Yesterday evening while sweeping the patio floor, I had a moment of realization. Examining the line of my life, I saw America, the sidewalk before me. And India, the concrete floor, and here I was sweeping the wooden slats of a Latin American patio, in a country verdant green, with the calls of chickens. I realized just how far out this is-the incredible power of Global Citizen Year to put students completely separate from all things they have ever known and been accustomed to. It is an educational experience that surpasses any other that I, and I’m sure many of my companions, have ever been exposed to.
I continued to sweep the floor, scrub dirty clothes and make my way to the main road contemplating in Spanish. I underestimated the effect Global Citizen Year was to have on my life.
I’ve now had to live on what’s left of $3.00 for three days in the city of Quito, and realize the privilege of a fear of getting mugged. Money is now something to have, but not to own.
I’ve acquired the trait of tranquility, docility in an un-adulterated form I now couldn’t do without. With a pinch of the language and no personal agenda I’ve learned to mentally “lay back’ in the most undisturbed sense. There are some things you can’t, and don’t need to control.
My bravery has stepped up to a new level, but that can be attributed to the privileges of a clueless foreigner. Hopefully this go-getter attitude will carry over to my experience when I return home.
I have a new found desire to work and ‘earn my living.’ Seeing how hard my host brothers and sister work, or perhaps helping others when I was penniless, I realized the liberty, and responsibility, of being self-dependent. I’m freshly aware of the care I’m given.
And of course, my love for being the traveler has been reaffirmed and indulged in all sorts of ways I’d never have imagined. Now, whenever I hear of my friend’s difficulties, I nearly blurt out my prescribed advice before I can stop it: “You need a Gap Year.”