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Greetings From Greece (NY!)

Greetings friends! My name is Liam Seeley and I reside in the large town of Greece (~100k people) adjacent to the city of Rochester, NY (~200k people) and Lake Ontario. I suppose our fun fact is that we have 4 public high schools, each named something Greek-related, at least in theory (Athena, Arcadia, Odyssey (!!), and Olympia). We are home to 3 different Wegmans (with its diehard grocery fans), 4 very different seasons (manifested sometimes all in one day), and at least 5 of many other things.

Podcasts are one of my primary mechanisms of keeping mentally occupied, so I often will pair Brookings Cafeteria or NPR with 2-3 mile walks year-round (what blizzard?). Ever since a friend convinced me to join the tennis team, it has been my go-to communal recreation, besides occasional ultimate frisbee games. When I’m especially restless, I sing and play guitar whilst lamenting my lack of ability on the piano. I also relax with music from the more folksy/indie to R&B. Reading has become a secondary recreation recently, though I hope to change that in the upcoming year. Currently in my to-read pile is Reich’s Saving Capitalism, Anderson’s Imagined Communities, and Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise (a Princeton classic of course).

Like most people, I’m most curious about things that I only barely understand, like institutions, philosophy, quantum physics, space, weird rhythms, systems of exchange, love, the vastness of nature (the ocean is WACK), borders, and why people don’t vote. More academically, I have spent some time on the classic question of the coup of Salvador Allende (from my point of view, it was the military’s desire to preserve the sanctity of the state in face of a chaotic civil/political society– I think that the role of the US is over-credited by northern historians), as well as the failure of Nixon’s surprisingly progressive welfare reform legislation, the Family Assistance Program (white southern politicians want(ed) to preserve state and economic institutionalizations of oppression/racism, but this poses the question of why Nixon would even propose such a program in the first place). I have a distaste for the conversationally conflict-averse and enjoy discussing policies, politics, religion/spirituality, and the validity of Modern Monetary Theory (look it up, it’s intriguing… I may or may not have spent a lot of time last summer watching economists debate).

I am excited to try humintas, consisting of corn flour (masa), corn, salt, queso, lard (or for those with un paladar dulce– cinnamon, sugar, and raisins). While not unique to Bolivia, they are traditionally Andean. Perhaps I might be able to top it off with some mocochinchi, a sweet peach-cinnamon drink. Trying to hold to my vegetarianism on the ground may prove difficult, but things like humintas give me hope.

Recently I have been trying to focus consciously on thinking in Spanish, which has been mildly successful over the past month. Besides this and reading the great books that Dragons so kindly sent, I have also been watching Spanish TV shows on Netflix with Spanish subtitles on, and while the shows are neither Bolivian nor entirely academic, they are exciting! I recently finished Las Chicas Cable (1920s Spain) and am a few episodes into Club de Cuervos (more modern Mexico). While I’m sure I won’t be fluent upon arrival, I hope to be a bit more exposed to it than I otherwise would be. In the meantime, I have been attempting to live intentionally and presently, just as I hope to do in the next nine months.

¡Espero que todos estén bien, y los veré pronto!