A sacrifice in the name of love or something else

Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Day turns into night. Summer fades into fall. We know in our hearts so much as we would wish it otherwise. In a world set within time, there can be no beginning without an end.

It’s the same with the holidays. We feel this way after Christmas, New Year’s Eve… Like too much noise for too much silence after the party. Life is like a party. Has a beginning, has a pick time, has good and bad sides, some of the “party people” are cool, other are just only for the party. After the party you can see not much people who are helping you to clean the party place. But it really doesn’t mater that you might be disappointed by some people or your life or Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve party or Valentine’s day. As human beings we want good moments all the time. We want party all the time. We dream of the perfect Christmas present from Santa, we imagine the perfect dress for the next event, we dream of the perfect guy. We are in a battle with ourselves, because sometimes it is too difficult to accept that life is a circle of good and bad moments, party and work. We want our life to be our imaginary reality. We live in our imagination, but we come back to the reality because we can’t live in a “dreaming-of-everything” condition all the time. Trade a fantasy for reality, and you might feel like Alice back from Wonderland. The world may not sparkle and shine, but the ground will always be solid beneath your feet, and your eyes will be open to all the adventures that wait right for you in the real world.

That’s why everything that has a beginning has an ending. Just as every ending creates space for something new to begin… The wonder of second chance, the miracle of new life, the joy of new love. Because I started with “life” and “party”, may be you are trying to catch my mind. My point is that all holidays are basically connected with great sacrifice. And we celebrate the sacrifices because they give us a chance to believe and to live. I would like to say something about Valentine’s Day. We celebrate the Day of love – the 14th of February. But not much of us know that Valentine’s Day isn’t only the day of love, but it is also the day of people with epilepsy. Saint Valentine has been the keeper of the epileptics. He has been helping them. But according to one legend, St. Valentine’s Day is meant for people to remember a brave man, a martyr whose name was Valentine.

He was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudius who persecuted the church at that particular time. He also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.

Polygamy would have been much more popular than just one woman and one man living together. And yet some of them seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. But obviously the church thought that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for their life and that it was to be encouraged. And so it immediately presented the problem to the Christian church of what to do about this.

The idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the edict.

Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius the second. There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison.

One of the men who were to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind. He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.

In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it, “from your Valentine.”

Although it is not known whether this legend is factually true, it is a good story anyway. It is nice to think of someone who believed in marriage and was willing to risk death to do what he believed was right.

/Published europeanyouthvoice.eu, February 1, 2012/


Say yes to EVS

Usually when something is over we’ve got so many questions like “And now what? What’s next?”. I asked myself the same question after my graduation. And now what? What’s next? When we have just finished school we also ask the same. We all are wondering what we want to study, to work, but may be after the university you really realize that you’re adult and this makes everything quite complicated. The first piece of mind is “Oh my God, I am a grown up person!”, but then you realize that “adult” or “grown up” doesn’t mean “old” and there is no case to be old. Actually you think that you’re just grown up, but adult… I don’t think so.

I had the same dilemma after my graduation. The problem is that you have studied for something 4 years after then you realize that perhaps this “something” isn’t yours. It is more complicated if you have to think about your Master’s degree. What Master’s degree could I choose if I’m not sure that my Bachelor’s degree was what I really wanted to study? And for one moment you find a light in your mind which is not connected with what you want to study… In fact, the point is to find yourself.

Actually one of the most important things in our lifes is exactly to find yourself. What I mean, my point is you can’t continue with nothing in your life if you are not clear with yourself. I saw how important is. And my first “crash” with this was after my Graduation.

It happened that I went to a seminar in France, where I met one Bulgarian volunteer and she had chosen Montpellier for her EVS. Then I decided to ask her to tell me more about EVS. EVS or European Voluntary Service offers young Europeans the chance to make a real difference to the world and to their own lives – through the European Voluntary Service. The European Voluntary Service (EVS) provides young people with the unique chance to express their personal commitment through unpaid and full-time voluntary activities in a foreign country within or outside the EU. In this way, it seeks to develop solidarity, mutual understanding and tolerance among young people, thus contributing to reinforcing social cohesion in the European Union and to promoting young people’s active citizenship.After all I heard I made my personal point of view that EVS was exactly what I had been searching for and could help me to find myself and to become aware of what I really wanted to do. Evgeniya, the Bulgarian volunteer in France, told me about her experience, difficulties, the good and the bad moments. She told me about how many new people she had met there and that she had explored the French culture very closely. Her words made me understand that “my place” wasn’t my place and I probably needed that kind of adventure.

I was thinking about what would be the most interesting for me and with what I could be helpful if I become a volunteer. It wasn’t difficult for me. I can work with children with health problems like epilepsy. I am also an epileptic and for the last 8 years I have been searching for more and more information about all the medical and non-medical methods of healing and what could be helpful for the children with epilepsy to become more sociable, communicative and the most important thing, to make them feel not sick and not rejected. I decided that I have got the basic and maybe the most important- I know what I want to do and can do as a volunteer and I started to search. My first wish was Italy. But in one moment I started to participate in seminars and conferences too often and there I met volunteers from other countries, and I realized that I want so much to be a volunteer. And then…we came here in Aachen as participants in this seminar in the field of journalism. Groups with
young people from seven countries, visits to Maastricht, Brussels, Cologne, Bonn! Amazing experience, but totally changed my first wish about EVS in Italy.

At this moment I’m writing this article from the room where we all are doing the same thing. I’m watching the participants and I’m wondering that may be Germany is my inspiration or may be I feel the nostalgia because this is our last day in Aachen all together. I’m wondering that maybe it is because of the people and di
fferent cultures. For sure all that makes me feel more confident than I have never been before about what I really want, but my inspiration is still Evgeniya – the girl who was in France for four months, but changed my life only for four days.

/Published in europeanyouthvoice.eu, October 23, 2011/