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INSTRUCTOR INTRODUCTION – PAOLA FLORES

Dear students,

I have started to count the days left to meet, soon we will be together to share four weeks full of adventures, learnings, new flavors and so many other surprises that the opportunity to be in Peru will give us. I have been lucky enough to live for a year in this wonderful country and I was surprised by its mountains, lakes, seas, its lush forest, and of course its history.

Peru has magic and I feel that magic when I remember the memories of the people that I have worked with in restaurant kitchens, I also remember that there was magic in the smiles of the diners when they used to see me arriving to the tables with their plates. I remember and I can almost imagine the smell of the beach and the temperature of the cold water with which I woke up very early in Lobitos, a surfpoint on the north coast of Peru, a place known for its great waves. At that time I was manager of a hostel where guests visited Peru and exclusively Lobitos to surf, it was crazy to know that they only came to Lobitos to surf, having so much to learn from Peru! When I lived in the jungle, in Iquitos, everything seemed to have life around me and I marveled at the infinite amount of green tones that could be found among the different plants and the night sounds were wonderful too! Sounds of different insects, of animals I could not recognize, of wind or rain, mixed sounds that used to help me to sleep and to have the most fantastic dreams.

I was born in Potosí, Bolivia and since I was a child I had the opportunity to travel constantly. That made me curious about knowing new things and places.

I studied psychology and worked in an NGO which works to established libraries in rural areas. My most recent work as a psychologist was with women who were victims of violence, a hard but empowering role.

Another job that brought me many smiles was to have a small pastry shop delivery service; I love cooking! During a season I worked as a photographer. Lately I have learned to make jewelry with flowers and dry leaves, and being close to nature makes me happy!

I just finished instructing the Andes & Amazon semester with Dragons.  A few weeks ago while we were sleeping surrounded by the mountains of Peru, the straw roof of the stone house where we stayed began to drip, the drops fell near my head and for a moment I thought it was rain. “It will pass” I said to myself and I went back to sleep, when I woke up I was surprised to see that the little stone house and the surroundings were covered with snow.  It was a beautiful sight.

Every trip is unique, as every one of us is also unique; let’s meet with an open heart and the desire to learn, to question, to grow. I remember feeling a mix of emotions with a little fear when I decided to leave my office job to venture on a journey that does not end and that makes me look inward to try to understand and learn from what surrounds me. I thank life for that!

Qué felicidad reunirnos pronto!

Saludos con cariño desde Bolivia

Paola Flores

[email protected]