The plunge

Jacob Stern - Ecuador

August 30, 2011

Global Citizen Year is damn good looking. But when I met everyone for the first time when US training began, we were truly motley crew. At any given lunch table, I’d catch slang from the cornfields of Iowa, the mountains of New Hampshire, the swamps of Florida, and the hills of San Francisco.

Initially, cultures collided. In fact, I had to deal with my first Nebraskan. Serious struggles. I thought the only two things in Nebraska were corn and steak. She reports that between the corn and steak, there are people.

But now everyone’s tight. Everybody is trying to be better than that kid they were in high school. It’s what people do with fresh starts. Group conversations became less about where we come from, and more about where we’re going. Literally—I found out I’ll work at a clinic that provides traditional and western medicine in the Andes. I’m so stoked.

Everything here is coming to a close, but things are really just beginning. I’ll have to say goodbye to new friends. It seems unnatural to scatter us across the globe so soon. It’s sad, yet also so exciting. In short, we leave tomorrow—and life is full of contradictions:

We’ve anticipated this moment for months, but now we’re told to have no expectations. In one of the most exciting times in our lives, we are asked to be patient. And after weeks of learning about global development, we’re told to focus on our personal growth. It’s very easy to lose sight of why we are here.

Today we travel to new places, unsure of what’s ahead. We’ve learned so much more about the coming year, but things seem to be so much more uncertain. And now, we plunge into it.

Jacob Stern