A central theme in my pre-departure training to Global Citizen Year has been connecting with my community, family, friends, new Global Citizen Year fellows and the world. In so many ways Global Citizen Year has helped me connect with…
In January one of the first things I did after getting accepted to the Global Citizen Year is finding the “2015 Global Citizen Year Cohort” on Facebook. At first there were only about 4-5 others. We friended each other almost immediately. I was immediately curious about the other people in this group. Where were they from? What are their hobbies? What high school clubs do they participate in? Who are these people who would go on this adventure with me? The first real connection we made to each other was through the use of Google Hangout. Breaking the ice and creating the connections was hard. There were people from the East Coast, West Coast, Mid-west, People from every part of the map of the United States. The only theme among us was the Global Citizen Year program, and thus the icebreakers came from that. “Where do you want to travel?” And “What do you look forward to the most?” It has been a common theme to not trust people over the internet. Yet the Global Citizen Year had been able to create the connection necessary to blow over any walls and give people the ability to trust and seek each other’s help over the web.
At my High School a group of seniors formed a PBJ club, as the name suggests every Friday we would gather together, make, share, and eat PBJ sandwiches, getting to know each other as teenagers and human beings. There was no way we would ever consider ending the weekly event, even with the end of high school fast approaching too much had gone into creating the PBJ club. However, there was one problem: so many of us would be parting in different directions, we had kids all over Oregon, Washington, California, Singapore, Brazil, and all over the east coast. There was no way we could all meet in one location. The thing is, growing up in the 21st century we didn’t need to meet anywhere. To many of my elders this would pose as a serious problem, you just simply can’t mail a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! However Skype, Google Hangout, Facebook Messenger. These technologies created links that would otherwise just be memories. Technology is connecting PBJ club members throughout college, and now it will also to connect you to me for my trip to Brazil.
As part of my summer fundraising campaign I branched out in many directions. Family have been the people who have always looked after me, made sure I was ok, loved me, and guided me to the person I am today. I’ve had the opportunity to spend my time with all of them and loved every minute of it. Throughout the summer I went to the beach with them to celebrate 50 years of marriage between my Grandma and Grandpa. I surfed with my Uncle Christian and Cousin Ethan in cannon beach. Spent a week of yard work with my other Aunt Holly and Uncle Justin. Hosted my Aunt Heather during her weekend salsa dancing. Saw my Aunt Katie at Graduation, and a day on 23rd with my Grandpa. Gone cycling with my Uncle Justin and Grandpa for over hundreds of miles. This family knows how to get things going, have fun, move on, and accept and rock this world.
Portland, Oregon is a crazy place to live. Portland has made it’s name from the hippies, hobos, tree-huggers, vegans, artists, gardeners, runners, beer drinkers, hipsters, musicians, and the friendly trimet conversation. Coming from Lincoln High School as a fundraiser I had the opportunity to fly my colors and show the people of Portland where I was going next year, and I have to thank the generosity people showed me and the Global Citizen Year Program! Go Cards!
This is not my first time traveling to Brazil. Nor do I hope it’s my last. As a kid I was extremely fortunate to have family in Taiwan, and a father with a traveling job. I had the awesome opportunity to travel all over the world. I have made the connections with people all over the world. I experienced the wonders and excitement of unique cultures and made friends with people all over the globe. The most important part to me has been the initial connection with the ability to contrast with a foreign culture and your own. Global Citizen Year will give me the connections once again as I travel to Brazil and learn as much as I can about not only another culture, but my own culture as well.