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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

Who Knew

Today is a special day. It is special because I was able to live another healthy day in the masked but aesthetic valley of Urubamba. It is a special day because I was able to listen to my favorite song Who Knew by Pink. It is a special day becuase I get the ability to simply be me today and share my voice with you all – the dragon family.

What a journey it has been so far – a journey of growth, cultural immersion and understanding, community, and challenging new experiences. It is crazy to think that for such a small period of time in our long life, so much change can occur at such a rapid and sometimes unforgiving pace.

I appreciate all of it.

My moments of confusion, embarassment with my Spanish limitations in el mercado, hardships on the unforgiving Andes (i.e. RAIN), are all the perfect moments to learn and grow as a young but eager traveler.

The other day, I was sitting in a tienda eating a traditional plate here in Urubamba se llama Lomo Saltado (discretion: only for meat eaters). While I was eating and enjoying the delicious fresh cooked meat and vegetables, I took out a pen and paper to write a rather spontaneous poem of sorts. Titled Unapologetically Ignorant, it goes something like this:

I have lived unapolagetically ignorant

I have grown up with so many unaware,´taken-for-granted´, and unquestioned advantages

Food security, advanced educational systems, the opportunity to feel empowered, the ability for my voice to be heard

These ´privilages´ were how I lived

I grew up ignorant

I live today challenging my beliefs and modes of comfort – my ignorance

I open my eyes to different cultures and extranjeros who I have never met, but I see me in them

A love for family, tradition, the right to be happy and free, and the right to be who they truly are

We are all humans.

We all share Pacha Mama and we all live a life of appreciation for so many things: community, love, and of course nice hot delicious croissants

Today I challenge my ignorance

Once, in my past, my ignorance served a purpose

Now, as I grow wiser and travel the world with a bigger voice,

I choose to lose my unapologetically ignorant-self.

This sort of poem was a reflection and realization of how much I stressed about not being cultured, worldly, or knowing anything about the world outside my ´neighborhood bubble´. Why must I worry and abuse myself for how I grew up. My ignorance of other cultures, religions, and lifestyles played a role, a purpose. It kept me safe and grounded; that is why I was apologetically ignorant. With this though, I have made a choice; a choice to be open and challenge my ignorance in search of a new self – a truth.

A dynamic lifestyle of travel – from Lares to Calca to Urubamba (all beautiful and rich pueblos in Peru) and soon to be Bolivia- has allowed me as well as my fellow dragon-mates to experience the cultures and daily routines of the peruanos in the most respectful, ´immersful´, and humbling of ways possible.