Departure

Charlotte Robbins - Ecuador


August 27, 2015

I’ve always considered myself to be a planner; I map out events and deadlines,
space out my time accordingly, and am disoriented by sudden changes
in my schedule. About two months ago, however, I made the most
impulsive decision of my life. I was sprawled across my couch
watching Scrubs, when I jolted upright with the sudden realization that I wasn’t excited to
be a college freshman this fall. It’s not that I didn’t want to go to
Trinity or that I didn’t want to go to college. I just realized that,
for the past few years, I haven’t had the chance to take a step back
and breathe, and, as a result, I don’t really know what I want in my
life. In that moment, I knew that I needed a change; to take a break
from classroom learning and experience the world for myself.

 

After a few weeks of research, I found Global Citizen Year through a few
different web searches. I started the application hesitantly, unsure
whether or not this program had the cultural immersion and level of
independence that I was looking for. I became more confident in the
program after being interviewed and talking to alumni, and when I
received the news that I was accepted, I was thrilled. I committed to
the program, started to think about packing and my summer campaign,
and eagerly spread the news to my friends and family.

 

It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized what I had gotten
myself into. Leaving the country and living abroad in Ecuador for
eight months is insane. I’m going to be isolated from my friends and
family, immersed in a culture where people don’t necessarily speak
English, and I won’t know where I will be living or what I will be
doing until mid September. There were moments where I wanted to back
out, to ask Trinity to cancel my request for deferral and re-enroll
as a member of the class of 2019. Packing the night before was
overwhelming, and saying goodbye to my parents at the airport was
devastating. I spent the flight to San Francisco in a sort of daze,
totally removing myself from reality.

 

Now, sitting in a common room at Stanford University, surrounded by my new
family of fellows and alumni, I don’t feel like I’m going to be
flying to Ecuador in seven hours. I feel like I’m going to hop on a
plane back to Boston, be met by my family at the airport, and spend
the weekend at the beach. As many times as I’ve been shown the
itinerary, as I’ve been told the plan, I can’t wrap my head around
the reality of my situation.

 

So I guess I’m leaving the country for the next eight months. In this
time, I will be living with host families in Quito and in an
undetermined part of Ecuador, involved in a mystery apprenticeship.
I’ve been told that I will experience the highest of highs, and the
lowest of lows. I might observe unsettling cultural anomalies and
rich traditions. While the details of the next eight months are
unclear, I am grateful to be able to rely on the unwavering support
of my family and friends back home, as well as my new family of
fellows—all of whom I have just met a week ago, yet I have
connected with them on a much deeper level. I look forward to sharing
my stories and experiences, even though right now blogging is hard
for me, and I hope that by writing my experiences down in this
manner, I am able to provide one perspective of what life is like as
a Global Citizen.

 

Charlotte Robbins