Hello friends, family, and other amazing beings about to read my very first blog post! This first entry is coming from sunny Stanford University in Palo Alto California. I have to be frank, I really wasn’t sure what to write down for this entry, or how to compose my thoughts into words from this week. For those of you who are unaware, I have been in Northern California in the town of Occidental, at a place called Alliance Redwoods. I don’t need to give much description about the surroundings of Alliance, since it’s in the title. But I will stress how beautiful the place was, a perfect start to my Global Citizen Year. There was a bubbling creek that wrapped at the base of Alliance, and the coastal redwoods stretched for miles and miles, reflecting its unique beauty everywhere. On the first day, after the nervous butterflies left my stomach, I began to unfold and get comfortable with the other fellows. Some intimated me, others made me laugh and become relaxed, but what I remember is having no feelings of doubt, like I had had in the past. The next few days were made up of discussions, self-processing, speeches, mixed emotions, and the beginnings of many friendships. A few moments stood out to me that I’ll always keep close. One being the fourth night since we had all arrived. A small group of us had kept this new tradition of star gazing on the soccer field. We would all lay down, cuddle to keep each other warm from the crisp night air, and just look up. A few shooting stars would pass throughout the evening, some twinkled like we were almost in a dream. What I loved the most about that night was all of us being together, listening to each other’s stories. It was a moment of unfolding those layers we all carry inside, and opening up to these people that I will spend the next eight months with, and hopefully keep in contact with for the rest of my life.
Another moment I cherish is our second country cohort meeting. It was all eighteen of us, plus our two team leaders, Elise and Josh. We were all sitting around in a circle, anxiously waiting for a surprise from our TL (team leader). Elise turned her computer around to face us, and on the screen were the two people living in Pune, Anand and Arch, who are apart of the India Global Citizen Year Team!! Seeing their faces and their excitement for what's to come sent a wave of joy and anticipation across the room. It was in that moment that I truly felt the decision I made to join Global Citizen Year was the right one for me.
There were thousands of other moments I could share with you that are meaningful to me, but that would take over five days to type, since almost every single moment I’ve spent up here in this place with these people has been so important and special. I feel ready to dive into the pool of mystery, uncomfortable moments, ones to cherish, new connections, and lifechange.
After our few days at Alliance came to an end we all hopped on busses and headed to Stanford University, passing over the Golden Gate Bridge of course. The campus is stunning, everything looks incredibly clean and tidy- probably because it’s still the summer and none of the students have arrived ha ha. We have been listening to very inspiring speakers over these last few days, some including the President of Chcaange.org, a representer of Minerva University, and one from Global Fund for Women. Each speaker brought a different but inspiring message for me to take away on my year abroad. The rest of the days have been made up of moments of realization that I am getting on a plane in two days to India. It feels strange knowing that my comfort levels will be pulled and stretched in ways unimaginable, and I’ll be introduced to a whole other world of culture. However, knowing that I have the support and love from my India cohort makes me feel like I can conquer this year, as well as PDT bringing a new level of confidence to myself. So… India HERE I COME!