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Two Dragons welcome the sunrise with an improvised dance atop the Andes. Photo by Ryan Gasper.

¡¡Hola!!

Hello all!

So happy that we are doing introductions, I can’t wait to meet you all in just under 3 weeks!!!

So who am I?

I’m a girl raised on the ocean, who loves all things water (including rain).

I’m a student entering my junior year of college, using this opportunity to take a break from stressful, competitive learning, and instead focus on experiential, cooperative learning.

I’m an ultimate frisbee player and a runner. (Although I’ve been taking some yoga esque classes recently, and really really enjoying them)

I’m a singer. I love to sing. I sing all the time (specializing in Disney, Broadway, Beyonce, and Folk – weird mix, but all things I love). If I hadn’t told you this fact you’d be aware of it within knowing me for a day, because I sing pretty much non-stop.

I’m a foodie. I love good food. I love cooking good food. I love that food brings people together – eating with other people is one of my favorite things.

Consequentially, Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday, so I am excited to spend it with you all!!! I don’t think we’ll be able to replicate everything, (and I couldn’t cook a turkey if it spelled out all the instructions for me as we went) but I can promise you right now come hell or high water I’m gonna bake a pie. Taking suggestions for filling (maybe some cool Andean fruits?!?! I have no idea!).

Most importantly, I’m me! I’m not exactly sure completely who that is, I’m still finding a lot of parts of me, but hopefully we will all find each other on this journey together!

On this course I am really excited to develop my Spanish! I took Spanish in high school, but haven’t in the past couple of years, and am really hoping to kick it into gear! I am also so excited for our treks – just reading the itinerary got me pumped up! I love backpacking/hiking, and am amped for some longer treks! (I’ve done a couple of longer treks, but everything else I’ve done has been like 2/3 day hikes, and I’m really excited to push myself!) Lastly, I am so excited to meet all of you, and to learn with you this coming semester. Most of my college classes have been big lectures, with tons of people, so I am really ready to learn in an intimate setting, where all ideas are valued, and there is time to think, reflect, and discuss with one another.

This course is a bit of a turning point for me in my life (I think?). I am halfway through college, but instead of feeling invigorated by knowledge and learning, I have been feeling pretty stressed, tired, and worn out from the pressure of success/perfection. I think somewhere the value of knowledge and experience themselves got traded for the value of looking good on a resume, and I’d like to break out of that shell.

Lastly, in the packing list the instructors said if we had anything to add, to post it on a yak! I don’t know if this will be applicable for everyone, but I wanted to throw it out there that when packing my backpack, I like to separate everything into piles (camera gear, light layers, heavy layers, rain gear, etc.) and then put those separated piles into stuff sacks or dry bags. Then I can label the bags for the trip, and instead of having to dig around my pack a ton, I can have like 4 or 5 bags within my pack and just grab the one I need. Plus, and extra layer of waterproof really never hurt anyone. Ever.

Anyway, sorry this has been a bit of a long rant, but I am so excited to keep reading about you all and to meet you all soon!

¡Hasta pronto!

Sarah

P.S. a little more specificity on dressing appropriately for women would be uber appreciated! (e.g. thick tank tops? no shoulder showing? knees showing? tightness? hiking shorts?) I don’t really want to pack more than necessary, and would hate to bring things that I couldn’t actually wear!