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A young arriero leads a mule across fresh snow in the Peruvian Andes. Photo by Benjamin Swift (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest Finalist), South America Semester.

Hola everybody

Hi everybody,

This is Cat writing form the Guatemalan highlands. I recently went from central Guatemala to the far southwest and from there all the way to almost the other side of the country in the northeastern area. It has been a busy year, 2019. Leading people through my native home country and also in Peru. I flew back from Lima the first week of July and since then, I have been on the road. On the trip described at the beginning, which lasted a total of 40 days.

So as I write to you from my desktop computer with a cup of hot chocolate by my right side. I feel that I am enjoying a well-deserved, couple of resting days before beginning a new and exciting adventure with all of you.

In the meantime, I am pampering myself and also getting myself mentally prepared for what is coming. I’m trying not to slack on the physical side either. Although, I admit I am not the most physical person, I am doing my best to get my body moving, even if that just means walking everywhere to do my errands. I recently decided to dust off a novel which was gifted to me a while ago. The book is a thriller written by a Peruvian fiction writer. After being in Peru and because I will be going back soon; it made me feel like I could take the book in a whole new way. And I did, now I can better understand the context the story takes place in. And re imagine it all:  the characters, what they’re wearing, their accents and mannerisms, the smells and temperatures; all in a more accurate way. Or better said, in a way that now directly relates to my experiences in Peru and its people.

This struck me as a beautiful living metaphor of what this trip and experiences like it can mean in our lives. By travelling and learning I have re visited a small piece of my past and deepened my knowledge. Sometimes I truly believe it is not about how much more we can do or learn. Sometimes revisiting the past can help us move forward to build a future for ourselves and others. And opposed to having more and going further, having less and walking back in the paths of memory, time and history can teach us valuable lessons. A great Mayan poet said: “Now and then I walk backwards. If I only walked forward, I could tell you how it is to forget.”

I hope that as a community we can create a meaningful knowledge journey. I desire to be part of the memories that will remain in the aftermath of the trip. Which will become links to other places, people, other trips and dreams. I wish for us to live and be conscious of the present, revisit our past and bridge it to the present to continue weaving our own unique paths. For my students, I hope to cultivate in you love and respect for the places we go to and the people we meet. I hope we can all learn to be thankful for the opportunities we have, aware of what an amazing privilege it is to travel and conscious of the responsibility we have to each time and place.

 

Nos veremos pronto

Atentamente,  Cat