A different kind of high

Have you ever heard of “GLOW Leadership Academy”? I hadn’t. I don’t know if it was fate, chance or sheer luck, but I ended up taking part in the amazing adventure that is GLOW.

Firstly I would like to thank my lovely teacher Miroslava Nikolova for introducing me to the program. I am forever gratefull. Now, you may ask: well, how did it glow? (get it? Instead of “go” 😅 No, ok). Where do I begin? I’m not going to go into detail, because if I do, this will turn into a book. Let’s divide it into parts.

My first day

I arrived around noon and was immediately blown away by how talkative everyone was. While I checked in, the staff gave me my manual and schedule. A girl quickly picked up my suitcase and rushed to my room. My first roommate arrived shortly after me. We hit it off right away. Throughout the whole camp my two roomates and I laughed, discussed Balkanika and kept our neighbours awake (or were kept awake by our neighbours).

Going back to the rest of my first day: I got my guitar out and sat in front of the hotel. I started singing with a few people, those few people turned into a bunch, and soon more then ten people were sitting around — on chairs, on the ground and just — singing. I was surprised by how much we all had in common. It was amazing. I had my first sessions, I made my first circle (there were a lot more to come) and it was mind-blowing…

The middle

The best part of the academy was that we were constantly practicing everything that we were learning. The lectures were all carried out by people that had previously been campers, which meant that they were all peers. This gave all of us (the campers) the confidence to talk to them, joke with them and eventually become friends with them. The time went by fast. We discussed so many topics from “Teamwork and Leadership” to “Gender Roles” and “Table manners”. There was also a constant surprise (prize) waiting for us somewhere. There was a theme to every day and night. We had a gala dinner and a trip to Veliko Tarnovo. All in all it was absolutely amazing. But them…

My last day

a.k.a.

One of the best (and worst) days of my life

I cried, I laughed. I didn’t want to leave. I can’t even describe how much this experience meant to me. The last night we made a circle (naturally) and everyone said one word with which they associate GLOW. Friendship. Future. Opportunity. Happiness. Love.

Home

That’s what I said. For me GLOW was home. It IS home. I felt safe, I felt supported. I knew I could express myself, my values. I wouldn’t be judged. That is an amazing and rare feeling. Everything that I learned was important. I have so many new and amazing friends. So many exciting experiences, so many new skills. All of this somehow fit in one week. One single week changed me and I am sure it changed a lot of other people as well.

The best feeling: Standing in the middle of a circle with my guitar, surrounded by friendly faces and singing.

If I could have used one more word, I would have said: Priceless.

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