Photo by Benjamin Swift, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Posts Tagged:

Transference

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    [ID] => 153730
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2018-09-27 11:32:46
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-09-27 17:32:46
    [post_content] => As a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, I grew quite fond of mealtime. Each afternoon and evening, my host family and I would gather around a large silver bowl placed upon a plastic mat. Squatting in the shade of the wide green arms of a mango tree, we scooped delicious fistfuls of savory sauces and white rice into our hungry mouths. Meals were completely satisfying. In my reflections, I realize that I was being nourished not only by the food, but also by the company I kept. Meals were a communal pause in our day, often followed by napping, drinking sweet mint tea, and braiding hair.

Upon returning to the States, I processed  my experience in Senegal by attending West African cultural events, printing myriads of black and white photographs, and cooking Senegalese food for friends. One of my favorite dishes to make was mafé gerte, or Senegalese Peanut Sauce. Simple yet scrumptious, this dish has served as one of the bridges between my Colorado mountain life and the years I resided in a round, earthen hut, gathering each day for the ageless ritual of sharing a meal.

Mafé Gerte

[caption id="attachment_153727" align="alignright" width="401"] Mafé Gerte pictured. Photo by Elke Schmidt, Senegal.[/caption]

Ingredients

  • Onion (1 large white)
  • Garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • Sweet potato (1 medium sized)
  • Carrots (2 medium sized)
  • Potato (1-2 medium sized)
  • Cabbage (approx 3 cups)
  • Habanero pepper
  • Oil of your choice (2-3 tsps)
  • Peanut Butter (½ cup to 1 cup depending on preference for thickness)
  • Tomato Paste (2 tsps - helps cut the sweetness of the peanut butter)
  • Water or broth (a bullion cube in water works well)
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper (Lots of it! A few tsps)
  • Cayenne (A pinch)
  • Rice
This dish is traditionally made with goat meat, which can be added with the onions if you prefer meat in your sauce. Directions:
  1. Cook rice while preparing sauce.
  2. Sauté onion in oil on medium heat until golden.
  3. Add vegetables including garlic, sweet potato, potato, and cabbage and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add 4-8 cups of water or broth (depending on how thick you like your sauce.)
  5. Once water is boiling, add peanut butter, tomato paste and spices.
  6. Turn to a low simmer and cook until sauce is reduced and vegetables are cooked (10-20 minutes).
  7. Serve over rice and enjoy!
Make sure you remove the habanero pepper so someone doesn’t get a hot surprise in their mouth. In the village, the pepper is passed around and dabbed on each person’s portion (it’s that hot!) Bon appetite! Ps. Do you have a favorite recipe from your travels that you'd like to share? Share it with megan@wheretherebedragons.com  
CO-DIRECTOR OF ADULT PROGRAMS
  [post_title] => Recipe for Senegalese Peanut Sauce Mafé Gerte [post_excerpt] => Upon returning to the States, I processed my experience in Senegal by attending West African cultural events, printing myriads of black and white photographs, and cooking Senegalese food for friends. One of my favorite dishes to make was mafé gerte, or Senegalese Peanut Sauce... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => recipe-for-senegalese-peanut-sauce-mafe-gerte [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-09-27 12:09:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-09-27 18:09:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 39 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 2 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 39 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 11 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 11 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community )
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    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2018-09-13 11:41:23
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-09-13 17:41:23
    [post_content] => Loving this sentiment so beautifully articulated by Jiwon Yun in her Yak titled, "New Horizons"...
I reconnected to a part of myself that was buried by years of strict schedules and iPhones and the ever present need to get from one place to another. [...] I was in a constant sense of awe and self-reflection; sitting in a boat in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but miles of water stretching into the distant horizon, a place so far from solid land and a sense of control I’d come to rely on..."
"I came on Bridge Year to widen my perspective, to discover parts of the world and parts of myself that were previously unknown, and to push myself to do things I might otherwise never get the chance to do. And everything I brought back with me – the sand in my clothes and the sunburn on my legs – they all remind me of the memories I made on this trip and the lessons I’ve learned as I reconnected to a part of myself that was buried by years of strict schedules and iPhones and the ever present need to get from one place to another. I was able to take a moment just to breathe. To see. To laugh. To exist without worrying. To learn. Like a child experiencing everything for the first time, I was in a constant sense of awe and self-reflection; sitting in a boat in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but miles of water stretching into the distant horizon, a place so far from solid land and a sense of control I’d come to rely on, I became comfortable with having nothing to do but sit with my thoughts. I realized that every step I have taken in my past had brought me to that one moment, and that every step I took in my future would take me to one of the horizons far ahead. I was overcome with a sense of possibility and gratitude, both for the moment and the many moments to come, and my ability to recognize my own opportunities and be grateful for them."

Read her full reflection on the Yak board.

[post_title] => Overhead on the Yak Board: Jiwon Yun on "New Horizons" [post_excerpt] => Loving this sentiment so beautifully articulated by Jiwon Yun in her Yak titled, New Horizons: "I reconnected to a part of myself that was buried by years of strict schedules and iPhones and the ever present need to get from one place to another." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => overhead-on-the-yak-board-jiwon-yun-on-new-horizons [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-09-13 11:51:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-09-13 17:51:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 39 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 2 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 39 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) ) [category_links] => From the Field )
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    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2018-08-16 10:56:40
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-16 16:56:40
    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_152682" align="aligncenter" width="431"]Guatemala Program Photo by Sydney Yang, Guatemala Summer Program.[/caption]

A lovely landing-home reflection from Guatemala Summer Student, Rose Fitzgerald:

As my final flight touches down, the bump of the wheels shudders through me and I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding.
It’s over. It’s all over. I’m home.
I step off the plane, down through the airport and into the waiting arms of my family. Pressed against my mother’s chest, I cry unashamedly. In a flurry of moments, we’re picking up my bags, walking out of the airport, piling into cars- real cars! – and driving away. In the New York night, surrounded by air conditioning and English, Guatemala feels like some sort of fantastic and hazy dream. I can’t quite tell what is fiction and what is fact, like maybe I made it all up in my head. At home, I stumble into the apartment and promptly dump everything into the washing machine. I shuck off my clothes, reeking of travel and sweat, and once I remember how to turn it on the shower feels like being reborn. In the hot water, I lather up my hair and body with soap and shampoo, caring for my countless cuts and bug bites and cleaning the last remnants of dirt from under each nail. Curled up on the shower floor, I silently wonder if my host mother from Cotzal has ever had a shower like this. I think of the square-meter shack of a bucket shower, laundry soap and a torn curtain hung so low I’d had to crouch. I have to keep myself from crying a second time. When I emerge from the shower, dripping wet and gloriously not-dirty, I pass the mirror in my room and have to stop and stare. I do not at first recognise the person staring out at me. While the changes are minor, they are changes all the same, and my eyes gobble them up, reading differences like a book. There are new scars on my body- long thin scrapes up my leg from a fall while swimming, now-permanent rub marks on my ankle from when I was too stubborn to tie my boot right, a single line on my right arm- a burn from an iron, the very first night in the Miami airport. Along my stomach, thighs and back, hundreds of fading bites dot my skin and I grimace, remembering the flea fiasco in Cotzal. And all over my body is the patchy, uneven tan that comes with wearing a strange mixture of swimsuits and hiking pants every day. The final thing I notice is that the way I hold myself has changed. I can picture the me of a month ago, probably stooped beneath the weight of a bag, wringing her hands and talking everyone’s ear off from nerves. Now, my back is straight, and when I squeeze my thigh I feel muscle, most likely from carrying that same heavy bag every single day. I feel stronger than I’ve ever been. My family ushers me to the table, eager to hear my stories and force food down my throat, regardless of the late hour. On the table in front of me they lay out toast, corn flakes, cookies, tea, a slice of cold cheese pizza- a veritable American feast. They grill me for details, asking about my host families, the food, the other students, the trek, on and on and on. It’s nearly one A.M. by the time I go to bed. I am wrapped up in clean clothes and cozy blankets and surrounded by everything that I love and I am so deeply exhausted but I cannot seem to sleep. I am startlingly aware of the ridiculous excess I find myself drowning in. There is wi-fi at my constant disposal, and a phone and a computer and a TV to use whenever I like. Our kitchen if stuffed to the brim with food, food and more food, some of which we will never eat. I own more than twenty different products, lipsticks and concealers and eyeshadows and liners that I can press over freckles and dark circles, to hide my face away, and I own more clothes than I could possibly need. Again, I am reminded of my family in Cotzal, who I did not see change their clothes once during my visit. I am disgusted with myself. In the dark of my room, my mattress soft and springy beneath me, the night is eerily quiet. Even the ever-present hum of the AC cannot replace the trucks and wagons and barking I expect to hear in the street below. It feels like there is a hole in my chest, aching and raw. Where there once were butterflies, nervous and bright in my chest there is now an empty ache. I want to feel them again, fluttering against my ribcage, their wings whispering adventure and yes.
I am still Rose. I am still that same person, silly and impulsive and alive.
But in my heart, I know that everything has changed. ~Fin

Read more featured student reflections on our Yak of the Week board.

[post_title] => At The End Of It All - Yak of the Week [post_excerpt] => "As my final flight touches down, the bump of the wheels shudders through me and I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding. It’s over. It’s all over. I’m home." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => at-the-end-of-it-all-yak-of-the-week [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-08-16 11:03:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-16 17:03:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 39 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 2 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 39 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) ) [category_links] => From the Field )
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    [post_date] => 2018-08-02 10:15:32
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-02 16:15:32
    [post_content] => 

This week on Instagram, we featured a story soliciting Alumni student tips on how to deal with the reintegration to life at home after returning from a Dragons program.

The past participant answers were so smart and insightful, we've decided to repost them here on the blog.  Read on for tips from people who have been there before, and know exactly how it feels.... Dragons Instagram Story Soliciting Tips for Reintegration
  1. Stay in touch with host families! The connectedness is something really unique.
  2. Don't go on your phone right away! Reminisce on your time while being at home first.
  3. Don't be afraid to talk with others honestly and transparently about your experience.
  4. Read lots of books, they felt like home to me.
  5. Remind yourself what truly brought you joy from ur trip, aim to sustain that feeling at home.
  6. Your Dragons family is the best resource. They understand cuz they're also going through it.
  7. See your hometown with "travel goggles." Enjoy the little things like you did abroad.
  8. Don't try and rush 'normality.' It takes time to get used to being home (a culture shock 4 sure).
  9. Don't do everything at once. For example, meet up with only one friend per day (or less)!
  10. Talking to your fellow dragons members--as much as humanly possible.
  11. Enjoy for a day. And then set new goals. Keep the direction forward or suffer in stagnancy.
  12. Journal on the wisdom you want to hold onto from the cultures you visited.
  13. Make sure any "what did you do this summer?" conversation goes both ways.
  14. It was hard! I said 'namaste' to everyone for a few weeks on my return home from Nepal.
  15. Write a lot in your journal and get a good nights sleep.
  16. Be patient, home won't feel the same but that's ok. Travel changes your perspective in unexpected ways.
  17. Home cooked meal and self-reflection.
  18. Have a small "elevator speech" to share until you feel ready to talk about specific experiences.
  19. Look for new ways to explore wherever you are now. Keep being curious!
  20. Tell your families and friends about it. Show pictures!
  21. Stay connected with other Dragons.
  22. Reconnect with all your friends and family and ease back into the Western culture.
  23. Don't feel rushed to reintegrate: take your time and enjoy the experience.
  24. Reach our to your Dragon's friends if you are feeling alone. They can relate and help.
  25. Take time for yourself, reflect, & journal!!!
  26. Cook your favorite food from your host country, keep learning that language, write!
  27. Immediately start planning your next adventure.
  28. Embrace it.
  [post_title] => 28 Bits of Advice on Reintegration from Dragons Alumni [post_excerpt] => This week on Instagram, we featured a story soliciting Alumni student tips on how to deal with the reintegration to life at home after returning from a Dragons program. The answers were so smart and insightful, we've reposted them here... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 28-bits-of-advice-on-reintegration-from-dragons-alumni [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-08-23 09:54:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-23 15:54:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 697 [name] => Dragons Travel Guide [slug] => dragons-travel-guide [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 697 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 18 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 1 [cat_ID] => 697 [category_count] => 18 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Dragons Travel Guide [category_nicename] => dragons-travel-guide [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/dragons-travel-guide/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 646 [name] => Alumni Spotlight [slug] => alumni_spotlight [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 646 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [parent] => 0 [count] => 21 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 21 [category_description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [cat_name] => Alumni Spotlight [category_nicename] => alumni_spotlight [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/alumni_spotlight/ ) ) [category_links] => Dragons Travel Guide, Alumni Spotlight )
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    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2018-05-17 11:41:09
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-17 17:41:09
    [post_content] => God bless parents, especially moms. At least, especially my mom. Just after I turned 24, in 1992, I returned to my parents’ home in Missoula, Montana, USA, after having spent the academic year teaching English in a medium-sized industrial city in the far, far northeast of China. “Reverse culture shock” is a term I may or may not have heard before that homecoming. Either way, I was utterly unprepared for what was about to hit me…and my mom.
“Reverse culture shock” is a term I may or may not have heard before that homecoming. Either way, I was utterly unprepared for what was about to hit me…and my mom.
I was rude, insensitive, and sometimes even cruel to my mom, who only wanted to welcome her son home and make me feel at home. Nothing she did was enough for me. She tried to empathize, she tried to nurture, she asked questions. Nothing worked. I was just too jumbled. My case may be extreme, but I know that the general sense of instability, of not feeling quite right, is common for people just back from big adventures in new places. And it turns out that the brain has a lot to do with it. Please indulge me in doing a brief exercise. Hold this page at arm’s length. Now, while keeping your left eye closed and your right eye laser-focused on the plus sign, slowly (slowly!) move the paper closer to your face. At some point something will happen to the dot. (If the paper ends up at your face you’ll need to try again. It’s crucial to start with the paper far away, to keep your right eye squarely focused on the plus sign, and to bring the paper in very, very slowly.) How could the dot just disappear like that? It turns out that each eye has a blind spot, where the visual field is blank. The retina gets no information from this part of the visual field. Why don’t we see some kind of hole or emptiness where the blind spot is? Because the brain invents something to “put” there—in this case, the color or pattern of the paper around it.
Volumes of evidence from vision experts have proven that the world we see is a massive illusion.
How does this work? The brain just invents it. Volumes of evidence from vision experts have proven that the world we see is a massive illusion. Just twenty percent of visual information comes from the retina; the remaining eighty percent is pure fiction, manifested by the brain in order to create a sense of coherence. Think about that: four-fifths of what we see is just the brain’s best guess. It’s not actually there. I love this simple exercise because it gets right to the heart of two key issues when it comes to human identity. First, reality is a product of our own brains, based on our particular set of experiences. Second, our brains have a primal need to create coherence. They are doing this constantly, in the background, completely out of our conscious awareness. Another thing our brains do all the time, automatically, is warn us of threats in the environment. One part of the brain in particular—the amygdala, or “lizard brain”—gets highly active when it thinks we’re being threatened. And when the amygdala is active, it inhibits activity in the prefrontal cortex and other parts of the brain that govern our “higher” functions. The amygdala is fast but coarse: it knows nothing about nuance or subtlety. In one important sense this is a good thing: it keeps us alive. If a tiger jumps out of the bushes, we really don’t have time to consider the tiger in all its uniqueness. We just need to know right away that it’s a tiger and that it’s dangerous. The problem is that the amygdala does its thing even when we don’t need it to. It sees almost anything new as a potential threat, and since difference is a form of novelty, we tend to see people different from us as threatening. This leaves us with a rather bleak picture of humanity: If our brains are busy inventing coherent realities about the threats posed by groups of “other” people, then we don’t stand much of a chance of getting along. And isn’t this, when it comes down to it, the story of humanity’s dark side? Now for the good news: we can relate to difference in ways that aren’t dominated by threat. It just takes a lot of awareness and hard work.
We can relate to difference in ways that aren’t dominated by threat. It just takes a lot of awareness and hard work.
When I returned from China in 1992, I had a lot going on in my brain. During my year in China, my brain had started out in full-on threat mode, reacting negatively to the confusing behaviors all around me. Over then next nine months, my brain gradually created a sense of coherence, as I began to understand all the new patterns I was seeing, and to empathize with the people around me. I was starting to understand why people did what they did, and even though it was different from what I was used to, I could at least see the logic. New worlds were opening up to me, and it was thrilling. I was a new person in a new world, eager to return home and share my bounty. But when I came home I found a place that looked exactly as it always had, inhabited by people whose worldviews hadn’t budged an inch. The “mistake” I made is a common one for returnees from abroad: I had replaced a single view of the world with a different, single view that I’d judged to be better than the “old” view.
The “mistake” I made is a common one for returnees from abroad: I had replaced a single view of the world with a different, single view that I’d judged to be better than the “old” view.
And this is where the brain’s good news begins to come in handy. Thankfully, we’re not slaves to the amygdala and to our brain’s tendency to create a single, coherent story. As humans we have the ability—thanks to the prefrontal cortex and other more recently evolved regions of the brain—to see the world from multiple perspectives. And it turns out that this is the key to reintegration—indeed, to what reintegration is all about. Joseph Campbell wrote, “‘The Cosmic Dancer,’ declares Nietzsche, ‘does not rest heavily in a single spot, but gaily, lightly, turns and leaps from one position to another.’” We don’t have to fear “other” ways of being. Fear is natural, but we don’t need to let it rule us. What we need is to thank our amygdala for keeping us alive, and to ask it to please quiet down while we listen and look for what there is for us to learn.
What we need is to thank our amygdala for keeping us alive, and to ask it to please quiet down while we listen and look for what there is for us to learn.
We all can, in Walt Whitman’s famous words, “contain multitudes.” Indeed the future of our species depends on it. So let’s keep asking, keep reaching, keep learning.

JASON PATENT, Ph.D., is a leading cultural interpreter on China-related issues and previously served as American Co-Director of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He is a former Dragons instructor (China ‘98-’01) and co-founder of the Dragons China Semester Program. Currently Jason is Chief of Operations and Director of the Center for Intercultural Leadership at UC Berkeley’s International House. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife, Colette Plum, and their two daughters.

  [post_title] => A Blind Spot...Obviously; A Reflection on Reintegration [post_excerpt] => "God bless parents, especially moms. At least, especially my mom. [...] “Reverse culture shock” is a term I may or may not have heard before that homecoming. Either way, I was utterly unprepared for what was about to hit me…and my mom." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => blind-spot-obviously-reflection-reintegration [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-05-17 11:57:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-05-17 17:57:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 700 [name] => For Parents [slug] => for_parents [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 700 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [parent] => 0 [count] => 28 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 28 [category_description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [cat_name] => For Parents [category_nicename] => for_parents [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/for_parents/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 675 [name] => Map's Edge Newsletter [slug] => mapsedgenewsletter [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 675 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Archives of Dragons Map's Edge Newsletter [parent] => 0 [count] => 14 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 675 [category_count] => 14 [category_description] => Archives of Dragons Map's Edge Newsletter [cat_name] => Map's Edge Newsletter [category_nicename] => mapsedgenewsletter [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/mapsedgenewsletter/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 640 [name] => Dragons Instructors [slug] => dragons_instructors [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 640 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featuring the words, projects, guidance and vision of the community of incredible staff that make Dragons what it is. [parent] => 0 [count] => 19 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 640 [category_count] => 19 [category_description] => Featuring the words, projects, guidance and vision of the community of incredible staff that make Dragons what it is. [cat_name] => Dragons Instructors [category_nicename] => dragons_instructors [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => For Parents, Map's Edge Newsletter ... )
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    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2018-05-10 12:24:20
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-10 18:24:20
    [post_content] =>  
In South America, I…
In South America, I learned that there is more than one way to live a “rich” life. I learned that indigenous groups can be a powerful voice in political movements. I learned that not every bathroom has toilet paper. I learned that dogs can be scary. I learned that we don’t need verbal language to communicate. And I saw a vast variety of new and beautiful climates. In South America, I gained clarity on some things and became much more confused about (or at least more aware of the complexity of) other things. The term “big picture” gets tossed around a lot. I think what I’ve really found are thousands of small pictures, like flaming sugar butterflies offered to the Pachamama and a perfectly intact sheep fetus and happy people living with less wealth than is lavished upon your average American golden retriever, which have interwoven like the figures in an Andean tejido and left me with the vague image of a massive tapestry whose meaning and purpose I’m still not totally clear on. Even if I never fully figure out the meaning, to be in possession of clues to forbidden knowledge is still a powerful thing. In South America, I learned to love a new culture, ate new foods, stayed with many incredible host families, developed new relationships, grew personally, learned about indigenous cultures, rediscovered my love for music and dance, began learning an indigenous trade, became more spiritual through the Pachamama, and began questioning my purpose in life. In South America, I learned of different ways to live life. I learned to much about the basics of living and where things come from. I learn there is so much to learn! In South America, I learned about things I didn’t know I needed to learn or could learn. In South America I learned how to truly be a good guest and how to make real relationships with the people here. I learned how topics like child labor and child discipline aren’t black and white and how American solutions or responses aren’t helpful or understanding. I actually understand the dangers of monoculture and its harm. I learned how to be uncomfortable but more importantly how to not be. Like how to fit in with the different rhythms of living. I learned just how amazingly nice Bolivians are. In South America, I walked and walked and walked over some of the highest mountains in the world. I figured out the best juice combination to order in the mercado. I became a part of a family that didn’t speak my native language. I confronted my own privilege countless times and was humbled and inspired by diverse indigenous communities. I learned how to do my laundry in a sink, and I also learned hot to not do laundry for weeks at a time. I healed a cut on my finger with an eggshell, held a cayman on a boat in the Amazon, and rode in the front seat of a military vehicle while pooping myself. In South America, I felt a strong connection with the environment. I learned to live with less, climbed mountains, and knew where my food came from. In South America, I I challenged myself in ways I never had before. From learning how to cook to making new music on the guitar to trekking for over a week at high altitude, I had an unforgettable experience. In South America, I made great friends, saw cool sights, learned culture, grew as a person and stepped out of my comfort zone. In South America, I learned how to weave, sleep on a bus, use sarcasm in Spanish, tie a trucker’s hitch, harvest, peel, & eat hella potatoes, catch reptiles, be sick, talk to strangers, get lost & unlost, chew coca, dekernel choclo, decolonize my body, and live with less. I learned about reciprocity, Pachamama, matrifocal societies, Evo, cacao & quinoa and what they look like when they grow, neoliberalism, how much I consume, and seeds. I learned that tuna isn’t just a fish, strangers are kind, the World Bank is pretty evil, cholitas are badass, poverty is relational, and I want to come back someday. In South America, I started with grand expectations, as first-time travelers often do, and instead the experience I found was rather grounding. I found that questions were easier to seek than answers, and that behind cultural difference there is always human similarity. I found that being overwhelmed by a place is a response to feeling like there is too much I don’t know, and being underwhelmed by a person means I haven’t asked enough questions. If I had a good experience here, it’s because I tried, not because I showed up. In South America, I learned how to be okay with being by myself. I learned how to navigate foreign markets, transportation, and language barriers. I don’t panic now when I’m alone and not sure which direction to head towards or how to communicate with body language to non-English speaking locals. I am confident now in my own skills to take care of myself, at home and abroad. Virtually, In South America, I grew up.
As I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know…
As I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know that I’m going to miss this place. I’m going to miss market breakfasts and coca culture, fumbling over my Spanish, and being wholeheartedly welcomed into strangers’ homes like family. Please be kind and patient with me as I figure out how to be in the U.S. again; listen to me, laugh with me, & cry with me. As I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know that Peru is more than just a country. Peru, Like Bolivia, is made up of dozens of different indigenous groups and the dozens of different cultures that complement them. As I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know I refuse to be materialistic and environmentally-ignorant. I will learn where my clothes and food come from, and if I don’t like what I find out, I will change my habits. As I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know that it’s very hard to express all of the things, concrete and non-concrete, that I have learned during this trip! This may be frustrating for me at first, but I’m sure with time and perspective my thoughts and actions will become more clear. With new views on life back home, it is also likely I may appear critical or withdrawn during the transition, but I still love and appreciate those close to me just the same. A I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know how much this trip changed me. I learned so much about Peruvian and Bolivian culture, but more importantly, about myself. I learned a lot about who I am and why I am the way I am and will bring this knowledge back home with me. As I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know that I’m excited to live now. I’m so much stronger. I’m so much more competent. I can’t wait to be actively curious. As I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know that coming home will mark the last and probably most difficult stretch of the entire trip. In some ways I’ve changed, in others I’ve unchanged; I’ve even kind of changed the way I change. I’m nervous and excited to be a little different while doing largely the same things in the same place with the same people. I just hope there’s more synergy than friction—I think there will be. As I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know that I am growing but I am more confused than I used to be. My mind has expanded which means it is more excitable but more scattered and conflicted than it was before. I want you to know all of the strangers who have shown me kindness and landscapes that have left me speechless, but I know these things will be impossible to communicate. As I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know that I am excited to come home but I don’t really know how to go back to American life after this. I might not be the same girl who left 3 months ago. I had an amazing time and memories to last me forever, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to go on this grand adventure. As I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know that I don’t really know how to integrate back into U.S. society and that I might need a bit of patience while I re-learn my place in it. I also want you to know that I want to share my experiences in some way with you all but I don’t really know how to do that. As I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know that I will be coming back to South America. I’m going to take Spanish classes and save up money to try to come back before this year ends. I want you to know that it is the most diverse place, in every single way. I want to learn way more about Peru. I want this country to be familiar to me. I want to be able to call it home. As I prepare to leave Peru, I want you to know that I am so grateful. I am grateful for this opportunity to get to know different South American cultures, and also for the chance to get to know myself better. My eyes and my mind have opened up in unimaginable and unexpected ways. I am also grateful for the life I will come back to in the US. I am grateful for the 4 years of college I am about to undertake. I am grateful for the supportive family I am coming home to. And to Bolivia and Peru, I am so grateful for helping me to realize why I am and why I should be so grateful. Thank you!   [post_title] => Course End Thoughts from the South America Group - Yak of the Week [post_excerpt] => "From our students, to those who they love dearly: some thoughts on departing from our space here in Bolivia and re-integrating into an environment that may now seem foreign." 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