The Beginning of a New Me

Meliza Windmoeller - Ecuador

July 10, 2012

Hi everyone, I’m Liza Windmoeller and like almost everyone else I’m 18 and a recent graduate. I am from northern Wisconsin, a very small town called Phillips. Our population is barely 2,000 and our ethnic diversity is sorely lacking. But needless to say it is the place I call home.

I sat here for a good 10 or 15 minutes after reading this assignment—simply thinking and pondering. Why did I sign up to be a Global Citizen Year Fellow? What were my goals? Do I measure up to all the other outstanding students who were also chosen for this amazing program? I suppose my worrying got the best of me for a little while, so I decided to just write—see where that takes me!

My life has been filled with unexpected ups and downs since day one! I was adopted from Cartagena, Colombia at the age of 13 months after I had major back surgery at 8 months of age. I was born with serious medical conditions resulting in my adoption by an American couple. I have had a wonderful life here with my adoptive family, and I have learned from and seen much of the world at their hands! It has not all been easy though. Given the health complications I was born with, I have had 5 additional surgeries in my lifetime—3 of them on my ankle last school year! Needless to say it has been a very hard and trying road; but also a road on which I have learned so many virtues and life lessons, such as patience, endurance, responsibility, and also appreciating my independence.

I suppose the reason I mentioned my medical past is because it has played a huge part at sculpting the person I have become. Being one of the “sick” or “broken” kids my entire life has made me see the world through different eyes than the person standing next to me. It has made me want to discover! Explore! Take chances and make mistakes! I want to see where I belong in the world, to figure out and finish getting to know the girl staring back at me every morning in the mirror. But most of all, I want to come out of the shell I’ve created around myself. Global Citizen Year will allow me to do this. This amazing opportunity to find myself in a foreign country – an opportunity I never would have otherwise! This is why I applied for Global Citizen Year. I want a chance to come out of watching the world pass me by, I want to help make a difference. I want to be that difference.

Meliza Windmoeller