Marija is our gorgeous volunteer from Macedonia. She is a participant of Erasmus ESC project, food scientist and explorer of the island. We asked her about Art in her life, daily rituals and her impressions of Madeira.
Ola! Let's get to know you a little. What did you do before the project?
Ola! Before the project most of the time I was travelling around different countries, while at the same time following my master classes online. I study Food science and technology, so before arriving here I also spent some time in Lisbon (Instituto Superior de Agronomia) working on my master thesis.
Why did you decide to apply for this project?
When I saw the project, the first thing on my mind was that this is an excellent opportunity for my brother. Unfortunately, he was too young to participate. So, my friends and family suggested me to apply for it. While applying, I have to say, I was not expecting to be accepted. It was a shock when I received positive answer, and the only thing I thought about at that moment was “Wow, let’s see what this experience has for me”. 😊
What is your impression of Madeira? What impressed you?
I love Madeira. The atmosphere here is always so calm and relaxing. What impressed me is how people do not rush anywhere and live much closer to nature. Before I arrived here, I was thinking that sometimes I might feel “stuck” on the island. But, on my biggest surprise, Madeira is small and yet such an interesting place to live! One of the best things I did here is swimming in the volcanic pools in Porto Moniz, and walk the levadas. Views here are breathtaking! Last but not least, Madeira has 365 days of spring – my favourite season!
How has art influenced you?
Art has never been my strong side, but lately I had to become closer with the art world and I am still in the process of learning. It is a whole new world for me, and I understand that it has its own “rules”. I enjoyed a lot organizing exhibitions and painting. Somehow, art has a calming effect.
What do you like most about this project?
I like this project because it is really dynamic, and I get to learn many new skills. My days are busy, I meet a lot of new people, artists and volunteers, have meetings, prepare interviews, photos and other promoting materials. At the same, the project pushes me to develop my creativity, which is just amazing!
What have you learned?
I can definitely say that I learned a lot of things. I arrived here totally not prepared for the experience, but now I feel like I belong here. I learned a lot about art, local artists, Madeira Island, as well as how to run social media, write blogs and publish them using different tools, organize and promote events etc. Since I also help in Art Food Corner, I had a special barista training and learned a lot about how to run a start-up.
What rituals do you have in Madeira?
Usually, I wake up early in the morning and have a cup of coffee on the rooftop of our home. I use this time to prepare myself mentally for the day. My working day starts at 11 and finishes around 18h. Afternoons are reserved for walk by the ocean and poncha. During weekends we love to do activities that make Madeira special, such as hiking, visiting waterfalls, boat tours, or just hanging out with friends and enjoying vegetarian BBQ. 😊
What's your plan for the next months here?
What I would really like is to graduate in the near future. Thanks to the pandemic, I can do this online. Also, I would love to be part of art workshops and maybe paint something. During my free time I would like to learn how to paddleboard.
Have you tried painting and do you like it?
Yes I’ve tried. I am obviously not an artist, but when I paint, time just flies. It is very enjoyable and calming.
Describe your life here in three words.
Perfect blend of volunteering, poncha and sun. 😊