I just joined a cult….

Chantal Tonnessen Smeland


August 28, 2015

Human emotion is a rather peculiar aspect of the species. How we get attached to places and people, what satisfies our deeper desires, and what shreds the already fragile said centre of our emotional being- the heart.

I find myself in an anomalous state of mind, as I have been amidst dozens of churches and fast-food shops, Redwood trees reaching far beyond the clouds, and a university I never really felt an urge to attend or visit.

Howbeit I am living out my lifelong ethos, enjoying whatever life has to offer (which also happens to be an amazing programme in India), this dream started out a little quirky.

Excited about the year ahead, yet often found reminiscing about the past two years that just vapourised, leaves me somewhat numb. Simply unable to go for my well-deserved honeymoon.

However, the absence of blind excitement for the next leap has in return granted me a strengthened sense of presence. Rather than drowning in the questions about the possible futures, this time it feels like I have just taken every second as it comes. Which, to me, has been a welcomed privilege.

Pre-departure training has offered much, and has proven its worth through fictional tacos (my tacos meaning a surprisingly organised programme, a dedicated and inspirational staff, and nice reminders)(shout-out to Esther's tacos).

Although only having had a time span of 8 days, I have gained surprisingly close relationships. More specifically 7 mothers and dozens of amazing siblings.

I entered this programme dreaming about colours, pichkaris, tacos and growth- oblivious to the fact that I had actually joined a cult. An organisation developing into a cult based on freakish cinnamon rolls and ought-to-be fashionable alternatives, for Americans and internationals alike, to puncture their bubble. To take the next step and grow.

I am excited about whatever this year has to offer, and to build these amazing relationships that helps me define me.

For me, Global Citizen Year is exactly what I was seeking. And now, I shall board my flight to Mumbai. So नमस्ते!

Chantal Tonnessen Smeland