It is June 5, 2011, and I am on my way to the airport with my alarm ringing as loudly in my head as it had since it had woke me up at 3:45. My family and I, along with two other families, are on our way to the adventure and vacation of a lifetime; Costa Rica, here we come!
After what seemed like an eternity of traveling, we finally made it to our destination at Flamingo Beach. Although it was not a fancy and expensive resort, it was everything any of us could ask for. The entire atmosphere was calming and homey. As you waked through the gate, the thick aroma of the ocean and tropical flowers found you immediately. Once you made your way past the pool and to the balcony, a smile was brought to your face as you viewed the green and blue serenity of the ocean water. The outdoor living room added that extra sense of being at home when all twenty-one of us crammed into the couches, chairs, and hammocks to convey the adventures we had encountered throughout the day.
During the seven days of absolute paradise our group of twenty-one, took place in adventures that I will never forget. We went horseback riding through the rain forest. We went zip lining through the canopy. We went tubing through the canyon river. We went rock climbing and repelling off the side of a cliff. All of these amazing activities will forever be embedded in my memory. However, something will stay with me even deeper than memory.
On all of these adventures, we had a couple of tour guides. The first Wachichi, we met at the airport, the second, Jose we did not meet until our day of horseback riding. Jose bonded with us three girls who were forced to translate at the front of the bus. Soon exceeding translation, we began to hold full conversations with Jose. Though he was not fluent in English, it was enough to keep our discussions smooth. I learned how hard Jose and all of the tour guides worked to support their families. While in high school I learned Spanish to graduate, the tour guides we met learned English to stay out of the sugar cane fields. That statement changed my outlook for the rest of the vacation. I became even more thankful for every little thing after that moment, knowing how blessed I truly was to be in paradise and realize how good I have it.
We joked with Jose and sang Spanish songs, we exchanged culture and talked about our school and sports we were involved in. Jose taught us Spanish and in return, we taught him English. We learned Costa Rica’s biggest motto, “Pura Vida,” meaning “it’s all good” and “life is great.” That soon adapted to be the phrase of the trip and we even put our own spin on it adding “Arriba!” in front, not because it made sense, but because it sounded good.
My vacation to Costa Rica was more than a fun trip to a tropical country. I saw beauty in everyday things that I never had before. It was a learning experience I will always keep in my mind and my heart. I became closer to my friends and family then I ever thought possible. It made me realize how amazing my life is and helped me appreciate hard work. This was the adventure of a lifetime. “Arriba Pura Vida Costa Rica!”
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