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Photo by Benjamin Swift, Andes & Amazon Semester.

For My People

(This yak was written a few weeks ago in La Paz, Bolivia.) Something that has characterized my semester is the crazy amount of love and gratitude I have for my friends and how much easier they have made my transition away from home. When I try to explain what I´m doing during these 3 months, one important detail I find helpful to provide is that instead of having 1 or 2 roommates like my friends in college, I have 14. On any given night I share a room or tent with between 1 and 9 people, though most days we all spend every second together, either by choice or necessity. Everyone, including our 3 awesome instructors (hence the number 14), almost always sees me for all 3 meals, and has seen me looking gross and unhappy to be awake or sick of socializing, but also laughing and making stupid jokes or excitedly discussing Bolivian politics. From this community I have nothing to hide, and it´s a super freeing experience. Now that we are happily exploring La Paz, I want to share all the ways my people made my day today.


Ezra made me smile by wearing my flannel and black sombrero as we walked back from the Coca Museum, and he, along with Luca, who cracked me up with John Wick jokes during movie night, and especially Nico, who was particularly enthusiastic about movie night, made me giggle while trying to steal Maddy´s socks. Maddy sensed that I needed my music time and let me listen to Spotify while she checked her email, and she and I had the best cafe chats ever with Kesh, along with Sofie, who asked questions during our brief but fascinating charla about a feminist organization when I was too intimidated to do so. After dinner, Sofie and I huffed and puffed up a hilly street at altitude along with Bryn, who had the best reactions to seeing dogs as usual, just before we ran into Pao, who gave us the best hugs after we had missed her during her afternoon off. Afterwards, we continued following Randall, who had given us important history lessons about Bolivia as we walked through the city, and who made fun of me for my irrational plan to see my friend in group B (it worked, HA!), like Henry, who impressed me with his recent yak, and Rose, who split a delicious cinnamon roll with me after lunch, and took super fun dumb videos with Sam, who made me laugh with jokes about the weather changing in La Paz. Their cinematography skills were second only to those of Dani, who took the best photos as usual and is the cutest person ever, just like Sierra, who lit up the streets of La Paz today with her bucket hat. I ended today, like every day since I arrived in Bolivia, grateful for each of these people, and thankful to have 5 more weeks together.