The world is your home
Not long ago, I had the chance to be part of one of many exchanges realized under Erasmus+, in which the association Youropia collaborated. There, I could meet some old friends and also make some new ones. This project consisted on a journey to Slovenia where groups of several countries (Spain, Slovenia, Hungry and Italy, to be precise) would work together in a street-art project that would be exposed at a festival at a beautiful village named Trbovlje. Once there, we were all asked the same question: “Why did you come here?”, and all of the participants repeated this sentence: “To expand my borders”. Hey, wait... Wasn’t it all about art? You know... graffiti, flash mob, and stuff...
That’s when I decided to make a little research on the topic of other similar exchanges: ours was about urban art, other’s was sport, celebration of peace after WWI, business... None of the subjects were related, apparently... or were they? Things such as art, sports, or the end of a war make people and nations feel closer. Anyone can see something special at a Da Vinci’s picture, no matter if they’re German, Russian or Chinese. No need to get so sentimental, anyone can feel extremely happy when their team wins at a sport. And well... believe or not, trading has been the main reason for nations to join together all throughout history. Then I realised that the actual goal of all these exchanges was something wonderful. And no, it wasn’t about art. It was about learning that home is not where you’re born, but wherever you feel comfortable (and talk some art in the case of our project).
Our home is not a flag, nor a hymn, not even a language. Our home is a group of people who do their best so you can call your home wherever you are, even if you’re thousands of kilometres away to where you were born. Now, to be honest, I kind of had the feeling that some of the Slovenian organizers forgot about that goal and imposed rules which were quite severe. That resulted in the local group being unnecessary and avoidably told off at some points. In spite of that (more an anecdote than anything, I want to think) all the partakers in the project did understand that goal immediately and made sure to find alternatives to develop it.
The best example is that of a friend of mine whose English was... let’s say, not as good as he would have liked. I saw him just sitting, shy, overtaken by the situation... it just wasn’t him. Summing up, that wasn’t his home at all. However, the rest of the partakers did a great effort for him to be himself again, feel comfortable, have fun... that is, feel like home. His words about the project say it all: “In the first day I was like “Really? I have to stay here for an entire week?” but after the second day I was like “Really? Is it only one week to go already?””. If, as I suspect, the actual goal of these exchanges are expanding our borders, those people had understood it perfectly.
For, as they say, “there’s no place like home”, but “home” is a wider place than we think, and it’s looking forward to be explored.
By Marcos Salazar Lobato
Photo: Veronique Mystique
Written by Eurodesk Qualified Multiplier, Comarca de la Sidra