Sunday, May 10, 2009

My 11 months and 11 days :)

I started my unique story in leaving the Bucharest airport with the confidence that is going to be a great year ... didn't even know that good what is going to expect me there(all my researches were sending me to lovely beaches and resorts, so I was sure it was not all about that but I couldn't picture in my head the country, people, experiences I am going to pass through) ... had a small general picture of what AIESEC is doing in the country (later during the year I realize it was totally different than what was actually happening) ... I knew I am starting my road with a Colombian girl (Patricia my VP Finance), a Dominican girl (Laura my VP ER) and a Romanian guy I kind of knew before (Raga my second VPER or whatever we called the position at that point :P) ... I knew I am going there to help and transmit all my 5 years of experience to AIESEC in Dominican Republic (a country in Latin America, the region I wanted so much to leave in)...everything else was a total mystery :)

Got to Madrid airport and had my first shock ... seeing all "morenito" and "bling blig" guys waiting for the Santo Domingo plane :P; got to my destination and met the only person I was more close to in the entire country, Felipe; spent a great night in some restaurants close to the beach where everything was part of a movie ... full moon, incredible blue water and white sand, natural fruit cocktails! Loved it!!

And it all started ... getting to know Santo Domingo (loud and crazy, diverse colors, lovely flowers and palm trees everywhere, a lot of garbage on the streets, everybody with a smile on their face and singing in any circumstance, challenging means of transportation, fruits I never tasted in my life) and our big common office and house; getting to know Pato, Paula and Laura; first frustrations regarding the fact that I couldn't speak Spanish and I was feeling like a "handicap" person ... just smiling during the company meetings and saying to everybody "buenos dias" (even though it was the middle of the day or afternoon) :P

Transition and planning passed very fast and begun our eternal challenges with money (debts and guarantees we had to pay) and members involvement. Javier (a Colombian trainee that was interested in working part time in the MC as communications responsible) became part of the team and together Pato, Lauris, Javi and me started to do members and EP recruitment ... failed terribly ... main reason ... we were having the expectation everything is going to be like in Colombia and Romania (strong promotion and 300-400 people are going to come to the Big Picture) ... 5 people came and none applied as member ... nobody applied as EP after one week of intense promotion every single evening. The challenges with money became more serious (didn't have money ... I will always remember the dinner we had with Pato eating some small 6 pesos biscuits both of us) ... and were beginning to be a little bit desperate ... still having in our mind that everything is going to be ok :) And we continued without seeing any results, without money but with a lot of energy and motivation. The first miracle happened when Yoselin, an Alumni realized we were not doing that well and lend us some money ... unbelievable feeling me and Pato had at that point!!! God is taking care of us!!!

Raga arrived and from that point on we were leaving definitely better (he saved and challenged us in so many ways) ... we begun building our small family: Pato, Raga, Javi and me with our habits, stories and day to day life ... So nice August weekends learning how to dance, enjoying Pato's food, discussing about everything and everyone :):):) Still the things were not working as we wanted, planning projects and activities that didn't had the results we wanted ... but at least we were there for each other! Again huge challenge ... IC was coming and we had no money to go or pay the fee; our first meeting with the Alumni (meeting Kildare the person that was going to be our biggest supporter); first planning with the EB trusting that everything is going to be ok ... And again through an incredible effort of Kildare and the Alumni we got the money to go to IC!!! Another miracle :) Our first discussion with the team regarding who should go with me to IC ... and thought decision of leaving the girls home to manage the projects we have planned ...

IC ... enjoying an incredible conference, meeting all my friends: Mo, Mada, Dora, Vlad, Iulian, Lucas, my CEE MCPs and new incredible people: Marco, Hugo ... representing for the 1st time Dominican Republic and being proud of my country and Jose :):):) ... feeling mature and decided to change the way things were functioning back in Dominican Republic. Fulfilling my huge dream of seeing Rio and the Corcovado :D One of the most unique moments of my life!!! Visiting Venezuela :) And again the challenges appeared: Raga got sick and was not able to enjoy IC and Brazil; due to the hurricane season the plane we were suppose to flight with, was not available anymore so we had to pay for other tickets from Venezuela to Dominican Republic ...

We got back in September and the big issues started to appear .... hurricane season that didn't affected us so much; a lot of work and again the results were not there (me coming again from IC with the expectations that everything is going to be different); a strong wall was beginning to be built between us, the foreigners (Pato, Raga, Javi and me) and the Dominicans (Laura, the EB, the Alumni) ... and the situation being managed bad from both parts (us not understanding what are the possibilities in this country and attitude we should have) ... projects in which we invested a lot of time and passion (especially Laura and Patricia) that couldn't take place for various reasons ... strong arguments with the Alumni about what should we focus on in order to have results, things that were not what AIESEC meant for us ... If until then we still had the motivation and energy, October was the month when everything went bad ... our motivation (including mine), team's unity and work level decreased a lot ...

I think never in my life I felt so useless and challenged ... constantly having in my mind the question "What can I do? Why is not functioning?" ... having huge gastritis crises after the BOA and Alumni meeting ... being almost desperate because I was seeing that we are investing a lot of knowledge, energy and time and people around don't understand and appreciate us ... discussing with Raga about what makes us happy and Raga's decision of going back home in January ... I think all these moments and feelings were the peak of taking the final decision ... "live or die" ... go and leave everything behind or remain, change you attitude and enjoy this experience ... Thanks to great people around me (both in Dominican Republic and outside)I rebuilt myself both inside and outside and I decided to change myself and start everything from 0 :)

Unstoppable weeks started :D Having team days where we rebuilt our team, motivation and dreams, being 100% sincere with each other; organizing SER MAS and the 20th Anniversary where everybody including the Alumni were recognizing the effort and professionalism of the team; having Felipe's visit where we demonstrated unity and power to keep walking on the great road we started; planning our biggest legacies: pay the AI debt, regain the AIESEC Dominican Republic's membership, have a Dominican MCP elect, re-built AIESEC Santiago, organize a Job Fair event and Caribbean Leadership Conference :)

Holidays came
... having Mo here was the most incredible Christmas present I could ever receive in a country that does not celebrate Christmas as Romania does (what was to expect in a Latin country with 35 degrees outside :P) ... and having the time to reflect and think about my next steps ... Being in constant doubt between applying as a Director or VP Finance in AIESEC International's 0910 Team (a constant doubt I have since entering AIESEC, Finance or something else :P) ... so I decide that the best, most challenging and impact full experience I could have is to continue my 6 years of AIESEC with other 2 ones as AIVP F :D

So January came ... Jenn was elected as MCP ... Raga left Dominican Republic and left behind a deep hole in our hearts, we missed him so much :( ... we started re-building AIESEC Santiago, together with Felipe, a Colombian CEEDer we moved to Santiago for one month and started promotion and recruitment- both members and EPs (difficult times for me ... doing promotion from 08.00 am to 09.00 pm and in the night writing my AI Application); Laura, Pato and Javi were organizing recruitment and conferences ... Javi left and I couldn't say goodbye ...

Preparation for IPM
started with the same challenges ... money ... the bank changed their policies and we couldn't redraw the money needed in order to pay the debt ... Jenn didn't know if she could take her visa ... so again miracles happened!!! Jenn got the visa, the Alumni lent us with money and I was preparing to leave to the airport (destination Italy) when we still had to take a decision ... are we paying our salaries or take the money to IPM and pay AIESEC Dominican's Republic 3 years debt ... tough decision especially because once more the girls were staying home to work ... We decided to take the risk, sacrifice the next months and achieve a goal that we had ... During premeeting I found out Jenn received some "millas" from an Alumni and she could join me in Rome :D Jumping around of happiness around the hostel all night long :P

was a powerful moment ... I had my successor there to transmit her what means to be MCP in an international conference and to get all the "global network" knowledge she was needing ... we payed the debt and fulfilled the membership criteria ... I got to reconnect with "my people" and start a beautiful story ... and fought with all my heart and was elected AIVP Finance :):):) From that moment on I felt that everything is possible ... that purely "sky is the limit"!!!!

Last two months ... everything happened so fast ... ILC in Guatemala, Job Fair, MC elections, Activarse and CLC, last meetings with the BOA members and the Finance Commission, transition .... our goodbye party and meetings ... it was a constant run that we could not stop!!! Yes we had decisions to take, hard moments and challenges ... but we knew ourselves so well, we knew what to do and what not to do and we had the clear mindset that everything is possible!!! So it did!!!

We were at the limit so we evolved!!!
Challenges did made us stronger and changed our attitude towards life!!!
We have friends for a lifetime!!!
We did say goodbye with a smile on our face for what a great year we've spent together!!!
We are better going to great :) due to these 11 months and 11 days!!!
I will be forever thankful to Dominican Republic, AIESEC and you my dears for this!!!

Our first picture together :) So young and innocent :P

Our team building :):):)

The song that represents ... our year!!! Us being unstoppable!!!

1 comentarii:

andreea said...

these posts have a lot of substance...they generate so many questions in y ead...I want to experience that "je ne sais quoi" that will give me the same intensity of feelings:), and learnings,...

miss u Mali.

a big hug:)

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