was splendid and I can use many words to describe it, but if I did that, this article would be way too long.

We visited a nice museum which introduced us more to the wonderful things Bulgaria has to offer: a bit of history, together with miniatures of the local mountains there. The same evening we got a nice presentation from the organizers, which was showing us even more of the beauty the host country has.

Every one of the five participating countries had to give a presentation. The people from Poland showed us how to dance, and we got very nice food to try. Bigos was one of them, a dish based on sauerkraut, white cabbage and more than one type of meat. If you are a party animal, Moldova is the place to be.

The Moldovan wine we tasted was so fantastic, you could always discover if somebody were speaking Romanian or Russian. And if you want to have lots and lots of festivals, I can just say it's the place to be.

The Lithuanian delegation gave us all a very nice bracelet, shared their beautiful songs, and told us that they were so passionate about basketball. We could notice that passing when they jumped in the swimming pool twice as a sort of celebration because of the victory they achieved. They even had a bet by saying that Lithuania was not able to win. The losers of that bet were thrown in the pool with clothes and all.

Mannekepis together with a quiz. That, and some nice chocolates
Represented Belgium.

Besides the presentations we had lots and lots of other activities:
Ice-breakers, who am I? My strengths and weaknesses, a very informative Introduction to the Erasmus+ Program and the opportunities it provides, Paying a visit to the Ledenika cave, creating a poem, acting crazy and transforming into fruit, making a theatre play, something nice of the things we struggle with every day and the misunderstandings.

And of course, I cannot forget the main town where we were staying,
Vratsa. Even when there was nothing to see for me, Vratsa was breathing with so much life. You can hear the sound of a fountain, have a very nice pizza, see and hear Smiling kits, have a wonderful overview if you are partially sighted or sighted, and so much more.

Besides all the indescribable things I could experience during that week: the contacts that I made, the exchange of experiences of how it is to live in each other's country, and having deep and long conversations were the things I enjoyed the most.

The week flew past, and before I knew it we had to go back. Saying goodbye is never something pleasant. Thank you to all of you who made this possible. It's something that will stay in my memory for ever.

Youssri