Thursday, May 02, 2013

On the Road to JMJ RIO 2013

I lived an amazing experience in 2005, volunteering in World Youth Day (JMJ) in Cologne. I tried to document my experience but i couldn't catch every moment in a picture or a blog. I decided to start earlier for this year and just put all what I live during this whole journey to make it last forever.

There are still couple of months to go before going to Rio in July but this time, it all started much earlier. After 2005, i tried to go back again to the JMJ. In 2008, it was held in Sydney and i was at first excited to go and discover there but i couldn't take vacation at that time and also the flight tickets were so expensive so i decided to skip it. In 2011 it was in Madrid. I was so excited cos Spain was on the top of the countries i would love to visit someday and i actually applied but then, when they asked for a small paper to be signed by a priest saying i'm Catholic, i asked them what if i'm not and they didn't accept me to volunteer. I was so upset but I respected that and i didn't try to push it further. That year, I went though to Paris and Barcelona with my friends and actually i had a great time with them so I think, probably this is what was planned for me. Anyway, when Rio was announced for 2013 I was so excited. It's like wow, it's a great place to visit and unlikely i would have the chance to go as it is already expensive to fly to Brazil. I waited maybe a year till they put the online registration for volunteers, and when I got the email saying i'm accepted and asking me to send the documents i was so excited. From the beginning I asked if it is ok not being Catholic, based on what happened for Madrid and I was told no problem.. So after sending everything and actually seeing the list with my name, i discovered that 2 friends are going too. We tried to arrange for our trip together and we booked the flight tickets. Months later, in mid March, i received an email saying i can't participate. It was a real chock and I was so angry because we are all Christians and at the end, i'm doing a service for people and it doesn't matter in which church I was baptised. My friends even tell me that i'm more Catholic than Orthodox, actually everybody at first thinks i'm Catholic. This time, I tried to send emails, my friends tried to help me and to make my complaint reach but what really touched me was people reacting to my post on faceook in which I said what happened. Volunteers from everywhere in the world decided to make an action  and write a petition to let me back in the list and it really worked. I didn't believe much that it would make any impact but when I saw the email 3 weeks later, that the organization requested my presence, I couldn't believe my eyes. I remembered a friend who actually told me it will be sorted out and that even if not, i should go anyway since i have already my tickets. He was totally right. Also the discussions on facebook and how people, i didn't actually know, showed their support. This was one of the rare moments I felt really the power of people and how caring about others really make a difference, even if my problem was not sorted out. Also, I felt that this year, the experience will be so much different.
Some of the people on facebook decided to make a whatsapp group. We call this group a 24/7 because it is  all the time on due to the different time zones. We are around 50 people from Singapore to Ecuador, almost from all contients, except Australia. it's so amazing how people who don't know each other, have so much to say. We discuss lot of things on the group, regarding the organization for the JMJ, funny stuff, food, music, dance, faith, languages, culture. It's a true melting pot. I didn't imaging when embarking in this adventure that i would get so many friends so soon, before actually going to the JMJ.
I believe that this will be quite a journey, that's why i will try to write about it and hope i will continue till the end...
So stay tuned for the next edition!

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