I was in my early years in elementary school when a new teaching assistant arrived to our class. Her job was to interview us. Not in the school but later in the afternoon at home, when our parents could be present too. To put it mildly, in my case her attempts failed. I am still not the one who is ready to share thoughts, ideas and privacy with complete strangers, but nowadays I am trying to adapt to certain social norms as much as my resources allow it. I remember only one of her questions. But maybe it is because she had no chance to ask anything else or anything more. The question was: ‘What would you most like to receive as a present?’ My answer came: ‘A giraffe.’ The adults started giggling then told me silly things like ‘that is impossible, how would a giraffe fit into this house? Too big, too whatever… why don’t you say something that you really want’ they asked. I gave in and told them: ‘I want a TV (or a tape recorder, I cannot recall that already).’ And I clearly remember how bad I felt from this answer. What a nonsense it is to want a TV, an object. Isn’t it as if I was only after material things? And what’s wrong with a giraffe? They are one of the most wonderful creatures on Earth. However, I also remember that even I was surprised of my first choice of a possible present. How could this pop into my mind I don’t know, but it was clearly a sign of what would follow.
I have been accused several times that I don’t know what I want out of my life. I do too many things, I cannot focus, I should stick to one subject and so on and so forth. I never listened to this flammery but it still caused considerable amount of stress within, making the journey quite rocky many times. Only recently I started to feel liberated from others’ opinion and ways of thinking. Why couldn’t I do what I want, even if it’s one day walking with a giraffe on the savannah, the other day visiting sacred places in the Gobi desert, or this summer attending the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. And with this, finally, we have arrived to the main point of my current writing.
Last year I saw an opportunity to apply for volunteering at the 2016 – Olympic Games in Brazil. I didn’t think much, I applied, of course. I was curious if they would accept my application. Some time later an invitation to attend an online group interview arrived. It was my very first interview in my entire life that I was not scared of. Surprisingly, I was the only one in the group who asked questions and who was the first to answer the interviewee. What is more, it was pretty annoying to see how nervous everyone was during the meeting. It was fun, really, exactly what I expected from Brazil. Then a few months have gone without news from the organizers, I nearly forgot about the whole event. Finally came the e-mail: WELCOME TO THE TEAM! I still had to wait 3 more months to receive the official offer letter that would tell me where I would be assigned and what my role would be during the Games. I had 6 days to accept the offer or it would be withdrawn. I had a thought, maybe an afternoon what I needed to decide then I said YES!, of course. When it comes to travelling, my backside starts itching and it does not stop until I board my flight. This can be a trip to the nearby Vienna, or London that I think of as my second hometown, Mongolia, the most magical place I have ever seen, or the Moon, doesn’t really matter. What hasn’t changed since I wanted a giraffe for Christmas is my crave for discoveries, experiences, the unknown, and this is what that distant animal represented already in my early years. No wonder I became a researcher. At least that is one of the things I have been doing for a while.
Back to Brazil now… I had a chat with a friend a few months ago about the difficulties of boarding that flight to Rio. These difficulties focused mostly on the lack of funds to cover flights, accomodation, etc. My friend, a very wise one, told me something like ‘why don’t you just release your dream to the universe and let it answer you?’ So I am doing now.
This blog post is the start of my volunteer journey to Brasília, the capital of Brazil, where I will be part of the event services team in the Mané Garrincha Stadium. I will report on the progress of my journey from time to time, and show you what is possible.
Next time I will write a little more about the importance of volunteering in general, and why I think it should be part of everyone’s life.
In the meantime, feel free to share your fundraising ideas with me. Help me feed my giraffe in the coming months too…