I wanted to take this blog post to share some thoughts that I’ve been having about the meaning of the word “fellowship”. I am a Global Citizen Year “Fellow”, or so they told me when I was accepted to the program. I was to travel to Ecuador, Brazil or Senegal with fifty five other “Fellows” to learn a new language and assimilate into a new culture, to become a part of a host family and an Ecuadorian community. Little did I realize then the full weight of the word Fellow, and how it would play into my year abroad.
Now, as I look out of my sixth story apartment window at a beautiful view of Quito, I do not feel like home is thousands of miles away. Home will be there for me tomorrow when I arrive for my Ecuadorian culture classes at the university. And home will be a bus ride away when I am living in a rural village in Ibabura next month. And home will be in San Fransisco, Charlotte, Newark, Boston, Atlanta, Nashville, somewhere in almost any state I can think of, once I return to America.
You see, fellowship in some ways is more powerful than friendship. I feel a sense of deep kinship and brotherhood with my all of my Fellows which I only share with a select few friends back in the States. It is some fundamental commonality that transcends casual acquaintanceship. Of course I am better friends with some Fellows than others, but what is amazing is this bond that I feel towards all fifty five of my cohort. It is a connection that easily flows across the sea to Senegal, and then right back again to Brazil, and then up into Ecuador and through all twenty five of us living in Quito. Fellowship is not the best but the only word to describe our connection to each other. Abby Falik, the founder of Global Citizen Year, lead us in an activity before we left for our respective countries. We created a web of yarn between each other, demonstrating our interconnectedness and dependance on each other throughout our journey. I now wear a piece of that yarn around my wrist as a symbol of the common thread of experience that we all share, and as a reminder that I am not alone, but part of something greater than just myself. Probably due to my unapologetic love of Lord of the Rings, I do not think of us as a fellowship, but The Fellowship. Each of us has much to learn in these next eight months, and each of us has a role to play, and we will be there for each other through good times and through bad. But saying goodbye at the end of a great journey is not what fellowship is about. It is the fact that we will never say goodbye to each other, the fact that our journey together has no end in sight, that makes us all part of this Fellowship. It is the highest honor in the world to be a member of this family.
It is getting late here in Quito. My host family, who has been amazing to me, is in bed already. Quito is a wonderful city and I plan on posting about my adventures here soon. I am going to step away from the window now, having written down all that I was thinking about our Fellowship. I am sure my friends in Senegal and Brazil are already fast asleep, and it is about time I join them. Until next time, amigos. Adios.