On 21st September the Italian community of Buje were organising an event for the International Day of Peace, at which, us volunteers would be making presentations to introduce ourselves. Early in the preceding week we met with the woman, Dolores, who would be running the event. Before meeting her Elena warned us that she was very keen on singing and would probably ask us whether we were interested in singing on the evening. Being completely unable to sing my initial answer was no, and Irena, though she can sing did not necessarily want to perform solo; Alessio, not with us at the time, would be asked later.
At the meeting a conversation took place in Italian and Croatian that ended with me being told I would be singing. Alessio, via a phone call with Elena, had suggested he would be willing to sing, so it was decided that I would as well. One of my motivations for doing EVS was to try new things and stretch myself but this felt like being thrown in at the deep end, with lead weights on my feet, especially when “Beatles” and “Imagine” were being mentioned.
Luckily for me when Alessio returned in the evening he was less keen on singing; whether his initial agreement was due to slight misunderstanding of what was being asked, or if he had just changed his mind I don’t know, but I was glad he had. Unfortunately for Irena this meant that she would be the only one performing.
The evening came and we arrived at the community to find a large crowd gathering, with extra chairs being brought in to seat everyone. The event got under way with some speeches on peace, and then the main theme of the evening – singing – was introduced as children from the Italian school performed various songs. We were on towards the end of the show, and Elena’s advice to flatter the locals meant our presentations went down well, and Irena’s singing performance was one of the stand outs of the show, which was closed by the Italian community women’s choir.
The refreshments afterwards had lots of people commenting on the quality of mine and Irena’s cooking, unfortunately not so much for Alessio, but this was overlooked as his natural Italian charm wooed many of the older ladies. We ended the night with a couple of celebratory drinks (once we had pried Alessio away from his fans).