Yesterday, I woke up at the idyllic Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) in Petaluma, CA, at 6:30am and set off on my morning jog over the steep hills of the complex in the chilly dawn air, camera in hand. A few ups and downs through the prickly hay and thistle brought me to the peak of a wide open hill, higher than any other I had discovered yet. I was above the clouds, literally. Golden grasses spotted with green trees rolled down into valleys filled with pools of white fluff. Photo op.
I flicked through the other pictures in my camera. The first three on my memory card were of my sister and I, smiling in a cheesy sideways embrace at the Raleigh Durham International Airport in Raleigh, North Carolina—another life entirely.
I looked up and attempted to reconcile the then with the now. Honestly, the now didn’t suck: fresh air, exercise, beautiful surroundings. And waiting back at the dorms? An awesome breakfast, for one. But more importantly, 33 other incredible members of my generation, all with a story to share, all taking a leap of faith in Global Citizen Year. We’re here to connect over music, food, dance, and YouTube videos, but also to experience new cultures, new languages, and new people.
As I try to find my place among these fellows, I’m realizing that I’ll need to find my place with my host family in Brazil, in their community, and ultimately, in the world. Sounds like a big task, but, for me, that means figuring out what role I play, whether it be with friends or family, at home or abroad, in school or a career. Hopefully spending 7 months immersed in a different culture will give me some perspective to do that. Hopefully.