At the time of beginning to write this article, I am sitting at home and the radiator is heating the room. I am browsing through the Telegram chat of the group of Green volunteers from summer 2021. What is being discussed is if we wish to come together to celebrate New Year’s evening. A curiosity begins to tickle my toe. What has made a group of people, who spent together a total of two months, discuss spending the herald of the coming year? What part did I play in the project? In what follows, I am sharing some of my vivid memories, which are not too personal, in order to answer these questions for myself, first and foremost, and for whoever decides to read on.

Arriving at Vrabevo village, sitting down in a circle, where the discussion of what we are going to do next, as a group, is being considered, not as a top-down order, but as a shared, common choice.

Placing small pieces of wood in a hand-made oven, so a baked, fermented bread can come out of it, for the first time in my life, without the usage of modern technology or electricity.

Waking up with the sunrise and, soon after, going to a potato plantation to put sprouts in the soil, before it gets too hot.

A last-minute decision to jump on the train for the seaside, with nothing but a t-shirt, short pants and a swimsuit I had accidentally put on earlier that day.

Waking up in a guard’s tower on the beach, smelling the sea, observing other members of the community catching the first rays of the sun.

Climbing the highest point of Karadere beach at night, looking for mobile signal, so I am able to call mine and the mum of another member of the “tribe”.

Arriving at a morning discussion circle at Beglika festival with a bag, full of homegrown cucumbers and tomatoes, gladly gifted to me by a group of men, who appeared hostile during the previous day, but turned out friendly after an evening talk.

Hammering nails on a wooden toilet door at Beglika festival, so a long red stripe can be placed on top of them.

Putting off fireplace remnants on the festival, collecting big stones, placing them on the back of a pickup car, driving them to where a handmade clay oven is being built.

Sitting in a circle, on the brick of Beglika mountain lake, openly sharing with other members of the tribe how the festival is affecting me so far.

Planting the seeds of a meeting between a person in need of help for his fruit production to be sold and a woman, skilled in exactly that.

Inviting my parents at the festival and seeing my mum being gladly given a fermented lemonade and my father smiling after a massage session.

Hearing my Green Italian buddy rap for a group of wide-open eyed, twenty-something year old Serbians, on the way back from an EVS-supported house and garden project in Macedonia.

Final party in the Green house in Momin prohod, dark room, dancing people, Macaulay Culkin song playing, knowing that I may never see my beloved group together again, yet joyful that I met each and every single one in the room.

The sense of support in every endeavor, be it personal or communal, during those two months, has made me realise that a reality outside of the bleak world of separation, strife and struggle, where the need for personal survival is coming first, exists. The relationships formed feel closer than close. The adventures as real in the moment of writing them as in the time of their happening. Wishing to spend more time in that community comes as naturally as a toddler learning to crawl, in the safety of their home.

Zapryan Hizhev