Madeline Lisaius



As stepping on the plane to Ecuador was a huge transition, boarding the plane back to Seattle will be an equally unique challenge. Looking forward with the past year in mind, I have intentions for the coming months to foster a positive re-integration to the United States. I share them with you now both to…

11 April, 2014

Para Irme

Each day, my dad asks me, “¿Está emocionadísima para irse?” [So are you really excited to go?] At first, I was taken back. My papi and dates don’t seem to mix well, and that he was aware that the 9th of April was approaching lay uncomfortably in my stomach. Was he counting down the days…

11 April, 2014

The Connection

The 90’s bus seat fabric is a steaming sponge against my neck, the air a thousand heavy weights against my lungs. With each switch back the bus takes, we descend deeper into the Amazon basin. Although I have left my window open, the humid breeze does little to cool my mom and I; it smells…

27 March, 2014


What does privilege mean to you? Don’t worry – I’m not going to define privilege “in my own words” or give you a dictionary definition as a way to subtly suggest that your definition is wrong. What I DO believe, though, is that my personal definition has a lot to do with the environment I am in and…

20 February, 2014


Culture Shock: a sense of confusion and uncertainty sometimes with feelings of anxiety that may affect people exposed to an alien culture or environment without adequate preparation (from the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary) When Global Citizen Year first presented the idea of culture shock in Fall Training, I was a little skeptical. I mean, I was pretty open minded…

30 December, 2013

Somos Mujeres

This particular blog has troubled me for quite some time. Two months living in rural, southern Ecuador, I have been struck by the great contrasts that la mujer, the woman, illustrates. But how do I explain to you my perception of mujeres, acknowledging how the lenses my U.S. education and personal experience narrow my vision, while simultaneously putting what…

04 December, 2013

El Camino

So there’s this book called “Wild.” It found it’s way to me through another fellow; to her I owe much thanks. The author, Sheryl Strayed, discusses her 1,100 mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail (a path that transverses the western U.S. mountain ranges between Mexico and Canada) with no backpacking experience prior. The memoir chronicles not just her…

20 November, 2013

Oxfam Ecuador

During our initial training at Stanford, the Global Citizen Year Cohort did a sort of simulation called the “Oxfam Dinner.” After a long day of lectures, we were greeted in our dining hall not by the usual line of hungry fellows, but with staff and an ominous bag. Except a few tables still left out in one corner, the…

04 November, 2013

Un Retrato Retrospectamente

At breast level, my aunt takes my hand and leads me to the bus stop. Her burlap-like skin chafes against my raw, blistered palm. She has invited me to go to El Centro, and although I’m not really sure why, the “say yes to all opportunities with discretion” attitude is prevailing. As we take the 45 minute-long bus…

22 October, 2013


The Teleférico is a gondola that carries passengers high above Quito onto the volcano Pichincha where the trail to the summit begins. Although I love the vibrancy of Quito, it has become somewhat suffocating – I am surprised that I wholeheartedly believed that city life was for me – and wanting a small escape from the hustle and bustle, I…

18 September, 2013


When my flight landed at the San Francisco Airport on August 21st, I was really wishing I hadn’t had oatmeal for breakfast. I was planning on avoiding bananas when I got off the muggy plane. Because, as mom says, bananas and oatmeal “slow down the system.” From my experience, change leads to constipation. And since this flight landed me…

18 September, 2013

Estoy Lista.

Recently, I have been thinking about give-and-take. To get the “Debbie-Downer” material out of the way, I fractured my arm and have been somewhat puzzled by it. A year ago, I probably would have been angry, sullen, and all “why me?” about the break. But when a member at the gym I worked at gave me that stereotypical concerned…

14 August, 2013


Welcome friends, supporters, countrymen. Well, maybe not countrymen. More like “web-surfer.” Anyways, welcome to the chronicle of my adventure with Global Citizen Year. I will begin by introducing the first chapter of this tale: My Identity and my Desire for a Happy, Productive Life. Slow down! You might be thinking, you haven’t retired to the top of…

10 July, 2013

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Madeline Lisaius