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Hello, Hola, and 你好 to my People Places Pines readers! My name is Joanna Jou, and I'm a '26 (Dartmouth students identify themselves with the year they're graduating - I know, how quirky). I was born and raised in El Paso, TX, a border city between the United States and Mexico, where I've gotten to explore my identities beyond the spectrum of not only being a first-generation Taiwanese-American but also my place in Chicano culture. Since El Paso is geographically the most western part of Texas, I'm often called a "Fake Texan" since I live closer to New Mexico than the rest of Texas; I also don't even live in the same time zone as the rest of Texas! What I will say is that El Paso is very dry with only two kinds of weathers: very hot summers and mild winters - the complete opposite of Hanover; however, I'm stoked for the change in scenery (yes, even the Hanover winters) as I now live 2,343 miles and two time zones away. 

As I find myself experiencing Dartmouth first-hand, I often instill the idea of "creating your own Dartmouth" in my mind while wondering how I will make the most of my Dartmouth experience. Dartmouth goes by a 10-week term system, so every day is a precious one that you want to make the most of as everyone's D-Plan (our own customized academic calender) starts changing their second year.  One thing I find myself doing a lot at Dartmouth is simply taking pictures of what can be the littlest things to the big moments. Although I'm only an undergraduate for four years, I want my camera roll to be filled with the happy (and challenging parts) of my life here that'll last me a lifetime as I look back in 50 years… and share through this blog. As I wrap up week 1 of classes, here are some of my favorite photos over orientation week:

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