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Andean priest and spiritual leader, Don Fabian Champi Apaza. Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.

things have happened

hi!

I am the last to yak, which is major thanks to my unappeasable gmail account, so to loves at home im trying to outsmart the computer and ill get back to you soon, hopefully some of you find this update!

I don´t really have means to begin to summarize all of my thoughts and feelings about this incredible experience so far so I am going to bullet things/thoughts and laughs that have made up the past three weeks.

  1. Culture shock is a thing and it fades. When all at once everything is so different it can be hard to emotionally compartmentalize all that is happening but its so important to feel things out.
  2. The experience of traveling in Peru versus Bolivia that I have sensed even in the first three days of being here is slightly shocking. I am mindful of knowing that Peru might have felt less like home because it was our first taste of South America, but  I believe the super stark contrast of tourism in the rural Indigenous communities versus Cusco played into my personal challenges assimilating as a traveler in the country.  It was so interesting moving from places where we were so unexpected into a city of blinding tourism, and is something I am so grateful to have experienced. Bolivia so far is so different in that manner. As a country less dependent on the business of foreigners, it has been much easier to explore authenticity while feeling less intrusive, even in the first three days. I am so excited to see what the next two months bring.
  3. AUSANGATE!! Our five days there was my absolute favorite part of Peru. I couldn´t believe how diverse each hour of our trek was in terms of scenery. So much beauty thrived where my lungs did not and it did more than the 16500 ft elevation did in terms of taking my breath away. On our last day it snowed during a few minutes of independent thought among the these massive glaciers and it was one of the most magestic moments ever. Also on this trek we were among indigenous sacred land, that belonged to Peruvians living there and it did much to challenge and provoke thought surrounding my definition of nature as it relates to people. Also, all food tastes better outside when you´re freezing.
  4. Limes. They should be squeezed on every meal. Don´t know why this is just a thing I have done here but it´s dope and I am going to do it at home.
  5. We spoke to Fabian, an 18 year old Venezuelan immigrant that we met at the restraunt we went to to celebrate Lucas and Piper´s birthdays. His story is one of the most humbling, incredible things I have ever listened to and I can´t appropriately summarize his strength quickly enough but it made me think much about my age, opportunities and citizenship in addition to immigration as it differs from the U.S.
  6. The La Paz teleferico system was such a cool way of viewing a city for our one day there, and we were able to see much propaganda about the upcoming presidential election.
  7. Morning runs in Tiquipaya become less optional when you encounter dogs that don´t like you or you get suuuper lost too close to breakfast time. I´m going to try Hansel and Gretle-ing it with bread to see if that helps.
  8. I am doing my ISP on Bolivian journalism where I am going to the library to access public archives tomorrow with Jac who has already taught me so much!! I can´t wait.
  9. Group B is chillin, we have yet to storm and are good at sharing snacks.
  10. This is what came to mind in the chaos of trying to summarize everything but overall I am overwhelmed with how much of a privilege it is to be here.

XX, Lia