Costa Rica! - My Family Travels
I spent the past five weeks of my life traveling around Costa Rica with a group of sixteen students and two leaders on a program through Intrax Study Abroad. Our first introduction to Costa Rica showed us that the drivers were crazy and the families were very aware as to the safety of their homes, having many locks and gates surrounding their homes. For the first week in Heredia we spent our mornings attending classes at Intercultura Language School and our afternoons were spent taking dance classes, cooking classes, and getting to know the culture of Costa Rica. By the end of the week, a few of my friends and I had spent so much time at one of the restaurants near the Parque Central that the waiters all knew us by name and knew what we would order before we sat down. After that first week, we took a very long bus ride down into a village on the mountains in Altamira de Biolley. We had to pile our suitcases on the top of our bus so that we would be able to fit all of us inside. About six hours into the drive, we looked outside the window and noticed that suitcases were slowly starting to fall down. We quickly got the bus driver’s attention, and the attention of the random man we picked up along the way, and gathered our suitcases and put them back, secured, on top of the bus. During the next two weeks we spent in the organic community known as ASOPROLA, we milked cows, went to beehives, built trails and parking lots, carried lumber and rocks down mountains, and played soccer with the ticos. Overall, these two weeks were our favorite weeks out of the whole trip. We were able to bond as a group and get to know all the members of the community that we were living in. We met a fifteen year old girl who had no one her age in her community and spent her days working alongside her family in the kitchen. We were able to communicate with her, teaching her English while she taught us Spanish. She taught us that we should take all our privileges such as education and friends for granted because she was not able to have all the same opportunities that we will have in our lives. I remember one night specifically from that trip. We were sitting out on the porch of our hostel when our leader came out to tell us to go to sleep. Being the typical teenagers that we were, we asked if we could sleep out on the porch if it meant that we could keep talking. Our leader let us, but was hesitant due to the lack of the screens on the porch and the massive amounts of bugs, especially mosquitoes. Throughout my whole life, I have always received numerous mosquito bites, but never as many as I woke up with the next day. My legs looked as though I had the chicken pox. Now, five weeks since that night, I still have scars from all the bug bites. However, our experiences with the community made up for any discomfort I had with all the bites. After our experiences in ASOPROLA, we continued on an adventure portion of the trip through Marenco, Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, Fortuna, and whitewater-rafting on the Rio Pacuare. All the adventures were fascinating, but nothing could possibly compare to the two weeks we spent in the community of ASOPROLA in Altamira. We were able to leave our mark in their community.

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