The Extraordinary of Everyday Life and the Everyday Life of the Extraordinary

I’ve been thinking about my
capstone a lot and I still don’t know if how I’ve chosen to go is what is best
(hence the very last-minute completion). Originally, I had planned to present
at the high school I graduate from, unfortunately though, that fell through due
to an April snowstorm and hectic schedules. While in Ecuador I knew what I
wanted to focus my presentation on: the extraordinariness of everyday life and
spreading the word about GCY. I even participated in the story slam at re-entry
training and shared about my nagging US mom and my plant stealing Ecuadorian
mom which focused on this very topic. However, as I’ve gotten back most of the
questions and statements I’ve been faced with have been answered with awkward
silence. Comments of: wow Ecuador must have been amazing, how was Ecuador, and,
what was the strangest thing down there? The reason for the awkward silence is
that I simply haven’t known what to say afterwards. Ecuador was great and it
was amazing, but honestly, it was me just living a somewhat normal everyday
life which on a day to day basis was actually boring and I can’t think of
anything that would be “the strangest thing down there.” But, this is not the
answer people want. People want the extraordinary and it was, but mostly not.
The (extremely long) reflection of my time in Ecuador and the completion of my
capstone has come down to two things for me: recognizing the extraordinariness found
in each day and the simple everyday living I experienced in an extraordinary opportunity.

Once I was able to boil down the
two points I wanted to focus on for my capstone I realized I already had a
great way to articulate and share those aspects of life in Ecuador: my private Instagram
page @Jamie.Ecuador. During my year as a (somewhat failed )
way to fundraise for the Fellows Fund I just about solely documented my time in
Ecuador on a private Instagram account which required a $1 donation to my
fundraising page (
) to gain access to. This Instagram documented everything about my year. It
documented the extraordinary: meeting my wonderfully large host family for the
first time, celebrating the New Year with burning puppets that resemble members
of the family, and trekking through the amazon to a waterfall on vacation. The
page also documented my average everyday life: eating (way too much!) rice, the
struggles of trying to tame a class of fourth graders, and, attending my town’s
farmers market almost every Sunday. This social media page that I kept has a
hope to fundraise has become my capstone project to highlight my extraordinary
experiences in everyday life and the ordinariness of everyday life of my extraordinary

For our capstone we (the fellows) are supposed to focus on a fellow
learning outcome. Those being: Self-Mastery
which includes self-awareness, resilience, and initiative. Community Engagement
which includes empathy, civic responsibility, and collaboration. Global
Competency which includes global perspective, cross-cultural skills, and foreign
language. I don’t think I can focus on just one fellow learning outcome though,
because, I feel that my experience does not boil down to simply a single aspect
of living abroad with Global Citizen Year. Resilience and initiative were necessary
everyday I taught at Quilloac. Civic responsibility and collaboration were used
when connecting with my community through dancing in a parade and other “extraordinary”
circumstances. I demonstrated all aspects of global competency by becoming a
true member of my host family and simply through efforts to learn more about my
community and new country. So, I have not chosen to focus on one fellow
learning outcome but many of them all of which can be seen at my now public Instagram

I want to thank everyone
who has supported my year with Global Citizen Year. The staff of GCY, the
amazing alumni, my team leader Pedro, everyone who has donated to my
fundraising page, my US family, my Ecuadorian family, my fellow GCY fellows,
and anyone else who has had a hand in helping ensure my year was successful. I
hope now that through my capstone project everyone is able to see what I
thought was most important to convey about my time in Ecuador: that everyday I
experienced a little bit of extraordinary and that also I simply experienced an
everyday life in an extraordinary opportunity.