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Costa Rica

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I only thought about what affected me personally. Never did it cross my mind to think about people or places that are different than I am used to. People say that being from the US makes us self centered in a way. I always thought that idea was wrong. Until I travelled to Costa Rica in May of 2010 on a Spanish trip. My whole idea of the world drastically changed in the matter of a day.

Driving on a bus for 5 hours would seem excruciatingly boring, that it was. When we finally arrived at our destination it was worth it. Dilapidated shack. That was my first impression of the school I visited in a small town in Costa Rica. It looked like a fierce lion had come and scratched the whole building until it was unrecognizable as a school. We filed off the bus. We strode onto the bright grass where dogs greeted us. We were led into a building with no glass in the windows. There were girls and boys from the ages 8-14 dancing for us. They had colourful flowing skirts and dress shirts on. It was truly amazing.

After the dances were complete we went outside and joined the children. An elderly Costa Rican lady, who I presume was a teacher at the school, came up to me and put a traditional skirt on me that the Costa Ricans use when dancing. It flowed from side to side as I twirled around. The lady then removed it while a little girl crept up to my side."¿Va a jugar pato, pato, ganso?" the girl who was no more than seven asked. I looked from side to side at my friends. No one spoke Spanish so we watched her hand movements. She motioned for use to make a circle. We bent our knees and made our bodies drop to a sitting position. She walked gracefully around use beginning to pat our heads one by one. She began to say, "pato...pato...ganso!" I ran as slowly as I could so the girl would beat me back to my spot. Once I got to my spot, after a lot of chasing, I realized it was not so different there than at home. We play duck, duck, grey duck too. We continued with the game nonstop until we were ordered back to the bus.

Once on the bus all everyone could talk and think about was all of those kids at the school. How we have so much more than them but they are also just like us. We arrived to our final destination. We sat on the backs of horses while they trotted into the cloud forest. The whole time the girl kept remerging in my thoughts. Her smile was from cheek to cheek.

When I went to bed that night, I realized something I should have known all along. I am not the only person in this world; there are others that need to be thought about. I am so lucky to have what I do. I need to stop thinking only of myself and about things that apply only directly towards me. Thinking about the whole world and everyone in it is what I should do. Not only about the people but the places and the lives they lead. Travelling to Costa Rica taught me this exquisite lesson. It will always follow me and be in my mind.





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