Prayer, friends and peace; all of these co-exist at Taize. Even though I was expecting Taize to be an exciting and interesting experience, I didn't realise the things that we were going to be involved with. As a result, I was surprised at how close and friendly the people visiting Taize were. However, socialising was a struggle for me as I found myself lacking confidence and it felt awkward to start conversations.
Yet, after spending some time in Taize I realised that people are kindhearted and non-judgemental, meaning that I was able to slowly come out of my shell and converse with others after a short period of time. I have socialised with people from all over the world and have experienced different languages and cultures in the same location. From now on I've learnt that one of the easiest ways to meet new people is by making yourself approachable and confident – even if it's forced confidence as that's the first step towards real confidence.
Another thing that I found difficult and challenging was the praying as it involves a period of silence which I found hard to cope with at first. At the start of the week I felt inclined to speak or move during this time and this made me feel anxious as I was afraid I would make an accidental noise! However, as the days have gone by the silence seems to have become shorter and shorter and now I feel disappointed when it ends, as it's become a chance for me to reflect without distractions and I am able to relax and feel comfortable in my surroundings.
Overall, I have established a greater bond with both the people at Taize and with God
Tala Alayoubi (15) Holy Trinity School