Lison Herledan is a 28 years old girl from Paris, France. Before doing this ESC she was working as a freelancer in two magazines, one for teenagers and the other one more feminist. She used to have an association against street harassment and was doing studies in Communication, specialised in generations so about young people, how to communicate with them.
Why did you decide to leave your country and start this ESC project?
The main reason was that I was quite bored in Paris, not because it’s a boring city, because you have a lot of things to do, but more because I was working most of the time in my apartment, that I shared with someone. I didn’t have my own space and I didn’t meet a lot of people, because I was always home. At some point, I wasn’t feeling so good in Paris anymore. It’s a really stressful city, full of people and everything is really expensive, so when you don’t earn a lot of money, which was my case, because being a freelancer means that you can have a lot of money one month and the next one not having enough, so to live there is quite complicated. The flat was also too small, so at some point, I was like “I’m 28, I need to have my space.” The other one is a personal reason because I had a breakup. I needed to move on, leaving the city and all the things connected to that. I wanted to do an ESC for a long time. I did one short term in Cyprus in July, so I was like “Why not do another one?” It was the perfect moment. I’ve chosen this project mostly because of the topic of it because I had the chance to do my own project.
Were you scared?
Yeah, I was. I think you’re always scared to do something new because you don’t know how it’s going to be. I wasn’t scared to move to a new country, but more of living with other people, especially because you didn’t choose them, you don’t know them. So you’re like “Are we going to match or not?” I was a bit scared of the Youth Center because I’ve never worked with teenagers and I didn’t know if I would have been comfortable with them.
What can you tell me about your hopes?
Before coming here they told me that I could have had my own project, that I could have done whatever I wanted to, so I hoped that it was going to be like that. This was the opportunity to develop the podcasts that I wanted to do for a long time. To meet new people and discover Slovenia was also my hopes, but the most important one was to appreciate people and to be appreciated by them and to match with them.
And how is it going so far with people?
Well, at first I was comparing a lot with Cyprus, because there we did the training immediately, so we were really close in a really short time, like having the feeling that we’ve been knowing each other for a long time. This was my only experience of living with people, though, so I realised that you don’t need to be friends with people, because sometimes you match with them and some times you don’t. It’s fine like that. I didn’t have the same experiences, independence and living alone, so sometimes things seem to be obvious for me and for the others no. Sometimes you expect to have people more or less like you, because it’ll be easier to live with them. At first I’d not have chosen to live with these people, but now I’m okay with it, because I can see a lot of positive things in the people whom I’m living with. If one of them would leave I’d be sad honestly, because I would miss that person. The only difficult thing is having to share the bedroom with someone, because I need my own space.
What do you miss about France?
Nothing for the moment, because Slovenes are quite close to the way I am. They’re chill. I only miss my friends, my siblings, because they know me really well. Here they don’t know how I react, how I work, and it’s completely normal. My friends know that so they know how to handle me. I miss the wine and saucisson. *laughs*
Did you achieve any goals since you’re here?
Yeah, I managed to work on the podcasts, I still haven’t finished it though, but at least I realised it. I also did an interview at the very beginning when I arrived. Travelling was another one of my goals, and I’m moving quite a lot because I’m visiting something new almost every weekend. If my ESC was going to finish now, I would be disappointed, yeah, but also proud of myself because I achieved what I wanted. I’d also like to create a book club, not something complicated, but the idea was to find the books I want to study and which people I want to attract, maybe students. Books about feminism, but not only that, books that have strong female characters, for example, a mother that has difficulties to raise her children, a girl that likes the things that boys like.
Did you discover any new passions?
Ajvar. *laughs* It’s so good! And also saunas.
What do you like to do during your free time?
Two or three times per week I just like to walk near the sea, do nothing, or just read a book sitting on a bench in front of the sea. Talking to my friends and watching videos on YouTube. During the weekend I like to travel and discover new places.
Do you have a favourite place?
The first thing that comes to my mind is Izola, to be honest, because I love the sea and Slaščičarna Jadran, the place with the delicious typical cake, Izolanka. I love to sit there, eat while reading a book. I mean the people there are nice, the cakes are delicious and it’s not even so expensive.
Which is your best memory?
I think I have too many. When we did the sledding, we were so afraid to go, but we went anyway. That was a really good memory.
That’s my best one.
Also when I saw Marina and interview her, or when we went to the sauna, even the Sundays when we are just home, doing stuff on my own and then I call you and you join me for a walk, or for the cake. Even when I was singing with Joris (an ex ESC volunteer) was a really good one.
What would you like to bring home?
The cake. *laughs* A lot of things. I hope I’ll be more comfortable, to have more experiences in my CV and with youngsters. I’d like to bring with me the meetings, the feelings I had here. I want to keep this “freedom” because we’re kind of in a bubble here. When I’ll be back in France it’ll be different though.
Chatting with Lison was very pleasant. Even though we are pretty close, because we spend a lot of time together, due also to the fact that we share a room, I learned some things about how she feels and how her experience is going, on a personal level. We have some common points, especially about the needing of some “me time”, the anxiety and the feeling of not being able to bring the good things at home.