They say home is where the heart is. Then I am happy that my heart is scattered all across the globe.
There is a piece in California, U.S.A., where my family lives.
There is another piece in Yangon, Myanmar, my birthplace, where my aunts, grandparents, and cousins are.
But the biggest chunk of my heart settles warmly under the sun in Ecuador, where my friends and loved ones live.
I did not find myself or discover myself during my time in Ecuador. In fact, I found within me complexity, imperfections, questions, beasts, and beauties. The best part? That I accept all of it: the good, the bad, and everything in between.
But the thing is friends and families who missed us and are glad to see us back will never truly understand what we have just gone through. This does not mean they don’t care. They just don’t know how to understand.
I remember having a conversation about hiking mountains with another Fellow by the name of Drew. And then he threw a simile at me which I must share with you guys. He said that embarking on a Global Citizen Year is like climbing a mountain. When you get to the peak, you feel great: the feeling of accomplishment; the bird-eye view of mother nature; the satisfyingly fresh air in your lungs. But when you get down from the mountain? Nobody really cares that you’ve gotten to the peak. But it doesn’t matter to you what they say. You still feel great; it’s like a silent victory inside of you. But it’s a sweet victory.
So then my fellow Fellows and I all have just climbed to the top. We understand each other, because although we’ve climbed different mountains, we did it together. And I think I speak for most, if not all, of us when I say this: I am going to look for more mountains to climb.