The Bigger Picture

Tatiana Calonje - India


August 25, 2015

I’ve always been a victim to “the bigger picture.” I was going to start this off with, “I’ve always been a victim to the thought of the bigger picture” but it’s not just a thought. It’s a reality. It’s the now. It’s the tomorrow. It’s the when you’re gone and everyone forgets your name. It is, the bigger picture. It’s more than twice my size, it has no scent, no sound and for as long as I can remember, it has been seated on a throne observing all of my biggest decisions, inspirations, struggles, achievements, heartbreaks, confusions, loves, sunrises, sunsets, this and that. You name it, it’s been there. Yet, I feed off of it. It is the sun of my own planet. The bigger picture is the reason you are reading my very own words on this screen right now and it’s the reason why I cannot be there with you.

As you read this, I’ll of had reached India. I will be spending the next eight months here in search of the bigger picture. I am not promised anything, I have disposed of all expectations and I am fully aware of the position I have placed myself in. I have done this on purpose. I want to give myself the chance to dance with the “something more.” All the preconceptions I have been forewarned about are officially out the window. Preconceived ideas were never mean’t to take you anywhere past the person they came from, they are simply extra baggage. That being said, I have chosen to forget about what your uncle’s friends cousin said about India. I am turning off the YouTube video about the man-eating tiger in Uttar Pradesh. These things are restraints.

Committing to Global Citizen Year was practically instinct. I could of had easily sat at home and dwelled on the logistics or panicked about the 243 days away but Global Citizen Year is so much more than that. We did not sign up for this because we wanted to live in the constant fear a new environment can bring. This is not a vacation. This is not an excuse to put school off for another year. We are giving ourselves the room to be uncomfortable. We are challenging routine and above all, we are listening to our gut. We’re creating the room to grow in the tight spaces. There is so much to be gained by immersing yourself in a culture entirely different than the one you come from. This, is why I said yes to Global Citizen Year. I wanted something real. I wanted to learn. Education doesn’t have an address, it doesn’t only consist of test scores and borrowed books and it doesn’t end with a diploma. Knowing this, I said yes to Global Citizen Year. I wanted to meet real people, not just read articles about their realities. I wanted to be a part of that reality just as much as they were. This is why I said yes to Global Citizen Year.

Subsequently, saying yes has brought me 8,401 miles away from home but that is a small price to pay. To a prospective fellow or anyone who this resonates with—I encourage you to say yes. If you don’t believe in the possibility right now, I’m here to tell you that I do. Believe in yourself and have patience with those who do not understand why you are choosing to take the path less traveled. You are not reckless, you are not doomed, you are curious and above all, you believe in that something more just like I did. Just like I do. Take that feeling and run with it. There are experiences waiting for you, there are people on the other side of the world waiting to connect with someone like you. There is now and there is too late. We are here for a reason, there are things out there that were meant for you, so say YES. Your life doesn’t end after high school. The “real world” isn’t showing up to your first day of college, then showing up the day after that, and after that and after that. The real world could care less that you were on time to class on Tuesday morning. The real world will want nothing to do with you or your degree if you cannot truly empathize with someone entirely different than you. Push yourself to understand what frustrates you. Prove yourself wrong. Then, do it again and again and again and again. Clear your table, make the move. This is where the learning starts, this is how you learn. Education has many forms, do not sell yourself short. Say yes.

To the amazing souls on the other end of this, I am thinking of you and want to thank you—again. I couldn’t be any happier or excited about these next eight months ahead. Something amazing is about to happen and it wouldn’t be at my fingertips if it was not for each one of you. In some way, maybe it was something you said or something you did or simply being a part of the magic, you’ve made this possible. You have power, you have influence. Thank you for the unconditional love, inspiration and for believing in the bigger picture, the something more.

Faithfully yours,

Tati

 

 

Tatiana Calonje