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Photo by Caleb Brooks

Hey Everyone!!!

One of my passions is creative writing so theoretically this Yak plays to my strengths…well, at least you’ll see the difference between being passionate about something and being good at it.

Hi! I’m Sijbren. My Dad is Dutch-American and my Mom is from the Philippines. Now, you may or may not be familiar with the stereotype of European/American man travels to Asia and meets pretty local girl, but in my parents’ case it was sort of the other way around. Filipina girl (My Mom) travels to study and work in California and meets pretty local man (My Dad).

When I was four years old my Mom decided to drag us back to the Philippines, and that’s where I’ve lived for the past 14 years. I was exposed to this new, vibrant, flawed world and many of my passions grew out of that. I love writing short stories about my experience of the Philippines — I wrote about the blind beggar who works the intersection in front of my apartment building.

The Philippines is a country of 7,000 islands, with the ocean dividing and permeating the landmass. I love the ocean, snorkeling and scuba diving. One of the most magical experiences of my life was swimming with an ancient green sea turtle – close enough to see the algae growing on its shell. This passion transitioned into coral reef conservation and community-based coral gardening (a natural way to transplant coral fragments on a rocky coral nursery in order to rehabilitate reefs). Through this experience, I realized that I’m interested in sustainable conservation/economic development in general, which I hope to explore in India.

But my greatest passion is definitely Netflix. Haha just kidding (based on time allocation you’d 100% think so). Consistent with this passion, I watched the two-part Bollywood movie on Netflix, Baahubali, telling myself that I was preparing for BY India. Believe me, by the second part I was completely emotionally invested.

I hope to be just as emotionally invested in BY India with all of you guys. I can’t wait to meet everyone and have an amazing time!!!