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Photo by Anna Hiltner

Reflection + Quick Update (September)

“Practice being comfortable feeling like a beginner again.” – Learning Service (196)

Although we are currently at Hostel Austria where there is WiFi, my phone is unwilling to recognize that there is internet, so I can’t use it for entertainment. Instead I have been finishing Learning Service, a book that Where There Be Dragons sent to all the Bridge Year kids before we arrived at Princeton for orientation. I didn’t finish any of the books they sent me so I took all three with me out of a sense of guilt and obligation. The line at the beginning of this Yak Post is something that struck me while reading a section on humility in Learning Service. I took a nap shortly after reading, but I made sure to dog ear page 196 because that line was important. I was a kid who had an easy time doing well in school, and over time I became incredibly afraid of deep challenge and failure. Although I took Spanish for four years, I can barely speak it because I was so afraid of messing up in class (even though there were no consequences for mistakes). All my recent challenges have been mostly private, where I don’t have to grow publically. Language is far different. With that in mind, my goal for the next month is to speak more. I can already feel myself discovering new words, and it is the same feeling I had 13 years ago when I learned to read in English. I think it is best described as awestruck. Like I have something  completely new to hold in my hands and marvel at.

On a different note, our group has left our 10 day homestays in El Alto. Tomorrow we will leave for our 3 day mountain trek, and today is our day of preparation. El Alto was a city of perpetual cold but also incredible warmth – usually in unexpected and delightful places around the city. I remember El Alto fondly for the teleferico, the foggy nights, and the bowls of hot soup that my host mom served Kat and I every day at lunch.  I remember wandering through art museums, laughing while watching It 2 (with dubbed Spanish), and getting goodnight hugs from Vero. Time has felt long because of the incredible disorientation. The last few weeks have been nothing like my previous life, and therefore they have been incredibly memorable.