Inside a Kick-Off Meeting with Eduardo, Tania and Dima In late June, twelve selected tandems arrived in Munich to take part in the Kick-Off Meeting of Tandem Ukraine. During five intensive days they managed to create a collaboration plan for the next year and a half. For the first time, each participant arrived to the meeting accompanied by a colleague from their organisation. On the last night, Tania with her colleague Dima from Kyiv-Slavutych and Eduardo with his colleague Christina from Athens found a quiet corner to share some insights from the Kick-Off meeting. EduardoWhen I met people from the Partner Forum for the second time here in Munich I felt like in a high school reunion. TaniaI felt like I knew all these people. Because I considered collaborating with each of them at some point. EduardoWith each of them? I didn’t know that. TaniaAt some point. I really had to evaluate our compatibility with everyone and think about what we have in common, and each time there was something. So I felt that we were a kind of family. DimaAnd when we arrived I was surprised by the whole atmosphere. It’s still a work in progress, but it feels so easy. If you are tired, you can have a rest in our cozy office. I didn’t feel that we’ve been working, more like creating. I would frame it like that. ChristinaYes, I was also surprised at how casual all this is. The day before we arrived, I was wondering about all the documents and clothes I should pack. But during the first dinner I felt like on a trip with our Master’s class. Because we did the same Master with Eduardo in Amsterdam. Yes, we have a project to do, but it feels like we are travelling together. EduardoWhen I invited Christina to join me as a colleague from our organisation, I tried to explain to her that if the Partner Forum could be like two organisations dating, then the Kick-Off would be about moving in together. You are getting to know each other more intimately, become acquainted with the other organisations' friends and stuff. Because our colleagues were joining and bringing more of a context. ChristinaI remember Eduardo telling me that our partner from Ukraine, Tania is a very intelligent and nice person. So I was like - let’s go and meet Tania. He described the Tandem Ukraine programme as a very enriching experience without giving me too much details about the who, how, or the procedure itself. EduardoFinally, I’m so glad Christina likes it too, because I was worried she might fire me again. She has already fired me four times during the trip (laughing). DimaI got information from Tania about this one guy from Greece with whom we were going to build one more district - an Athenian district, in the city of Slavutych. My first reaction was “What?” But then I thought if they were ambitious enough to create a new district, they probably were people with whom you could do anything. So I realised that I should go and meet them. It was a jump into unknown.