When people ask me why I am taking a bridge year, I always have my answer ready. I would respond succinctly that I have an intense desire to gain maturity, as I will not be eighteen upon entering college. I want to understand the local culture, learn Spanish and learn how to dance. I want to develop leadership skills and become a global citizen. And if I were feeling particularly inspired, I might throw in a line or two about living abroad for the first time out of Hong Kong, a place I call home up to this point of my life.
But the reality is my standing in the world looks so unclear. There is much uncertainty and mystery in the journey ahead. I am not sure where it will lead me. I am not sure how it will begin and end. I am not sure of what I am not sure. And that is totally fine. If I knew what I wanted to do, I would not be sitting in front of my laptop at two in the morning, without a clue on what to write for my first blog entry. However, things could get dull and presumptuous if I already knew what I wanted to do.
What I do know is I am choosing the path to Ecuador with a new language, a new family and a new adventure. Having been on the same track for 17 years, I’m now ready to take the leap of faith. I am willing to get off the beaten path, to explore, to grow and to learn. I am willing to be somewhere I’m not comfortable being. I do want to make a difference in my Ecuadorian community, despite how small it seems. And hopefully during the following eight months, I will be able to figure out how to spend my next four to six years doing something that I am passionate about.
This Chinese poem is for every pilgrim soul who longs for serendipity in life:
At times we let life guide us, at times we take life by the horns. One thing is for sure. No matter how well we plan, we can always expect the unexpected. And we will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.