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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

Hey!

“Happy New Year”, someone said to me yesterday, a bit strange since 2018 started more than two weeks ago. But I guess it is finally the “New Year”, life is starting to settle down again after the holidays. Having said goodbyes to my siblings, I am beginning to get back into routines (I expect my family and many of you are doing the same), as well as eating less cake. Although I love the cadences of my life, one of the things I am most excited about 2018 is how different it will be to any previous years, especially the time spent on this course. I guess that’s what I am most looking forward to about visiting Peru and Bolivia, a change of habits, and a routine that I probably would not experience otherwise. At the moment, I’m in the middle of a gap year, between school and college, so it seemed like a good time to switch it up and travel.

For the past few months, since I finished school, I’ve been doing internships in architecture, which have been interesting and more applied than normal schoolwork. This program really appealed to me because it provides an opportunity to continue this hands-on approach. One thing that I would like to investigate (possibly through my ISP), is the use of sustainable architecture and other environmental practices to mitigate the environmental impact of urbanisation in Bolivia and Peru.

Another thing you should know about me is that I run, and I love to talk about it. If you run and haven’t read Haruki Murakami’s ‘what I talk about when I talk about running’, I will happily lend it to you. Also, if you want, bring your trainers and hopefully we can find some trails! As I live in a city (not saying where!), running lets me get outdoors and into nature, which is one of the reasons I am excited about trekking and being able to experience the nature that Bolivia and Peru has to offer. Another reason, is the remoteness of the mountains, having read Touching the Void several years ago I was amazed that a place could be so faraway from any hub. Although, I have only done a bit of trekking in the past, everything I’ve learnt about extended treks makes them seem incredible and I hope they live up to it. Apart from running, I boulder (climb) with friends. Although I can’t really do any fancy routes, some of my friends can and I always watch in awe as they do something that seems physically impossible.

Some random thoughts:

• My music taste is incredibly varied, so I will sing along to pretty much anything.
• Has anybody else been practising their ‘sorry I don’t understand’ smile? I know very little Spanish, so I’m pretty nervous about communicating.
• Games? Any ideas? I was thinking of bringing cards, because cards against humanity seemed just a little bit inappropriate.
• Any books you recommend that haven’t been suggested? In general or about South America.
• I’m getting into Miami wayyy too early and I will most definitely be asleep so please wake me up if you see me.
• Food: another thing I am excited about. I haven’t had much Peruvian or Bolivian food in the past, so this will be a culinary adventure for me. What about you?

I hope I haven’t overloaded you with too many random things.

I look forward to getting to know you in a few weeks!