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

Good Hello Everyone!

Hey everyone!

I’ve been reading your introductions, so I figured it was about time to write one of my own.

My name is Madeline. Some people call me that. Some people call me Maddie. Some people call me Lena. Some people call me Mads. I’ll probably just pick one at random when we meet, that’s usually how it happens.

A central part of my identity revolves around my sense of place. I was raised in a small mountain town in Utah called Park City. There I learned to love nature and eventually learned to love hiking. Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time at UC Berkeley studying physics. I find that the whole environment can be quite stifling though, so I revel in the opportunity to escape the concrete jungle by exploring the area’s regional parks or by taking a short flight back home for a few days to see real mountains. In Utah, I have also learned how to harsh the weather. A good snow day means awesome skiing but also means frozen toes at the end of the day.

Staring at a sky full of stars with a few nice people by my side and maybe a guitar on my lap will always be my favorite activity. I’ve wanted to go to space since I was a little girl and found out that no woman has ever been on the moon. I plan to change that in my lifetime. My current plan is to become a space doctor. I also can’t wait to see the stars from a whole new perspective and hopefully with less light pollution than at home.

Besides the outdoors, music has been another central theme in my life. I find myself remembering events and people like a soundtrack. I play guitar and sing almost every day and find myself writing weird songs instead of studying for school. I also listen to a ton of music. I can’t wait to learn more about all of your tastes in music and the music traditions in Bolivia and Peru.

What I will probably miss the most while in South America is my hiking buddies, my two dogs. While back in Utah, I’ve had a warm body on my bed every night and I will definitely miss that.

Some more random facts about me:

  • I get really stuck on TV shows so sometimes I will watch a series more than one time. I’m on my second time through Grey’s and my third time through Friends.
  • I’m a Pisces. I have no idea what that means. Sometimes people are into horoscopes so if that’s you, this one’s for you.
  • I make killer banana bread and that’s about one of ten foods that I can make
  • My favorite movie is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I’ve seen in probably twenty times by now.
  • My favorite songs of all time are “Dirty Paws” by Of Monsters and Men and “Emmylou” by First Aid Kit.
  • I love tea and my favorite kind is Mango.

I can’t wait to meet you all in Miami in two weeks! Safe travels!