when I was 13, I ran away from home. I was a huge rebellion and my family had it tough with me, especially my mom (love you mom!). I hated my town where I had spent my childhood and elementary school and I couldn’t wait to move to the big city. Eventually, even Ljubljana became too small. But in the meantime, I grew out of puberty, fortunately.
Now living across different countries in Europe and constantly on the road, I began to love my small city of childhood. I am proud to have grown up in a besieged working class town together with ex-Yugoslavian refugees from the 1990’s war. And yesterday I hosted two workshops there. It’s much fun coming back, not having the slightest accent and not knowing anyone, yet I felt like coming home.
Let me tell you a bit about this town and region. It isn’t rich. In Slovenia, pretty much everything outside Ljubljana is considered undeveloped. And Ljubljana on its own is not more than a big village. Not much’s going on. People lacking jobs, cultural life, social life activities (weekend getting drunk parties excluded of course), etc. There are fewer opportunities, especially for young people. And people feel this. They are not happy about it, but not much they can do. Or they don’t recognise the injustices in wealth and other goods distribution, and are falling in despair anyhow.
And in the middle of such an environment and mindset, there happen to be two organisations. That make a difference. Young people have joined their forces together and launched a co-working space. They are fostering entrepreneurship, active citizenship and engaging individuals into a sharing community.
I had a privilege to meet some of their members yesterday. I saw dedicated, kind and resourceful individuals who are trying to survive, to fight and to enjoy their lives. They were full of passion, energy, enthusiasm and ideas as we had discussion around Solution Focused questions. They were collaborative. Great listeners. Great people to talk to. Amazing creative spirits. With crazily stunning ongoing projects. I was so impressed and proud of their achievements as well as genuinely happy that they were not among those who are trying to find a way to either steal from common good or escape abroad. They were there. Standing strong. Having it difficult of course and constantly questioning how to survive. And they were managing, somehow, by doing something right.
I observed some of their conversations after the workshops. They were really kind to each other and honest. They asked me why I came to work with them all the way from London and not charging them to do that. Isn’t it obvious? Because it was most rewarding to be able to support a growing community that wants to make a difference in their local environments. I like working with engaging, kind people. Somehow, I always have a privilege to meet such people.
This blog has about 3,000 international readers (you are awesome and you know it). If you ever have a chance to work with a Slovenian, you most likely won’t be disappointed. They might be a bit slow and cold at first, but once opened up, they will deliver results. And won’t praise themselves for it. They work, work, work hard, until they drop. And if in supporting environments, they generate awesome ideas, supported by strong arguments.
So honestly, Slovenians rock. I know I will spend my old days in this country. Because I love and believe in its people. Because it’s my home.