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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010


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I love surfing. I love the cold water and the warm sun, and the smell of wax. I love the hours spent in coffee shops, completely exhausted because we surfed until waaaaaay past sunset. I love the focus of being on a wave, hearing the water sliding beneath the board, the wind in your face, concentrating so hard on every little shift of your weight that will take the board back up the face of the wave, stall at the top and then glide back down. I love the intensity and heightened senesitivity that you get when you are trying to harness something like the power of the ocean.

You might ask why I told you this, and what it could possible have to do with Dragons, but it has everything to do with Dragons. This feeling, the exuberance and exhaltaion of experience is what I felt for three solid months in Bolivia and Peru. The feeling that before Dragons I had really only captured in fleeting moments. Before Dragons I would feel it dropping into a bigger wave, or when I broke the surface of the water after being roughed up a bit to fill my lungs with air and once again realize that I am in a beautiful bay that is filled with pink morning light. Dragons showed me that feeling like this does not just come from surfing.

I was scared coming back to the states that I would lose this intensity and passion with which I had begun to live. My fear increased as I drove through suburban south Florida after arriving in Miami. The land was flat, there were no people on the street because everyone was in their cars, there were no cholitas, no women with blankets of salty andean cheese, no colorful aguyos, just strip malls that all looked the same. That first night I checked my email five times to see if Sarah had sent out the contact information, I wanted so badly to call Lauren or Sophia, or anybody from Dragons. The email did not come and I went to bed feeling empty and rather dreadful of the rest of the transition to come.

After Florida I flew to San Diego and moved one of my best friends, Myah, out of her dorm; then we stared driving up the coast towards home, stopping in LA for two days to see my other best friend, Sam. It was during those days, checking the surf, surfing on a sunny morning, having underwater photoshoots all while making fun of Sam's UCLA photography class, that I started to realize I could find that passion and intensity wherever I am.

Driving up highway 101 along the coast, stoping at a fruit stand in the late afternoon sun to buy avocados, we could not stop talking about how beautiful this place that we live is. We talked about our dreams of renting a place just big enough to fit the three of us and our boards, and our dreams of starting a buisness that incorporates everything that we love (the short list is: surfing, cool people, and tasty food). This is when Myah said something that made me realize how I am going to carry the feeling the Dragons left me with into my life in the states. She said, "We talk about all of these things like we don't have them. But we do, we make them for ourselves with our haphazard surf trips, our hours of surfing at home, and with the people we choose to hang out with."

That is when my fear of losing the feeling that Dragons left me with subsided, because I realized that I will only choose to live in places that inspire and drive me and I will choose to surround myself with people who want to suck the marrow out of life as much as I do. So thank you Dragons for helping me realize why I am so hopelessly in love with surfing and that I can expand that energy into my entire existence.

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

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Why I Love Surfing

Kaitlyn Manishin,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

Description

I love surfing. I love the cold water and the warm sun, and the smell of wax. I love the hours spent in coffee shops, completely exhausted because we surfed until waaaaaay past sunset. I love the focus of being on a wave, hearing the water sliding beneath the board, the wind in your face, […]

Posted On

05/25/10

Author

Kaitlyn Manishin

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After seeing Lauren onto her flight (while doing sass) I decided to walk around the Miami airport in an attempt to kill the two hours until my flight. In retrospect, this was probably not a fantastic idea. I have had alone time over the past few months, but there was always a program house to return to, a rainfly to unzip and climb under, or a familiar face to recognize in the plaza. Now, for the first time in a while, I found myself actually alone in an unfamiliar place.

I sat down against a wall and got to thinking. For some reason, my mind wandered to something I learned about in Asuncion. I recalled the necklaces worn by the children; beaded with jungle nuts, teeth, and seeds, they adorned the necks of most of the village kids. In particular, I remembered the ants strung onto the jewelry of the younger boys. That species of ant is a solitary, independent one, and parents adorn their sons with these creatures as inspiration to walk alone in the jungle without fear.

In the airport I decided that I have my own beads and ants, though I can't wear them on a string around my neck. They are the mountains that humbled me at their bases and then brought me to places higher than anywhere i've been, where the air is shockingly fresh and the black sky is endless and freckled. They are evenings in the Amazon, when the air cools for half an hour before sunset. For a short while, there are no pestering bugs to distract from dreams of the dark jungle or the rushing river. There is only lush green interrupted by fading sunlight and punctuated by birds and bulbous, wide-eyed frogs.

My group is another bead (we have so many beads, guys). Not in a cheesy way, either. They're just really cool and smart; I am blessed to know them in many bizarre and wonderful ways. I miss listening to them talk, and talking to them.

There are many more: muddy water, "buenos días," chakanas, coca leaves, glacial water, gold-capped smiles, post-apocalyptic landscapes, Sarah, Luispe, Mateo, black and white night vision, river mud, "La Paz, La Paz, La Paaaz!" bowler hats, and polleras.

Sitting there in the airport, I figured that these beads might make up the most beautiful piece of jewelry I own. And I felt more prepared to walk independently - but not alone - into the jungle.

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

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The Coolest Jewelry I Own

Sophia Rabb,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

Description

After seeing Lauren onto her flight (while doing sass) I decided to walk around the Miami airport in an attempt to kill the two hours until my flight. In retrospect, this was probably not a fantastic idea. I have had alone time over the past few months, but there was always a program house to […]

Posted On

05/14/10

Author

Sophia Rabb

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    [post_content] => After spending 91 days in Bolivia and Peru, the students are on their way home! (With the exception of Jamie, who will fly home from Lima next week.)

Our final week was busy: ISP presentations in Sorata, a weekend at Lake Titicaca on the Isla del Sol, and two final days in La Paz. The course ended on a high note, with lots of time for reflection, celebration, and FUN.

To all of the parents and others who made this course possible: thank you! Luispe, Mateo, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the last 13 weeks with Bridget, Henry, Jamie, Jane, Kaitlyn, Kenzie, Kevin, Lauren, and Sophia. [post_title] => On their way Home... [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => on-their-way-home-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-05-12 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48566 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 390 [name] => Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010 [slug] => andes-amazon-b-semester-spring-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 390 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 257 [count] => 97 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 22.1 [cat_ID] => 390 [category_count] => 97 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010 [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-b-semester-spring-2010 [category_parent] => 257 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2010/andes-amazon-b-semester-spring-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010 )

Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

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On their way Home…

I-Team,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

Description

After spending 91 days in Bolivia and Peru, the students are on their way home! (With the exception of Jamie, who will fly home from Lima next week.) Our final week was busy: ISP presentations in Sorata, a weekend at Lake Titicaca on the Isla del Sol, and two final days in La Paz. The […]

Posted On

05/12/10

Author

I-Team

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Dear Parents,

There has been a small change on the timing of the Andes and Amazon return flight. Please see routing information below for the most up to date arrival information.

Returning Flight

May 12th

American Airlines #AA 922

Depart: La Paz (LPB) 6:30AM

Arrive: Miami (MIA) 4:35PM

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

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Update on Return Flight Information

The Boulder Admin,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Dear Parents, There has been a small change on the timing of the Andes and Amazon return flight. Please see routing information below for the most up to date arrival information. Returning Flight May 12th American Airlines #AA 922 Depart: La Paz (LPB) 6:30AM Arrive: Miami (MIA) 4:35PM

Posted On

05/7/10

Author

The Boulder Admin

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So we enter into the final week... heads and hearts full to the brim, we begin to process what we have lived, looking back over the past months and looking forward to transitioning to the next thing in all our lives - while remaining present to the wonders that still surround us and the group that still supports us.

We will be flying out of Rurrenabaque tomorrow, since our plan to bus the 20 hours back has been thwarted by numerous road blockades between here and La Paz. Apparently, or so goes one story,there's a severe gasoline shortage because of smuggling to neighboring countries to sell at cut-rate prices, a situation made possible by heavy goverment subsidies on fossil fuels... and so several communities are protesting by blockading. The other story says that there's a citrus plant that officials are thinking of building in one of two cities, and the city that thinks they're about to be passed up is protesting. In any case, we'll be soaring right over their heads. Wouldn't be Bolivia without blockades and protests!

Upon arrival in La Paz, we'll be heading to Tiwanaku, the ancient pre-incan ruins, with the famous sun gate and the monumental architecture built on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Then, we'll head back for a few final days in Sorata to present our Independent Service Projects to the group and say a final goodbye to our home base here. Finally, we'll spend two days on Isla del Sol, the mythical island where the Sun god was born, from which we'll look out across the Altiplano to the glaciated peakswe just recently hiked around.

Then a final day in La Paz, and we fly! Looking forward to finishing with some final days of good times with the group, before we all head our separate ways...

Abrazos a todos,

Mateo, Luispe and Sarah

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

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Finishing up…

Mateo Hinojosa,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

Description

So we enter into the final week… heads and hearts full to the brim, we begin to process what we have lived, looking back over the past months and looking forward to transitioning to the next thing in all our lives – while remaining present to the wonders that still surround us and the group […]

Posted On

05/4/10

Author

Mateo Hinojosa

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This morning is trying to pretend it´s not

wet. A lone palm tree blurs itself, through my

eyelashes, through the barred and bugnetted

window, trying to become the sky - same

color as the crescent moon bases of my

fingernails, cradled agianst my skin.

This sky, it is speared along the

edges by peaks of mountians we´ve been

climbing and I imagine that it too has

developed a sort of low grade

stockhom syndrom for them.

Sophia´s bed is empty. Leaving the lazy

breeze to rest along the crests of wrinkled

ridges she has created while she was

sleeping. I watched her form them

when I awoke last night to thunder. And saw

she was illuminated by lightening.

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

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Room Two, Hotel Bella Vista

Bridget Harkness,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

Description

This morning is trying to pretend it´s not wet. A lone palm tree blurs itself, through my eyelashes, through the barred and bugnetted window, trying to become the sky – same color as the crescent moon bases of my fingernails, cradled agianst my skin. This sky, it is speared along the edges by peaks of […]

Posted On

05/4/10

Author

Bridget Harkness

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

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Amazon Photos

Instructor Team,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Posted On

05/3/10

Author

Instructor Team

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Hello there! I´m writing from an internet café in Rurrenabaque, the city in the Amazon where we arrived yesterday after Asunción. We´ve covered lots of (very different) ground on our expedition and are now moving into disorientation. After a very long three months away, I can say that it feels pretty nice to be winding down and spending oru last week or so just hanging out with the group. There have been a lot of road blocks throughout Bolivia so we´re still kind of figuring out how to get back to La Paz, but our tentative plan for the rest of the time here is Rurre > La Paz > Sorata> Isla del Sol> La Paz > home!

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

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In Rurre

Jane Dowd,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Hello there! I´m writing from an internet café in Rurrenabaque, the city in the Amazon where we arrived yesterday after Asunción. We´ve covered lots of (very different) ground on our expedition and are now moving into disorientation. After a very long three months away, I can say that it feels pretty nice to be winding […]

Posted On

05/3/10

Author

Jane Dowd

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I currently have red polka dotted legs, the backs of my hands look like the back of a toad, and you probably would not want to stand down wind from me; but I was still a sad when I said good bye to my host mom in Asuncion. For the record, that was the first homestay that I actually had to say good bye to, seeing that I have avoided saying goodbye to all the others by planning visits.

Asuncion was a challenge, it was buggy and it was hot, hotter when the sun came out. But once again I had another incredible homestay. It started out a little rough, my mom was shy and it was hard to get her to talk and even smile. Also, at dinner the first night I got eaten alive through all of my clothes, I was flinching everytime I could feel a skeeter bite me and could hardly eat. It was also discouraging when I set up my mosquetero for the first time and entered to find no less than 10 mossies, all of which needed to be stalked and killed before I could sleep. Needless to say the next morning I was feeling a bit discouraged. However, then things started to turn, because breakfast was a quarter of a pancake, scrambled eggs (not to oily), platano frito, fresh oranges with fresh grapefruit jiuce. Yes, oh yes it was that good. That day I went to work in the rice field with my grandpa, who was very funny and pointed out aspects of the forest on the walk there. I started to get a sense for the way of life when in the morning we left an hour later than planned because it had been raining earlier in the dayand the rice needed to dry out a bit. Then after lunch (and a siestaduring which I sat on the bench outside my front door for and hour and a half and watched the clouds)when I met him at 2 he told me sientate no mas, vamos a esperar un rato para ver la lluvia, quieres un poco de chica de yucca. I was then served a refresco of boiled yucca and sugar while we chewed coca, chatted, and watched the clouds change. It didn´t rain so we went to work more. On the way to the chaco he gave me a ring, that he had made out of a seed that we had picked up on our walk in the morning. He understood that I was not used to harvesting rice, but that I tried, and worked a about a day and a half with him. Gracias por la ayuda, es poquito, pero ayuda es ayuda, no mas.

Things started to go up and my chance one night I had to wait for my water to finish iodineing for that I could brush my teeth, so I sat in the kitchen and wrote in my journal. My host parents were also sitting there and I ended up chatting with them for about and hour. It was so cool just to talk about theMoseten people, their traditions, their fight for their culture and their language, and their stories. I almost got my dad to telll me their creation story, but he said that it take 1 or 2 horas, so he gave me a summary. I went to bed very content and decided that it was time to break through to my host mom. So in the morning I got up at 5:45 and brushed my teeth outside under the bright moon, then I sat in the doorway of the kitchen and watched her cook until she started letting my help. I personally don´t think that she minded having someone to carry the heavy water bucket, though I couldn´t figure out how the peel the oranges in the cool spiraly way that they do.

Moral of the story is the Moseten are guardians of the rainforest. It is a mutually symbiotic relationship. Without these people, living in this area, the forest would be razed, the river would be damned, and there would be no forest there. And the people live off the forest, they have visited the altiplano, and say that they could not live there because there are no trees, and they need the trees. It is a unique and wonderful relationship that I was honored to witness from inside their own home. I hope that the Moseten win in their fight, and right now I think that they might because all the woman in the village were pregnant or had new babies, the children don´t learn spanish until they enter school, and on Monday the first Moseten textbook will arrive in Asuncion. (A project that my host dad worked on for 3 years)

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

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From Where the Be Grapefruits

Kaitlyn Manishin,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

Description

I currently have red polka dotted legs, the backs of my hands look like the back of a toad, and you probably would not want to stand down wind from me; but I was still a sad when I said good bye to my host mom in Asuncion. For the record, that was the first […]

Posted On

05/2/10

Author

Kaitlyn Manishin

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    [post_content] => How do I embrace every droplet of this river when all I am thinking about are the people and comforts of home? I look at the back of Luispe´s Dragons shirt and remeber how pumped I was to receive my package with that shirt. And where am I now? Cruisin down the Beni River in the Amazon, which is far superior to a Research in Psych II final and typical friend or romantic drama. It´s interesting finding the balance between being fully present and engaged in Bolivia and counting down the days until I´m home. I don´t want to feel guilty for the way I feel, but I also don´t want to lose sight of why I´m here...ever. For instance, I was dreading the Amazon: unbearably hot and humid, buggy, and the advantage is lots of grapefruits )which I thought I hated. But I willed myself to look at the Amazon another way. We arrived in Assuncion and it was possibly the cleanest, most beautiful town in which we had landed. The sense of community in this 28 family village is obviously evident to any outsider. I think the most frequent phrase I heard this past week was "¿está bien?" (are you good?) because everyone in Assuncion was so warm and hospitable. As it turned out, th weather was hot-not unbearable, and grapefruits (and bananas, coconuts, oranges, and platanos) fresh off the tree are beyond delicious. It´s hard to believe we´ve reached the final stretch of this adventure. My goal is to simply continue to be present and appreciate the many wonders that still surround me.
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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

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In the Moment

Lauren Silberman,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2010

Description

How do I embrace every droplet of this river when all I am thinking about are the people and comforts of home? I look at the back of Luispe´s Dragons shirt and remeber how pumped I was to receive my package with that shirt. And where am I now? Cruisin down the Beni River in […]

Posted On

05/2/10

Author

Lauren Silberman

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