When I was a child, if I disobeyed my grandparents, they would often threaten to “throw me out” so that I could live with some other, foreign family. With certain panic, I would eat every last grain of rice, obey my grandfather’s wishes, and clean up after myself. At that age, I locked myself into a perspective that different meant bad and that I should never stray from comfort. During those days when I still slept with my mother and closed my eyes during Disney movies – yes I was scared while watching Beauty and the Beast– I feared a waltzing beast as much as being thrust into a new family half a world away. But now, just as I can watch Beauty and the Beast without hiding behind my mom, I want to plunge myself into new communities, encounter new challenges, and become a part of a family half a world away.
Between those years of fearing everything and today, I have gained new ideas and perspectives. I learned from my experiences away from home in Washington, D.C. and Samoa that different, in fact, is a good thing. Attuning myself to the customs of “never stand on the left side of the elevator,” and “only women do laundry, only men cook,” allowed me to challenge my own perspectives about the world – and to continue question my beliefs. By venturing outside of my crowded, loud house in Seattle, I can uphold my values of constant change and curiosity.
In Seattle and in other communities across the world, we face challenges that require us to be willing to change our ideas and be curious about the ways in which can create unique answers to our most pressing issues. By keeping our ideas fluid, we can better adapt to the rapidly evolving needs of people around the world. By remaining curious about the world, we can and discover problems that require each person’s contribution. Today, I’m asking that you too remain curious about our world, its issues, and what we can do about them.
Half a year ago, I regained my own interest in the world by visiting the Global Citizen Year website and reading the Fellow’s blogs. Amazed by the depth with which the Fellows were able to write about their new families and communities, I knew that I wanted to take a Global Citizen Year myself. By reading the blogs, I engaged myself with our world. I learned about the palafitas of Brazil, immersed myself in the schools of Senegal, and became inspired by what happens when you give a child a camera for a day in Ecuador.
When you click to subscribe to one of our blogs and choose to donate to the Fellow’s Fund, you too are engaging in our world and opening yourself to change. Through each click, we are saying yes to joining the global family, yes to changing perspectives, yes to finding world solutions, and for me, yes to being thrown out into the world.