Isabelle (Izzy) Nobili
Johns Hopkins University, Class of 2026
Environmental and international studies
A neat stack of El Llanquihue rests on the counter. Behind it, a man slices triangles of kuchen while a woman trades plates for pesos. In front, the crowd is eager. A line sprawls along the sidewalk, and the bustle consumes this humble pastry stand.
When I reach the counter, I slide one of the newspapers from the pile, cross the street, and settle on a lakeside bench with it and my kuchen. I feel less like a foreigner in Chile with the latest edition in hand.
If it weren’t for my fanny pack and my American accent, surely I’d fit in.
The day is clear and the figure of Volcán Osorno rises over the lake. Squinting in the sunlight, I unfold my paper and hold it up to the scene, matching the front-page photo to the very thing it captures: the distant volcano, its peak bare.
The bold headline addresses this rare sight. The unprecedented snowmelt was caused by recent record-high temperatures. Not only an environmental concern, the melt will also have a detrimental effect on summer tourism, as visits to the top of Osorno will now be prohibited because of the risk of landslides.
Though saddened by these effects of our changing climate, I feel a certain comfort as I read the article. This story has given me a sense of belonging in a place where I do not belong. Reading it, I feel connected.
At last night’s dinner, we’d marveled at the heat wave. Several days ago, my friend Paola had pointed out the bald peak as we drove past. The week before, I had researched hiking trails to Osorno’s summit. This article brings me context and clarity.
I spent the greater part of the past year abroad and throughout my travels discovered an unfailing truth: community can be found everywhere, revealing itself whenever we connect to the places and people that surround us.
Journalism can help create these connections. I am grateful for the opportunity to write for the Independent this summer and deepen my own connection to our local community. Ours is a special one, and I feel honored to tell some of its stories.