At the beginning of 2021 I wouldn’t guess I will ever be learning Italian Sign Language

Though, what was an abstract concept at that time, is my reality one year later. Even despite the fact I was not versed in d/Deaf culture and still am not, I decided to become an ESC volunteer in an institute for deaf people located in Pianezza. Considering the fact that also using Italian spoken language is a new skill I’m working to gain, the challenge levels up.

Was it a sane idea to move into the North of Italy and change my life in so many ways? I cannot answer with certainty. What I can say is that it was a decision that made me feel brave and alive. It’s refreshing to be a foreigner, because you start to see that your language, habits and point of view are not as obvious as you perceive them. You get educated not only about the local traditions, idioms and mentality, but, most importantly, you notice your own uniqueness. Another thing that surprised me was the way I’m attached to my own culture. Before this experience I saw my own attitude towards Poland in a different way. I was right about those things I don’t miss, but realizing what I value happened to be astonishing. It turns out that life without ogórkowa soup and Żabka shop at every corner is not the same! I’m convinced everyone’s method for homesickness is different, however in my view the recipe includes parmigiano cheese. Feel free to prove me wrong!.

Regardless of the link between eating cheese and personal satisfaction level, I found out that ESC experience is all about learning. You learn how to communicate even when it involves a lot of creativity and effort. You learn what makes you feel like home. You learn how people with different perspective perceive you. You learn that you can always make things differently than the way you were taught. In my case, you also learn where to drink the best hot chocolate in Turin, how to sign your favourite colors in LIS and not to order cappuccino in the afternoon (even though no one knows why the latter is such a crime!).

#EUSolidarityCorps #Italy #Turin